Ballantine, Jul 2008, $26.00
Drea Rousseau liked the finer things in life; jewelry, designer clothing, unlimited expense accounts. To obtain these things, she became the mistress of Rafael Salinas, a major supplier of illegal drugs. He believes she is a classic bimbo, but Drea is smart enough to conceal from him how much she truly knows about his operation.
One day he assigns a job to the Assassin who in payment says he wants sex with Drea. Salinas accepts the terms. When Drea learns he “pimped” her she is outraged that he treated her as a street hooker. She takes the jewels he gave her and removes two million dollars from her account before leaving. Irate by what he determines is a betrayal; Salinas hires the Assassin to kill Drea. He doesn’t get to kill her because she was in a car accident, but after being dead for an hour she returns to life. Drea has a new chance, but must change how she lives. She also believes she must get Salinas off the streets. She knows the Assassin who enabled her to live is the ticket; he has a connection to her just like she feels towards him. If they are to explore that attraction, she believes Salinas must go first.
Neither protagonist is a decent person as he is a vicious professional hitman and she is a hedonistic selfish SOB until they meet. Readers will admire them as they do what they must to survive and even somewhat empathize with the duo; an obvious display of Linda Howard’s characterization skills. She has a chance to redeem herself, but he believes for him it is too late but hopes to help her. Ms. Howard has written a terrific tale that is filled with action and two different than usual “heroes” who come from the underbelly of society.