Sunday, October 25, 2009

Book Review: Angel of Death by J. Robert King

Title: Angel of Death

Author: J. Robert King

Pages: 413


Fear the reaper.

The angel of death in Chicago oversees all people in the megalopolis, making sure their deaths fit their lives. Though most deaths naturally do, those that result from serial murder do not, so the angel spends much time trailing a serial killer in his patch.

On the trail of one such man, he encounters a cop and falls in love with her. When he is assigned to kill her, though, he has to make a choice between divinity and humanity.

Where I Got It: as an official ensign of the Robot Army, it was sent...

My first impression of Angel of Death, based off the back cover, was that it would be another Alphabet Killer-esque Serial-Killer-ZOMGwemustSTOPHIM!!!-mystery. But from the very first chapter, I was proven very, very wrong.

Beginning in the first person conversational narration of the titular Angel of Death, who at first seems like your run-o-the-mill God-Complexed serial killer (with possible daddy issues). But, throughout these first pages, reveals himself as the real-fucking-deal. Not only does he summarize the careers of his latest conquests--in this case, several serial killers within his district--but he gives you information on these men that nobody but a existentially-in-touch paranormal being would know--somebody who can tell a person's life story at first glance. Despite what the back-cover would want you to believe, this is not about the 'gorgeous cop on his [serial killer's] trail'--this plotline is promptly solved before you even reach the 200-page mark. The cop, Donna Leland, is your run-o-the-mill, dedicated, headstrong, sassyindependanttoughasnails detective who donttakenoshit. But wait, she's also secretly fragile and senstitive to the crazy fucks she hunts down--her twin brother, a paranoid schitzophrenic, was institutionalized and killed himself with a lovely makeshift noose of his own shirt before the two reached 18. Also, she's quasi-religious and says Mother of God a lot. So, now you know.

Anywho, at first you think it's going to be a downer ending--the Angel of Death (who, by the way, loves making his jurisdiction riddled with ironic and fitting deaths) only comes across Donna because she and his latest project--perverted, hillbilly, abusedasachild Keith MacFarland--are scheduled to die on the same day. He impersonates himself as a cop to scope her out, only to, within five excurtiatingly purple-prosed minutes, fall in love with her. So, naturally, they get it on.

As it would turn out, through an unfortunate series of events, Angel of Death loses his wings or whatever and becomes of his new, mortal, cop flesh, because of this little transgression. Now, having been in the middle of his Deathly Duties with Keith, everybody thinks he is the serial killer (who's perverted antics one really has to read the book to get), not Keith. This includes His Precious, Donna, who, despite her feelingsofbetrayel, has that whole twinBrother complex and still loves him. And so, to dip into the plot anymore than I already have would be criminally begligant to Your Needs.

What I really didn't like about this book was the cliches that positively littered it. We've discussed the Femal Cop Complex, the Freudian Complex (present in both Donna and Keith), and the Otherwordly Being Falls In Love With Mortal thing. Now, we have incredibly long-winded descriptions of thisandthat, mopetastic name-droppings of the twin brother in Donna's narratives, and a general state of atmospheric depression that is more TwilightTHEMOVIE!!! than Se7en, which I suspect is what King was aiming for, what with the gory desciptions of twisted crime scenes and whatnot.

But, overall, I liked it. While revealing the whole shindig in the first few pages doesn't leave much in the way of mystery, watching the deal unfold for Donna and Company is fine. Their are, naturally, bits of dark humor here and there, and how dark and humorous they are. The characters are, for the most part, well-defined and written. It is a lovely twist on your basic serial-killing urban-fantasy thriller. I'd love to reveal the end for ya'll, but that would be irresponsible parenting. It is very much worth a read.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Also: No offense to anyone, but if she says "Mother of God" one more time, someones getting a beat-down. Just saying. Also, a priest gets decapitated.


ParaJunkee said...

Well my dear, I don't know if you intended this with the review - but I don't really want to read it now. LOL. I know you said you liked it, but it just sounded so cliche, that I'm not that interested, now. Thanks for the review, it was really good.

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