Thursday 26 December 2013

Book review : Blood of Angels - Michael Marshall

Blood of Angels is one of the books I chose at the swapping library in our Moroccan hotel this summer. Its cover gave off the sinister, chilling vibe that generally indicates a good work of crime fiction so I picked it up for a closer look. The blurb on the back of the book sounded intriguing too : "Notorious serial killer the Upright Man has escaped from prison, and the FBI have no idea where to look for him. His brother, Ward Hopkins, suspects he may have been aided by the Straw Men, the shadowy organization founded on murder as a way of life that killed Ward's parents. But apart from his girlfriend Nina, a discredited FBI agent, the only other person who believes the Straw Men exist is John Zandt, a former homicide cop turned lone vigilante obsessed with tracking down the killers of his daughter, and now wanted for murder himself. Ward's brother was broken out for a reason. The Straw Men are planning something new and terrible. And only Ward, Nina and John stand against the Upright Man and his terrifying allies."

It's certainly got a lot packed into it - serial killers, a complex conspiracy theory, good cops forced into doing bad things to try to make the world a better place, more fast-paced action than you can shake a stick at ... - but it's the third and final episode in a three-part series so I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd walked into a movie halfway through and had a hard time piecing together who was who, what had been going on and why.

The plot has a huge number of twists and turns and kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. I did think that a lot of the characters were way too superficial and one-dimensional though, in particular Paul, the criminal mastermind who was broken out of prison, and the Stepford Wives-esque parents of Lee John Hudeck who seemed to have no depth, motivation or character whatsoever.

It was an enjoyable read but one that, I think, would have been hugely improved by reading the two previous episodes beforehand to have a larger sense of what is going on. Certain plot elements, such as the mysterious ancient burial chambers discovered across the country, seem to have been thrown to the wayside when they could have been developed into something much more intresting and complex (just like the charcaters).

star rating : 3.5/5

RRP : £6.99

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (30 Jan 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007163975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007163977
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.7 cm

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Book review : The People In The Photo - Hélène Gestern

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