Catch A Fallen Angel
by Kathleen Kane, historical/paranormal (2000)
St Martin's Press, $5.99, ISBN 0-312-97575-9


I recognize early on that Catch A Fallen Angel is a good story. I should have no problem with it, if I haven't read too many romance novels for my own good. A bit of Bedazzled and everything cliché and familiar. *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 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. In the recent remake of Bedazzled, I was presented with a rather uplifting message that good and evil is all in our mind - God and the Devil are actually allies that help humankind be stronger and worthier of paradise. Here, 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.

Rating: 75


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