Rage Of Angels, Sidney Sheldon, 1980

Give Him an Inch…

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Spoilers ahead.

Jennifer Parker, a rookie lawyer fresh out of law school, starts an internship in the office of Manhattan district attorney Robert Di Silva. On her very first day she manages to ruin a trial-of-the-century against Michael Moretti, a supreme Mafioso, which results him being released, a huge public ridicule and eternal wrath (or rage) of Di Silva. A laughing stock of the city and her once promising career prospects in shambles, Jennifer tries to lick her wounds the best she can by opening her own little, both in terms of physical office space and chances for success, law firm. And miraculously, Jennifer manages to get her firm off the ground because she really is a good and clever lawyer, although she does get secret help from Adam Warner, a hotshot from New York’s bar association, who feels sorry for her and sends her notable clients every now and then. However, a situation when Jennifer is forced to ask a favor from Michael Moretti of all people, rises and by mafia laws, she is expected to return the favor. This gradually leads her now highly successful and respected firm to become a pawn for mafia, not the least because Jennifer and Michael develop a passionate love affair.

Generally Rage of Angels ranks as one of better Sidney Sheldon novels although it is a mixed bag. The character of Jennifer Parker is one problem; whilst one can easily sympathise her in the beginning, it defies the credibility that someone so smart would allow her achievements to be swallowed by organised crime just because of her lust for hot and handsome mobster. ROA also represent the point when Sheldon abandoned his urban thrillers of the Seventies (although only his first novel Naked Face, 1970, fully belonged into this genre) for the outrageously fabulous entertainment of the Eighties (Master of The Game, If Tomorrow Comes, Sands of Time), thus there is still some half-hearted social commentary about how generally decent and just lawyers turn to predators in the court room, where only winning the client’s case matters, and how vulnerable the Little People without money, connections or right background are in that grinder. Still in the world of Sheldon’s relatively bland goody-two-shoes heroines, who come out at the top, Jennifer Parker makes a curious exception as a woman who willingly gives in to evil and pays the sad price in the end.