Archangel's Storm
by Nalini Singh
(Berkley, $7.99, PG-13)  ISBN 978-0-42524-658-0
****
Addicted as I am to Nalini Singh's Archangel books, I was very disappointed in Dimitri's story, Archangel's Blade. Thankfully, Archangel's Storm, the latest novel in the series, makes up for what the previous one lacked.  Bringing Jason, Raphael's black-winged, shadow-clinging super spy into the light, Archangel's Storm will take readers on an adventure unlike anything Singh has presented before.

The word comes on the day of Dimitri's wedding: the consort of Neha, the archangel of India, has been brutally murdered within his prison. Jason offers his services as an investigator and Neha accepts on the condition that he bind himself by blood to her family.

Unexpected and old-fashioned as the request may be, Jason and Raphael nonetheless agree. However, Jason wasn't expecting a guarded, self-possessed and quietly brilliant princess as his partner.

Mahiya knows she's been kept alive simply as a reminder to Neha of her husband's infidelity. Mahiya's mother, Neha's twin Nivriti, was put through a drawn-out and hellish death as payment, and Neha now continues to punish her sister through Mahiya.  Jason is the first man to ever see through this, which is reason enough not to embark on an affair that both know will lead nowhere.

But, as more angels and vampires are discovered not only dead but tortured, it becomes clear that there was more to the first murder than a lovers' quarrel, and neither Jason nor Mahiya can be certain if the princess is in more danger from the killer or from her own aunt.

Passionate and evocative, Jason and Mahiya's romance and the revelation of their respective sad pasts are certainly the highlight to this book.  That is not to undermine the "whodunit" aspect, which you don't generally find fully-formed in a paranormal romance.  Singh handles the mystery well, and reveals truths to us one dose at a time; there is nothing about Archangel's Storm that is not well-timed.  If not for a bit of a lag in the mystery part of the plot, Archangel's Storm would have been near-perfect.  It certainly is affirmation that readers who were disappointed in Archangel's Blade should not give up hope on this roller coaster ride of a series.

--Sarrah Knight


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