Book Review: FALLEN ANGEL by Chris Brookmyre

FALLEN ANGEL by Chris Brookmyre

Chris Brookmyre’s excellent characterisation and tight storytelling make FALLEN ANGEL an entertaining read despite its confusing multitude of characters

3.5 out of 5 stars

Award-winning author Chris Brookmyre releases his new book FALLEN ANGEL this week, a stand-alone thriller about one family, two holidays and a murder.

Following the death of famous psychologist and family patriarch Max, FALLEN ANGEL tells the story of the Temple family who reunite at their holiday villa in Portugal. To new nanny Amanda, it seems like Temple family have it all: the former actress; the famous professor; their three successful grown-up children. But like any family, beneath the smiles and hugs there lurks far darker emotions. Sixteen years earlier, while they were on holiday in Portugal, little Niamh Temple died. Now, as Amanda joins the family for a reunion at their seaside villa, she begins to suspect one of them might be hiding something terrible… and suspicion is a dangerous thing.

Jumping back and forth from 2002 and the days before Niamh’s disappearance to 2018 as the family reunite, FALLEN ANGEL is a gripping story of conspiracy, murder and vengeance. Told through the perspective of the various characters, this well-written thriller is tight and well executed, with its gripping narrative boasting enough twists and turns to keep you guessing to the end.

It’s worth noting, however, that there is a lot of characters in this book. In the Temple family alone, there are nine characters, one of whom has changed their name in the sixteen-year gap. Then there is also next door neighbour Vince, his new wife and their baby Arron who is being cared for by Canadian teenager Amanda. The sheer amount of characters, all of whom have their own back story, takes a little time to get your head around and the multiple points-of-view and two different time-frames are slightly confusing initially.

That said, while none of the characters are particularly likeable, Brookmyre layers them well, cleverly evoking an emotional response from the reader whether that be loathing or sympathy. It is this characterisation and Brookmyre’s entertaining storytelling which keeps you gripped until the very end, even if the plot takes a bit of a wild turn at one point.

An entertaining read despite its odd flaw.

FALLEN ANGEL by Chris Brookmyre is released on 25 April 2019.