CALIFORNIA ANGEL by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

CALIFORNIA ANGEL

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Veering off the fast track of vigilante police thrillers, Rosenberg (Mitigating Circumstances, 1992, etc.) spins a cloying tale of supernatural do-gooding. Wispy, nurturing Toy Johnson, a schoolteacher to ruffian kids in Santa Ana, Calif., champions the underprivileged; she is especially fond of children (the sicker the better), not only because she has the empathy of a martyr, but because she and her wealthy but selfish doctor husband, Stephen, are infertile. Toy went into cardiac arrest once in her youth, so her system is delicate. When she finally leaves her insensitive spouse, the strain prompts another cardiac episode while she is visiting Manhattan. A friend brings her to the hospital, and the perturbed Stephen jets to her bedside, but Toy, feeling much better once conscious, escapes to the streets of New York, where she has a narcoleptic attack. When she awakens in the hospital, she is furious to find that a pacemaker has been installed. She fears the device will prevent her from saving the lives of needy children-- you see, during her near-death experiences, Toy has been magically transported to the sides of kids around the country in crises (autism, kidnapping, etc.) from which she rescues them. Nobody believes her, of course: Her husband thinks she is batty, and the police, who have captured Toy on videotape saving a child from a fire, accuse her of arson and kidnapping. The kids she has rescued band together for a courtroom climax in the treacly format of a second-rate made-for-TV movie. Rosenberg, whose strength in past books has been her confrontation of violence and unpleasantness, here goes out of her way to be nice, and the button-pushing righteousness for which she is also known doesn't work in a story that utterly lacks conflict. Her loyal readers will likely jump ship. (Literary Guild featured alternate selection; author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 1995
ISBN: 0-525-93945-8
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1994




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