A professor prepares for his coming doom, knowing that he will die that night. He seems to know a lot of things preternaturally, like what time he will die, which detective will be assigned to his murder case, what happened to the boy Christopher and how his grown up sister Katie will be drawn into the darkness surrounding the death, and how it all links back to a serial killer called The Angel Maker, who legend has it, could see into the future.
The Angel Maker is Alex North’s latest dark crime novel, and it’s a thoroughly winding one, weaving plot twists and plot threads neatly into a page turning novel. He seems to be a master at this form, having written Whisper Man and The Shadows, which were hugely popular and were all over social media when they came out, meaning this one feels hotly anticipated. North is UK based, and a little tidbit if you’re a fan, this is a pseudonym, also having published a numbe rof books under another name.
Serial killer fiction seems to be a big part of the zeitgeist right now, with true crime being very popular, especially with documenterians and podcasters. This book really hits the right note as a thriller, being a well paced read and also, with it’s short chapters and easily recognisable character types, a fast read. That said, the author stops it from being too light or too commercial. There’s a bit of depth here in the character arcs and a bit of darkness, even a little bit of philosophy, which grounds it all a little. There’s a reason that Alex North books are anticipated reads, and this is it. Hitting that note that’s entertaining, on genre but also fresh, and throwing some great twists in to keep us guessing.
I liked that the characters didn’t do silly things to forward the plot, but while not over written, they felt psychologically real and the way they behaved made sense. That’s so important in books like this. We want to figure out what’s happening and what things mean, not be taken out of the moment by something that pulls us up short or where we can guess where it’s going too soon. I really liked that for a lot of this book, we as readers are piecing things together and adding things up. I love a good twist, but having read a lot of this genre, it takes a little bit more to keep me guessing, and I’m sure a lot of other readers are the same.
There is something wonderfully dark and bleak about this book, especially with it’s use of Determinism, and, I don’t know, it just added a little salt to the whole thing for me. It’s a dark book, sometimes bloody and violent, sometimes a bit chilling, but most of all, I was entertained. Now I’m looking forward to the next Alex North book.
Read It If: well, it’s about a serial killer, which should tell you if this is for you or note, subject wise, but if you haven’t read Alex North, this may be the sign that it’s time to give his books a try.
Thank you to the publisher for the copy of this book for review.