“Dark Angel” by Joseph Badal

PRAISE FOR ‘DARK ANGEL’

“ ‘Dark Angel’ is another thrill ride by acclaimed suspense author Joseph Badal. The second book in his Lassiter/Martinez Case Files series, this one finds them hunting a vengeance-crazed vigilante, who forces them to question their idea of justice. It’s relentless from start to finish. Badal just gets better and better.”

—David Morrell, New York Times Bestselling Author of “Murder As a Fine Art”

 

“Badal has done it again in ‘Dark Angel,’ his taut, fast-paced tale of revenge and retribution. In the second book of his Lassiter-Martinez Case Files, software engineer Robert Thornton’s quest to find the killers who murdered his wife and children in a home invasion morphs into a broader mission, the destruction of criminals who committed violent crimes and got away with it. The gruesome murder of one of his victims brings him into the sights of Barbara Lassiter and Susan Martinez, detectives with the Albuquerque violent crimes/homicide unit. As this talented duo follows the blood-spattered trail of a wily killer who inhabits a world where nothing is as it seems, they must deal with the FBI bureaucracy, a temperamental boss and their own personal issues. Their warm friendship is a potent antidote to the mayhem and murder that is part of their every-day life. Great characters, action and plotting. ‘Dark Angel’ is a real winner!”

—Paul Kemprecos, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of “The Minoan Cipher”

 

“The uniquely original ‘Dark Angel’ is a riveting, on-point thriller that reads like Brian Garfield’s ‘Death Wish’ on steroids. The second in Joseph Badal’s series featuring detectives Barbara Lassiter and Susan Martinez offers up a dark world of murder and madness where just enough light manages to push its way through. The pacing is crisp and the plot twists constant, as Badal plants himself firmly on the hallowed ground of Tess Gerritsen and John Sandford. ‘Dark Angel’ is crime-thriller writing at its absolute best.”

—Jon Land, USA Today Bestselling Author of “Strong Cold Dead”

 

“ ‘Dark Angel’ is an adrenaline junkie’s delight. It serves up an addictive fix of high-voltage tension in a tightly-woven tale of spine-tingling intensity.”

—Award-Winning Author Mark Rubinstein

 

 

DARK ANGEL

JOSEPH BADAL

 

PROLOGUE

 

Three Years, Three Months Ago

 

Robert Thornton barely suppressed a groan as he turned his head toward the hospital room door. The slight movement shot shards of pain from the top of his head to his ribs.

“Mr. Thornton. I’m Doctor Sheila Washington. Your surgeon, Doctor Crombie, suggested I come by.”

“You . . . the shrink?” he muttered through his clenched, wired jaw.

Washington nodded and smiled. “I prefer psychiatrist, but shrink will do.”

“You’re . . . wasting time . . . here, Doctor.”

“Hmm. Perhaps we could talk for a little bit.”

Thornton shrugged and grimaced when even that little movement painfully racked his body.

“How are you feeling today?”

He pointed at his bandaged face and wired jaw. “What do you think?”

“Of course.” She paused a second, and then asked, “How do you feel about what happened?”

“I promised Doctor Crombie . . . I’d speak with you. I always . . . keep my promises. But don’t ask . . . stupid questions.”

Thornton adjusted the oxygen tube in his nostrils and tried to catch his breath.

“Keeping a promise you made to someone else isn’t the ideal motivation to meet with a psychiatrist. You should want to talk with me for your own personal reasons, not because you promised Dr. Crombie.”

Thornton scoffed.

“What would you like to accomplish today?”

“To tell Crombie . . . I kept my promise.”

Washington sighed. “That’s it?”

“Yeah.”

“Can I call you Robert, or do you prefer Bob?”

“Race.”

“Race?”

“Yeah. Father called me that. Always racing around . . . as a kid.”

“Okay, Race. Answer a question for me.”

Thornton nodded once.

“What’s the first thing you think about when you wake in the morning?”

Race closed his eyes and exhaled. “Same thing every day. In my dreams . . . and in nightmares.”

“Uh hmm.”

“The bastards who murdered . . . wife and daughters.”

“What about them?”

“Finding them.”

“And what if you find them?”

“I’ll make them suffer. The way they made . . . Mary . . . Sara . . . Elizabeth suffer.”

“So, you want revenge?”

Thornton stared at the doctor. “Whatever. Justice. Revenge. Payback.”

The doctor’s professional mask cracked momentarily, then she asked, “What other goals do you have?”

“None.”

“We all should have a purpose in life. That purpose should be grounded in the mores and rules of one’s society.”

Thornton scoffed again. “I’ve always obeyed rules. Assumed most . . . members of society followed them. I was wrong.”

“We don’t get to change the rules if we expect a society to survive.”

“Wrong, Doc.”

The doctor shook her head. “You know what Confucius said about revenge?”

Thornton, expressionless, continued to stare back.

“‘Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.’ ”

“I plan to dig more than two.”

 

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