The thing I've enjoyed most about the previous White Trash Zombies books has been the development of Angel Crawford from junkie, high school drop out, loser to hard-working zombie morgue worker with a good heart and firm friendships.
I'm not sure whether this book presses the turbo-charge button on that development or sets us off on a completely different path. It's unsettling. I think Dianne Rowland means it to be. By the end of this book, it's clear that we're not going to have a series of Angel books that repeats the same plots and characters like a familiar soap. There is a story arc here and I suspect the ride is going to get very bumpy.
Angel Crawford goes through a series of changes in this book that make her look less familiar. She is taken away from her home town to the bright lights of New York City which she gawks at like any first-time tourist and which also has some unpleasant surprises in store for her, one of which is a store owner who tries to rape her. Suddenly Angel becomes Wasp from "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest" and is one step away from killing her assailant. Next we see her in action against the Saberton bad guys (and the things they do really are I-think-I'm-going-to-throw-up bad) where, with the help of special chemical "mods", she becomes Ninja Angel, moving at speed and killing with ease. It doesn't stop there. She for plot reasons that I won't reveal, she goes on to be the one who negotiates with Saberton and becomes Power-play Angel, right down to the fancy clothes and bringing her own armed muscle who always politely refers to her as "Miss Crawford."
All of this is well done. The action scenes and the dialogue work, the plot kept me turning the pages and there's still a sort of did-I-do-that amazement, tinged with self-deprecating humour that keeps Angel from being simply monstrous.
When the time came to go home, I stated to wonder if it was "Miss Crawford" or "Angel" I'd be reading about next.
It turned out that Dianne Rowling had one more change to throw my way: the re-emergence of the old Angel who is still connected to her old boy friend, still having fights in bars, still fighting the same urges.
By the cliff-hanger end of the book the old angel and the new angel are ready to produce something different - good or bad is still to be seen but you can bet that I'll be buying the next book to find out.