Monday, May 27, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Angel Baby by Richard Lange

     "She empties herself out so she doesn't feel any pain when he grabs her hair, any fear when he draws his gun and jabs it into her cheek. It's just a body that he hauls into the bathroom, just a shell that he forces to the floor...Luz crawls toward him, but the old tricks aren't working tonight; she's not as far away as she should be...and that's when she sees it, a mother-of-pearl switchblade dangling unnoticed from his pants pocket, about to slip the rest of the way out and drop to the floor. Without pausing to think, she grabs it, presses the button to open it, and lays the blade across the top of his scrotum." 

     The tables turn that fast, with that grit, so dark and real you can feel and almost smell it. That is Angel Baby, the newest novel by Richard Lange, from Mulholland Books

     Luz is a beautiful Mexican woman in her early twenties. She has her every need met: a beautiful mansion to live in, clothes, drugs, an escort wherever she needs to go. But she is owned by the man that provides it all. The mansion is her prison, the drug addiction an invisible wall, the escorts her guards that will never let her out of sight. Her husband is Rolando, El Principe, The Prince, a powerful drug dealer that gets what he wants. Luz knows that an unsuccessful attempt to leave him would result in her painful and lingering death, and she plans to the last detail her escape. 
     But things don't always go as planned, and Luz finds herself relying on a broken down drunk to get her
Author Richard Lange
out of Mexico. An ex-gangster motivated by a fate worse than death sent to find her and is never far behind. And a crooked Border Patrol Officer who won't give up at the thought of stealing his fortune from the helpless immigrants he happens upon making their way across the border.

     Angel Baby is a good, but not great, thriller. The characters are motivated and dynamic, fighting for control of their lives and destinies while forces beyond their control dictate their actions. I felt a certain level of empathy for all of them at one point. But none of them were developed enough for me to care much what happened to them. Don't get me wrong, some were more likable than others, but I didn't have a strong urge for one to succeed and another to fail. 
     That said, Angel Baby is a thriller. Character development often takes a back seat to action, suspense, and page after page of excitement. And in that Angel Baby was very successful.

Lange, Richard. Angel Baby, Mulholland Books, 2013. 

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