Thank you endlessly to Celadon Books for my early copy of The Angel Maker! I’m coming to love the collection of unique and literary titles I have from them. Regardless of the genre I have come to expect a certain quality of literature and this one does not disappoint.
With the book arriving (unsolicited, but with my thanks) so close to publication date and being in the UK for most of March, I was only able to read it recently. Let’s take a look at this literary suspense & horror novel and then my thoughts!
Bookish Quick facts:
- Title: The Angel Maker
- Series: N/A
- Author: Alex North
- Publisher & Release: Celadon Books, Feb 28 2023
- Length: 322 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ for fans of atmosphere, suspense, light horror elements
HEre’s the synopsis via Am*Zon:
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Whisper Man and The Shadows comes a dark, suspenseful new thriller about the mysteries of fate, the unbreakable bond of siblings, and a notorious serial killer who was said to know the future.
Growing up in a beautiful house in the English countryside, Katie Shaw lived a charmed life. At the cusp of graduation, she had big dreams, a devoted boyfriend, and a little brother she protected fiercely. Until the day a violent stranger changed the fate of her family forever.
Years later, still unable to live down the guilt surrounding what happened to her brother, Chris, and now with a child of her own to protect, Katie struggles to separate the real threats from the imagined. Then she gets the phone call: Chris has gone missing and needs his big sister once more.
Meanwhile, Detective Laurence Page is facing a particularly gruesome crime. A distinguished professor of fate and free will has been brutally murdered just hours after firing his staff. All the leads point back to two old cases: the gruesome attack on teenager Christopher Shaw, and the despicable crimes of a notorious serial killer who, legend had it, could see the future.
As with The Whisper Man, I enjoyed reading The Angel Maker but found it ultimately unsatisfying at the end. The overall pace meanders but maintains a level of dark atmosphere and suspense that kept me engaged through the entire book.
I have to admit that I tuned out slightly during the religious and metaphysical aspect discussions. I have no problem with mystical elements and philosophy, both of which are weaved into the plot in generally small doses. The problem for me is that the ending left a big question mark of what exactly that horror element was. I understand that the point is to have the reader think through the “what if”, but there wasn’t enough for me to grasp the how or the ‘why is this thing making the crazy men create Angels?’
There’s a whole possible discussion on using your gifts for good vs evil here. What would you do if you could see the future? I can see book clubs having a field day because there’s a lot to unpack on this novel.
I liked the story itself. I read this one fairly quickly once I got into it. One stylistic aspect that was hard for me to keep track of was multiple points of view on top of chronological jumps. I spent a lot of time at first flipping back and forth to recall names and events before deciding to just read and enjoy and see what happens.
The result was good, terrifying, sad, and even sadder once the pieces of the mystery started coming together. There are many characters that show the different ways that family can bond, the lingering effects of trauma, adoption, schizophrenia? and sibling rivalry in two dissimilar but sadly parallel situations.
I did like the characters too, as much as one can while they navigate guilt and unfair burdens in their own ways.
Overall, I come across as cynical but I think North is a great writer. I would recommend this book if you liked his prior novels or if you want to try a more literary suspense novel with a moderately light horror element. I know I’ll keep reading his books for sure.
A quick note on the audio: I was provided with an audio code but was not a huge fan of the narrator in that she didn’t vary the character’s voices. She is clearly spoken and has the right accent but without distinct voices it was hard to keep track of times and characters, so I only spent about two chapters in the audiobook!
Thanks so much for checking out my book review of The Angel Maker by Alex North. I received a free advanced reader’s edition in exchange for an honest review and as always, all opinions are my own♥️
Want more Alex North? I reviewed The Whisper Man here!