Atria, $26.00, 481 pages, ISBN 978-1-444-75644-9
This week’s MBR is different. It’s different because the novel we’re reviewing represents a new type of fiction that blends two different genres together. In this instance a crime drama is combined with elements of the supernatural. Think Sam Spade meets Steven King and you’ve got the general idea. As an enthusiast of both of the aforementioned, The Wrath of Angels by John Connolly was right up my alley. So much so, that I bought the British first edition instead of waiting for the US publication date of January 2013. I’m glad I did. While the novel could be called simply “gothic crime fiction.” It’s much more than that because Connolly opens the characters up, exposing their human qualities at the same time he’s hinting at supernatural talents. Like the monster in a Frank Capra sci-fi flick, the readers are aware of an otherworldly menace, but we’re never quite sure who, or what, or where it is . . . which makes it twice as scary.
In The Wrath of Angels, detective (and serial character) Charlie Parker is on the hunt for a downed airplane that supposedly crashed somewhere in the Great North Woods of Maine with a very important list on board: the names of people who’ve made a deal with the Devil. The trouble is; the plane doesn’t officially exist. There’s no record of it . . . no flight plan, no distress call, no locator beacon, no report of an overdue aircraft, no date that it disappeared . . . and others are searching for it as well. Forces and individuals who represent the dark side, who either want to protect or kill all those named on the list. They include a serial killer called The Collector, a beautiful woman with half of her face burned off and Brightwell, a child who remembers his own violent death at the hands of Charlie Parker; and who’s looking for revenge. Brightwell is rediscovering his evil talents . . . the most diabolic of which is to suck out and swallow a human soul. This novel is fast-paced, action packed and relentlessly addictive. The characters will stay with you for a long while.
John Connolly is an Irish wordsmith with a growing reputation on both sides of the Atlantic. His writing is dramatic, compelling and seamless. If you’re looking for something out-of the-ordinary, don’t miss this outstanding young author . . . he’s that good and gets better with each new thriller.