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A riveting tale of revenge, survival, and redemption, wrapped around an unlikely love story, and set against an urban backdrop marked by bigotry and misogyny.
Following a racially motivated rape by three Ku Klux Klansmen, 12-year-old Cassandra Monroe vows revenge. After eight years of training, now a strikingly beautiful assassin, she accomplishes her mission.
Her campaign continues with solitary walks through dark city streets, hoping to be assaulted by men with bad intentions. Those entrapped by her spider’s web pay dearly for their efforts.
Surrounded by three armed men one night, she’s rescued by Mike Borelli, an Italian-American passerby. A stormy, up-and-down relationship ensues. Ultimately, as her rage matures into purposeful action, and as he begins to see the world through her eyes, they become a team.
Along the way, they encounter serial killers, wife-beaters, actual and would-be rapists, gangsters, crooked cops, a kidnapper and a pedophile priest, as well as numerous women in desperate need of their help. Beneath all the action, though, is the blossoming of a most unlikely love story.
It’s gratifying to see more and more stories with strong women protagonists, but Avenging Angel: Love & Death in Old Brooklyn by Charles S. Isaacs stands out from the crowd. The writing is as visceral and exhilarating as you would expect from this genre, but the story is much more than your typical vengeance tale, dealing with deep emotional and social themes, as well.
Cassie Monroe begins her life in rural Mississippi during the Jim Crow era, taking care of her father, Madison, after her mother dies. When Madison attempts to register to vote, men from the local KKK clan brutalize 12 year old Cassie, thinking to send a message to her father. Cassie keeps the attack to herself but vows that one day she’ll have her revenge. A short while later, they move to Brooklyn and Cassie meets the people who will give her the support and skills to set her on her path to become a deadly vigilante. As Cassie becomes involved in the lives of some of the people that she helps, she begins to realize that there is more to life than revenge and she has more to offer than violence.
The story takes place in the 60’s & 70’s and, having grown up during that era, I can appreciate the authenticity of the story, which deals with social injustice, racism, gender inequality, sexual violence, misogyny and cultural differences. Given the social climate of the past year, much of this will resonate with today’s readers. This may sound heavy but Mr. Isaacs keeps you riveted while dealing with these difficult and uncomfortable topics with some sensitivity. I also appreciate that Cassie and the people she surrounds herself with are flawed but real characters, and you get character growth along with electrifying action.
Avenging Angel is one of those rare gems – an action-packed crime thriller that also gives you broader themes to think about, even after you’ve finished the book. Chock full of sizzling scenes and memorable characters, this book will keep you captivated until the final page! I really enjoyed reading this book. Chick Lit Café highly recommends Avenging Angel: Love & Death in Old Brooklyn by Charles S. Isaacs. Grab your copy of this incredible crime thriller today! Book reviewed by D.L. Smith for Chick Lit Café Books & Reviews.