[Ad – review. I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes and all thoughts are my own]
I love a good whodunnit but it has become increasingly hard to find a thriller which is unpredictable and truly thrilling. So many are hyped as the new Girl on the Train, Big Little Lies or Gone Girl that you’re left feeling underwhelmed. Fortunately that’s not the case with Chris Brookmyre’s Fallen Angel.
The book follows various members of the Temple family as they reunite at their family villa 16 years after the death of baby Niamh. Joining their neighbours is Nanny Amanda, a soon-to-be journalism student with a fascination with conspiracy theories. And she thinks she’s on to something big as she starts to unravel the family’s secrets.
The story alternates between present day and that fateful holiday, revealing more about this fascinating family: the former actress matriarch, her famous professor husband, and their three children – the ruthless Amanda, Rory, the black sheep, and the overlooked Marion. Throw in infidelity, jealousy and a murder, and their holiday home becomes very claustrophobic indeed.
It says a lot about Brookmyre’s writing that you can spend a large portion of the book not liking any of the characters, yet still be desperate for answers, before doing a complete 180 at the halfway point. I suspected everyone at one time or another and the mystery built to a surprising and very satisfying conclusion. I haven’t been this happy with a thriller’s ending since Jane Harper’s The Lost Man.
Chris Brookmyre was a journalist before becoming a full-time novelist with the publication of his award-winning debut Quite Ugly One Morning, which established him as one of Britain’s leading crime authors. His Jack Parlabane novels have sold more than two million copies in the UK alone, and Black Widow won both the McIlvanney Prize and the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award.