The Angel Maker

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A darkly twisted tale that sets such a creepy tone that I swear I found myself reading this one with one eye closed – prepared to close both if and when the story warranted. And although butting up against the very edge, (my triggers are child and animal abuse, one of which is handled quite gingerly here), the author managed to hold my attention. Deeply, in fact.

A swirling maze of clues, the struggling members of several damaged families (victims and perpetrators both), all made mesmerizing and confusing as the story builds around a horrific crime, enacted decades ago, and the long and horrible arm of its impact. A crime that eventually is linked to others, others that are perhaps even more atrocious and grisly. Leading to the slowly-revealed question – are these crimes the terrible result of acts of free will, perpetuated by an insane serial killer? Or the exact opposite, – atrocities pre-ordained through the workings of the sinister ‘Dues Scripsit’ – loosely translated as ‘written by God’ – a macabre form of evil determinism, and its follow-through flow of unavoidable acts, compelled through religious beliefs that all that will be has already happened, ideas as chilling as the characters in this book who live them.

The story unfolds somewhat chaotically, across timelines, and with crazily-layered terror-fueled landmines. We meet a drug addicted victim, his fiercely protective mother, and his wounded sister, who is in full retreat from her past and pain. As we also come to meet an elderly and intriguingly ambiguously moral Philosophy professor, and his truly scary brother, the details stemming from the happenings of their childhood, their love affairs, and their current twilight years begin to fit together, puzzle pieces that coalesce, along with all that has been revealed, into a suspenseful and satisfying finale.

Sure to please lovers of the chill-inducing read, this is a complex and ambitious book – and one to definitely read with the lights on.

A great big thank you to @celadonbooks for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.


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