The Angel Maker
By Alex North
Christopher Shaw, the younger brother of Katie Shaw, is attacked on his way home from school by a crazy madman. In the struggle, Christopher almost has his face ripped off. This incident understandable leads Christopher down a dark path of drugs and homelessness as an adult. Today’s squeamish book club recipe is for Easy Open-Faced Chicken Sandwich Melts. It is not only a simple recipe that uses just a few ingredients, but it can be fast if you use canned chicken. Click here to view the recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen.
** Thank you to NetGalley and MacMillan Audio for the chance to review this book. **
I LOVE thrillers.
There’s nothing better than a good thriller that throws you for a couple loops and keeps you guessing throughout the book. The bad thing about thrillers, however, is that they HAVE to meet their mark. If they fall short, then they feel unoriginal and tired. A mediocre thriller feels like a book that you have read 20 times before.
That brings me to Alex North’s newest thriller, The Angel Maker. North’s book, The Whisper Man was one of my favorites reads of 2019. I had a copy of The Shadows in my TBR pile, but I accidentally packed it away with my storage items when I moved overseas. Whoops. My packing mistake made me all the more excited to read The Angel Maker. Since I had several books in my pipeline, however, I decided to request the audiobook version on NetGalley.
That might have been my fatal mistake. The Angel Maker has several twists and turns, which makes it very difficult to follow if your attention drifts. My attention drifted A LOT.
The story begins with a flashback, when a teenager named Katie Shaw is spending time with her boyfriend, Sam. Every day, Katie leaves Sam’s house to walk home with her brother, Christopher. That day, however, Katie decides to stay and get it on with her boyfriend instead. When she does decide to leave Sam’s house, Katie comes across a crime scene– A crazed man named Michael Hyde attacked Christopher on the way home and tried to cut his face off. Michael’s red car became a visual reminder of that awful day for Katie.
Fast-forward into the future, and we find Katie and Sam married with a little daughter, Sienna. Christopher’s traumatic childhood sent him down the dark path of drug addiction, and Katie recently stopped talking to him. Then, Katie finds out that Christopher is missing. The more layers that Katie pulls back, the more his disappearance doesn’t make sense. Then, she thinks she sees a red car following her and her family….
At the same time that Katie begins looking for Chris, two police officers begin investigating a murder. University professor Alan Hobbes was brutally murdered in his bed the night before. Hours before the crime, Alan took care of personal business almost like he saw his own death coming. Did I mention that Alan was a philosophy professor that specialized in determinism, or the belief that all events are driven by external forces that humans can do very little to stop? Furthermore, Alan was murdered in a dilapidated old house that was once owned by Jack Locke, a truly evil serial killer who ultimately passed down his “talents” to his son, Edward.
It doesn’t take an evil genius to realize that these two story lines are going to collide in some way. Unfortunately, the story failed to capture my attention enough for me to catch every twist and turn. There was so much going on that I missed important details left and right, which eventually left me confused. Even when I devoted my full, 100% attention to the story (at the end), I wasn’t thrilled with the conclusion. Some characters were underdeveloped, and the climax felt rushed and disjointed.
Not all books are good candidates for audiobook, especially if you struggle with mind drifting. If that describes you, you might want to consider the print version of The Angel Maker. Print would allow you to go back and re-read bits of the back story when you need it, catch important details, and hopefully follow along with the twists. The Angel Maker felt a little lackluster to me at this moment of time, but I wouldn’t be opposed to going back some day and reading the print version.
My Rating System Explained 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️: This was an amazing book, and I can't stop thinking about it. It impacted me emotionally or changed my perspective. My thoughts keep flickering back to it at random times throughout the day. I will absolutely recommend it to my friends or to one of my book clubs. 4 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️: This was a really good book. Parts of it stuck with me, and I might mention it in a conversation. There is a high likelihood that I will recommend it to my friends or to one of my book clubs. 3 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️: I liked this book. It allowed me to escape from reality for a while. While I might tell somebody about it if I think it will interest them, I will probably not suggest it to one of my book clubs. 2 Stars ⭐️⭐️: There's something about this book that I didn't like. I wasn't willing to go all the way down to a one-star rating, but I'm definitely not digging it. I may recognize that this book is not for me, but it might be for other people. I will not recommend it to my friends or one of my book clubs. 1 Star ⭐️: My rarest rating. I really didn't like this book. Something in the story line upset me, and I probably "hate-read" the majority of the book. Not only will I not recommend it, but I will actively tell people that I did not like it.