Avenging Angel - Anne Marie Becker Let me first say that Avenging Angel is decently written with all the fundamentals of a romantic suspense title in place...Now the unfortunate part is, it never really delivers. It almost feels like reading a book that someone yanked a couple chapters out of, so there are all these gaps that leave me floundering....so much is never touched on, and other things happen, people react certain ways to things, that make absolutely no sense, I'm just left irritated by the lot of it. Okay, I don't usually do these, but lets see if I can do a plot summary...Natalee, an intern working for our heroine, Vanessa, (or V, for expediency's sake) and ends up dying via crazy bad guy.Diego, Nat's uncle, and a NYPD detective is second guy on scene, and first thing he does is rushes to her body...which while a natrual response, gets him in trouble with every freaking body, becasue now the scene hasn't been preserved, and he (D) has ruined anyh sot of justice for his niece, and is more or less on forced leave. All that happens off scene. So, here comes our Hero, Noah, (N) who lives in Chicago, and has gotten a call regarding D mostly becasue of his behaviour on the crime scene, and his withdrawing from the family. So they get together, and N and D decide, to investigate the case together..., despite the fact that D was more or less thrown of case and put on and the hero is from entirely different state!Back to our heroine who works at an art gallery and an artists more or less in her own right. She is getting ready for a charity auction. And has decided to break up with neglectful, sob boyfriend. A lot of time (many many pages) seems to be spent on auction..a lot of unnecessary time (far too long for a fictional auction!) spent with her boss and coworkers ...said coworkers push her (V) to get laid. Enter Noah. With his pants on fire. He lies about who he is, to get info he really doesn't have a right to, and that he doesn't think he'll get, but after he gets said info, still doesn't own up to lying...But heroine finds out a couple pages later, and forgives him 2 or 3 pages after that, after all It was hard to stay mad at a gentleman. seriously, she says...well thinks that. Anyway a lot of not much happens...the auction fianlly occurs, bad guy strikes again, V figures N supported her at art auction she'll support him at crime scene...did I mention she's an artist? And he really didn't even have a legal leg to stand on? Anyway, at this crime scene, instead of meeting any of the very capable NYPD, instead we meet a bunch of guys the Hero brings is, who everybody seems a 100% ready to help...but we only get a vague idea of who these guys are, and for the longest time I had no idea what legal reason they had to do...well anything. (we learn, in passing mind you, that they're some sort of security force, though, from the name of said forice, I never could have figure that out, Society for the Study of the Aberrant mind...am i the only one that doesn't think that sounds like a security anything?)Let's see...stuff comes out about heroe's past, in a predictable way,, And it's all very vague meaning we don't really learn anything...And whole team spend pages and pages working on the case...it's all pretty slow moving. Romancey part of story b/w H and h heats up, then colds down, because H had shitty past, and therefore must be douche ( but with best of intentions, of course), And there are a few secondary romances that seemed to be part of the story just to make it longer...I didn't really give a rats ass about them...sorta hurried through...Um H and h get separated, h decided to follow H to watch out for him, cuz you know it's not like he's a cop, or anything, and can take of himself?Yeah anyways, some more clue following, some more romance bits between the H and h, where the H finally realizes he's an asshat, romancey bits for secondary characters, then the big bad's final play comes up, yada, yada, yada, HEA, the end.******************Now i have to say there were so many times I almost quit this altogether, it was really only because I planed to review my netgalley provided copy that kept me going. Like,I said there's a lot missing, so much is touched on, and then glossed over. We get hints of things, of associations and relationships, but nothing is satisfyingly described...so much more was needed:More background on heroine and victim, Natalee relationship. At one point natalee, is the protégée of the heroine, but we don't really get any details....I didn't get the impression they even knew each other well, until much later in the story when the h admits, she'd do anything for Natalee.More of heroes friend, Diego and his nieces relationship...For much of the book, D is angry and dead set on finding his nieces killer, but we never get any idea of what his relationship with her was like. And he never really seems to get past his anger into actual grief...Mostly he just seemed like a douche. More info on Diego and hero's relationship.... In particular in the begining of the book. We get bits and pieces through the latter half of the story, but by then I don't care. We're told they're like brothers, but never shown it. More info on Hero's relationship with Diego's family...again we get info, later on in the story, and again by then it's too little too late, I don't freaking care anymore.More info on Heroine's background and how she gets on with family...we meet her family a handful of times, but each time it seemed they'd pop up randomly without any explanation. When we first meet the heroine, I feel like we should have learned about her family then, and how she got on with them...or at the very least how she felt about them. There's also the characterization of the main characters themselves. I jsut didn't like them. The hero was hot and cold all through out the book, and was sorta a jerk off about it. Altogether he just wasn't very hero like. Sorta wussy. The heroine...seemed sorta pansy assed too. And had a few moron moments...You know those romances where the heroine's a kinderagarten teacher, or something very simlar, and the hero is a special forces somebody(or something very simlar), and he get in trouble, so the heroine - who has never had a defense class in her life, knows nothing about weapons, and in general is a strager to danger- she decides to go save him? that's what this heroine reminded me of. No experience/expertise what so ever in solving crimes, but is welcomed by all in the scooby gang. Plus ske kept putting stuff off! Oh, I have a boyfriend I need to break up with...I'll do it later. or We need to have a super important converstation! Meh, let's do it tomorrow Jeez, you'd think she'd learn! Both the H and h's overall maturity level reminded me of highschoolers (of the irritating variety), honestly. When it comes to the romance...can i just say: what romance?! They argued, they went back and forth a lot, they had sex, and they spend a lot of time apart, so when they finally got to the ILY's, i was so freaking surprised! When the hell did that happen, and how? And maybe it was just me, but it never really felt like the H was even all that much into the h, for any other reasons beyond her being the h. Another thing that irritated me, and it applies to the whole story, but everything always feels half done. Arguements that aren't really arguments, a secondary character getting chewed out by a boss, that lasts like 30 seconds, conflicts between characters that don't seem to make any sense. When it comes down to it, Avenging Angel's feels like a gigantic case of Telling not showing. We're told how they feel, we're told they have an argument, we're told the main characters love each other, that the h is pretty hot shit in the art world, that the H's best bud (Diego) was grief sricken, but i never really saw/felt any of that. So 2.5 stars. Again, not a BAD book, but also definitely not worth the time and patience it takes to get through it either. Having said that, Apparently Ms Becker's previous book,Only Fear won a Golden Heart Award, and IMO might be a better place to sample her writing. eta: I did not realize I was even reading a book in a series, til i Looked this up on GR! It doesn't feel like it, but that group i mentioned in the summary, society for the study of the abberant mind, they *may* get a better descripton there.