Onyx, Dec 2002, 6.99, 352 pp.
In Vista Shores, California, the Avenger has killed three abusive spouses. Each one of the “victims” had badly battered their wives. All of the females were residents of Rachel's House, a woman's shelter. The manager Regan Keller informs her benefactor Lillian Court, who sends her son Alex to work undercover and keep everyone safe.
Police Detectives Garrison and Durwin work the murder investigation. While the female Garrison is sympathetic, the male Durwin blames the females for their plight. He is positive the killer is Regan as she has the information on whom to kill and has potent motives. As Alex, working as a roofer at the shelter, and Regan fall in love, a serial killer seeking revenge for abused females continues to eliminate the nasty vermin while the police suspicions about Regan grows to the point an arrest may be imminent.
Though there are some tiny anomalies like how a small town police chief does not recognize immediately a fellow cop killed in the line of duty even from fifteen years ago, fans will relish this powerful romance focused on a social issue. The story line is at its greatest with the plight of abused women as the author dares to go inside the heads of the repeat victims so that the audience reacts just like the lead couple in disbelief and empathy. The characters are drawn to entertain fans into guessing at whom the Avenger is (though most will select the right culprit) but more to shine a deep light on domestic violence.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner