The Angel Maker
by Alex North
Published by: Celadon Books, Macmillan Audio
Publish Date: February 2023
HB&W Rating: 3
View on Goodreads
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository
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.
Synopsis source: Goodreads
Thank you to Macmillan Audio and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this eARC in exchange for my honest review.
I was so excited to have been approved to read this book, one of, if not THE most-anticipated thrillers of 2023. I really liked The Whisper Man and The Shadows was decent, and this book has the same sinister quality as those.
One thing that North does well is write atmospheric stories. As in his other two novels, this one has a similar paranormal realism that you question the validity of the entire way through. I’m not sure quite how to classify this. Similar to magical realism, but bordering more on the occult. Either way, this aspect lends to the pervasive creepiness of the book.
The thing I struggled with in this one was that with so many points of view and timelines jumping from present to recent past to present to farther back, it could be a bit tricky to follow along with. I think that this would have been easier to follow if reading the print version instead of listening to the audio, so if you prefer audio, just be aware of that.
I also had a problem with the narration of the audiobook. The diction of the reader was a bit difficult to make out at points and I had to listen very carefully to try to work out what she said. Overall, she had a nice cadence, but sometimes it was how she would say certain names or words that it took a few minutes to try to work out whose POV she was reading from. Since keeping up with those POVs and timelines was already a struggle, this was not helpful.
I had most of the reveals figured out long ahead of time, which took some of the fun out, but I never quite understood the motivations of Michael. Still, I enjoy how North delved into determinism and how that effected the motivations of the characters in the story. Combined with the atmosphere and quick pace, it still made for an enjoyable listen.
I think if you liked his previous work, you’ll like this one well-enough, though I don’t think it’s as good as The Whisper Man, which still maintains its spot as my favorite of his books. If you read this, let me know what you think!
The Angel Maker releases on February 28, 2023.
Until next time,
Be sure to subscribe to my blog so you never miss a review! You can also sign up for my newsletter for a recap of titles read, crochet patterns I’ve released, and more! I only send it out sporadically so that I don’t spam you, promise. 😉