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293 pages, Hardcover
First published April 25, 2019
I am honored to be part of the blog tour for Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre on publication day with my other lovely blogger friends.
Also, I am a tiny teeny bit excited because it discussing a book from an author you admire so much is just the best! Excuse the fangirlism. One is allowed to yell their love for a book, right?
I would like to thank Little Brown UK for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. Special thanks to Caolinn and Grace!
Some names are go-to authors and your fingers doesn’t need your brain to accept to review a book. When I received an email asking me if I was interested in reading Chris Brookmyre’s latest novel, I almost laughed. Do you really need to ask???? We are talking about the man who had my head explode over Black Widow! (you can read my review here, then buy it!) and had me fangirl when signing my book last year during Bloody Scotland. I love many authors and enjoy an illegal amount of books, but few people can really shake my brain and emotions the way Mr Brookmyre does. So, OF COURSE I wanted to get my hands on a copy of what could only be another riveting read. No, I needed it.
Anticipation created expectations. Expectations lead to bitten nails. Bitten nails don’t help you reading with your Kindle. Your Kindle gets the sweat, the shakes, the gripping hand (if my Paperwhite was a person, it would have died from strangulation a million times during this read as I held to it for dear life).
At first, I found the title Fallen Angel to be a slightly curious choice. Many ideas floated around about its meaning – would I be met with a story about redemption? Was there a more literal sense to it? Aren’t we all fallen angels at some point in our life? As you never, ever, never know where Chris Brookmyre is going to take you, the possibilities are endless so I couldn’t blame my little grey cells to go all crazy.
I remember not even reading the blurb before deciding to read the book. I apologize to the person who wrote it. It’s great, it really sells the book, but all I could think of was “another Brookmyre storm!!!!” Sorry!
Back to the novel. Do you like your books enigmatic, challenging, and utterly absorbing? Because the prologue of Fallen Angel immediately sets the tone. Like a snake sneakily wrapping itself around you, the cold and effective words made me shiver both with trepidation and excitation. This feeling never left me, even after meeting the cast of characters I would be following under the Portuguese sun. Cold, yes, that is the word I would use to describe everything about the Temple family. No amount of UVA and UVB can burn this flesh!
Family and holiday. Two words we should stop associating for our own sake! The author proves it with a resplendent wicked masterpiece.
Two parts, multiple narrators, two timelines, and a lifetime of secrets, personal feelings bottled up, and dark corners left to gather dust: the promise of a hell of a book!
What do you mean, “We want to know more about the book, stop fangirling?” I can’t process your request. When a book feels like lightning slicing you in half (in a very good way, if such thing is possible!) you need to shout about it, even if you are just rattling on and on about how good it is. I will give you evidence of what I am saying. Actually, I already did. And if reading truly is your thing, you don’t mind a bit of suspense, do you?
We first meet Ivy, a woman my chosen word seems to fit like a glove. Cold. But clearly, there is more to her than meets the eyes and I was captivated by this character. I won’t hide that Ivy was my favourite and I couldn’t wait to remove her layers one by one to discover more and more about her! Except the author doesn’t make it so easy. Soon, I met the Temple family. A big ball of personalities. Do you remember those spider things on playgrounds on which we can climb on? Well, as soon as I learned I was embarking on a family holiday with the Temple, it felt as if my feet was reaching the first rope on this spider, and the narrative took me on an trip to the top. The rope felt either fragile or strong as steel, smooth at times and painful at others.
Stuck in a set of three villas in a small village in Portugal, the whole family reunites after the death of the father. His shadow can be felt on the place at all times, through quotes inserted in the book, and many other details which left me unsettled and crept out!
This little secluded world was the setting of a tragedy, the death of little Niamh, sixteen years ago, and I couldn’t for the life of me understand why they would decide to come back. Even a tribute to the man who had created this family shouldn’t have been enough for them to set foot there again! But hey, we all do weird things… And the Temple family is no exception. Underneath the picture perfect that mother Celia tries to maintain, old cracks left unattended start spreading, opening a gap from which no one can hide. Gathered in one place with no shades to hide under, suspicions are bound to surface...
My favorite thing in the world is to dissect humans and their behavior. I am the crazy girl who sits for hours in the lounge of an airport to observe people and try to uncover what they hide under their sunglasses, loads of bags, tabloids, and plane tickets. Chris Brookmyre has a unique and spectacular way of showing what hides beneath the water. I don’t need airports when I have his books. All families have issues, but this one is marked by the unspeakable, by a shocking and tremendously dark wound fed by each of its member. Yes, there is a big secret. Yes, there is a big bad guy. But everyone is to blame. For talking. For not talking. For simply being. Wow. It takes a professional mind to write about such deep, meaningful family dysfunctionalities while injecting the perfect dose of intrigue to both get the reader to connect and care, but also to have them taste and enjoy the thrill of impending doom.
Fallen Angel is a complex tale of what family means. It grabs you with its multi-layered characters and the ominous cloud hovering over a little corner of paradise hiding hell. Chris Brookmyre’s writing is sophisticated without ever feeling heavy. It is candy melting on your tongue, leaving the bittersweet taste only the best of psychological thrillers can offer.