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Demolition Angel    by Robert Crais order for
Demolition Angel
by Robert Crais
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2001 (2000)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Carol Starkey is a heroine reminiscent of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch or Carol O'Connell's Kathleen Mallory. She is an LAPD detective and ex-bomb squad technician. Carol is haunted by her own (brief) death and her partner / lover's permanent one, when an earthquake triggered the explosion of a bomb they were disassembling. Since then, she has been drinking steadily, dreaming nightly and playing musical shrinks. She believes that 'People are assholes. The world according to Carol Starkey ...'.

When one of her ex-colleagues is killed on a bomb scene, Carol is the lead investigator and re-lives her own experiences as she digs for the truth behind what turns out to be murder. Mr. Red, a sophisticated serial killer who enjoys making big bangs, has been targetting bomb technicians. The plot thickens when attractive Special Agent Jack Pell of the ATF finds Carol's name on a bomb fragment, but does not inform her that she was the target.

Pell and Carol use the Internet, locating a site for bomber wannabe's, where they start chatting with Mr. Red using the name Hotload. As Carol's investigation peels layers from the onion of events, she comes into increasing conflict with superiors, leading to a grand finale of revelations, romance and danger. Demolition Angel holds the reader's interest as tightly as a bomb engages its technician's concentration - a gripping read about a shadowed heroine.

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