The Official Book Blurb
He’ll make you his angel, but first you have to die…
After a turbulent time, DCI Ryan’s life is finally beginning to return to normal and he’s looking forward to spending an uneventful Easter bank holiday weekend with his fiancée.
Then, on Good Friday morning he is called out to a crime scene at one of the largest cemeteries in Newcastle. The body of a redheaded woman has been found buried in a shallow grave and the killer has given her wings, like an angel.
Soon, another woman is found at a different cemetery, followed quickly by another. Panic spreads like wildfire as a new serial killer is born, and Ryan’s band of detectives must work around the clock to unmask him before he can strike again.
I started listening to the audio book of Angel on my way to Edinburgh. By the time I had driven home later that day, I had devoured the whole book. If I had any doubts that a post ‘Circle’ book would lack the appeal of the first three books in the series, they were quickly eroded as from the very first chapter I was hooked and all the author had to do was reel me in.
In a strange twist of fate, a delayed funeral leads to the discovery of a body buried in an open grave. The body seems posed, staged to look like an angel, but this is not the most disturbing part of this story. When more women start disappearing, all with the same red hair colour, all suffering the same fate, it is clear this will be no simple case for Ryan and his team. Now those who have read the earlier books will know that one of the team has red hair and there are fears that she may become one of the killer’s targets, adding another dimension of fear and confusion to the already tense investigation.
I love the way that the author builds the suspense and also plays upon the religious connotations of the crimes within her work, including the way in which the killer chooses to dispose of the bodies. It is not clear why they should choose to bury the women, or as to what perceived crime, if any, they are guilty of which would lead to them being targets. Their backgrounds vary widely, so there seems little logic, and yet there is a central thread, a hidden mystery from the past which holds all the clues to the present investigation.
The way the team is written and portrayed is as strong as ever, and it is the relationship between the characters, as well as the powerfully descriptive setting in each and every one, which really adds en extra dimension to these books. While we perhaps do not see as much of Anna as we had in the first three, she is still there, ever present and supporting Ryan, while duly winding him up over wedding related rituals and first dance nightmares.
This step back by Anna allows the book’s other central female figure, Mackenzie, to take a larger role. This includes the shift in focus to her as a potential victim, to become the one to receive threatening messages, suspected to be from their killer. It is strange to see Mackenzie as vulnerable when she has always been portrayed as strong and no nonsense, but she is also only human, and her frailty, hidden behind that wall of defiance and determination, was wonderful to see. It made her all the more endearing as a character I had not been quite sure of before.
In Angel, Mackenzie and Lowerson really do come into their own, something which we started to see a hint of in Heavenfield. And it seems Lowerson has a little bit of a crush on his DI, bless him. It did make me smile how protective he was over her, with their friendship growing as strong as the ‘bromance’ of sorts between Phillips and Ryan. That pair really do make me chuckle. Ryan with a sort of reserved stuffiness, Phillips down to earth and jolly. Both absolutely dedicated to their jobs, each other and to the women they love.
As the book approaches its climax and the team close in on their killer, you really feel the pace pick up. There is a real feeling of dread which builds from around 60% in. This culminates in a high octane chase across the city in order for the final showdown to take place at one of the north-east’s most iconic and befitting landmarks, The Angel of the North. But it is the final chapter, when you think that the threat may well have subsided, that LJ Ross delivers that killer blow. The one guaranteed to have you racing to book five to see what happens.
I am totally torn. I want to read book five. Am desperate to read it in fact. But I also don’t want to. Not yet. I raced through the first four. I want to savour the next because after that ending, I think, no I know, it’s going to be a doozy.
A wonderfully vengeful 5 stars from me.
You can purchase Angel at the following links. The other 4 books in the series can be purchased from Amazon UK here.
The other books in the DCI Ryan series are