St Martin’s Press, $5.99, ISBN 0-312-97575-9
Paranormal Romance, 2000
I recognize early on that Catch a Fallen Angel is a solid story. I should have no problem with it, if I haven’t read too many romance novels for my own good. Sigh.
Gabriel Donovan is hung by a lynch mob for a crime he didn’t commit. The Devil gives him two months to find the actual criminal (Gabe’s partner) or Gabe will play the role of the barbecued pig in the next Hell production. So here Gabe goes in his second-chance life, hunting down the baddie, until he stumbles into the heavenly arms of damsel-in-distress Maggie Benson. Uh-oh. She has a son. Uh oh.
Gabe and Maggie are pleasant, inoffensive stock characters in almost every Americana/Western romance I’ve read. He’s the noble, guilt-ridden hero who rides out of the sunset and is afraid to commit (he doesn’t have much time left), she a selfless, self-suffering woman who tries so hard to be independent in her poverty and single motherhood. The relationship is well-written and utterly predictable.
I’m hoping this book will provide some quaint philosophy about heaven and hell, God and Devil. Maybe it’s because everyone’s too afraid of offending sensitive romance readers, but I’m not even told why the Devil needs Gabe to get the evil man’s soul and not split the ground open and swallow the scum himself.
Therefore, since it isn’t above shortchanging its own potential to offer something out of the ordinary for its readers, Catch a Fallen Angel stays timidly in the already overcrowded shallow waters of typicality, lost in the crowd of so-so, predictable books I have read before and I suspect most likely will again in the future.