Book review: The Angel’s Game

Set in Barcelona at the turn of the last century, this is another creepy book from the author of The Shadow of the Wind.

David Martin is a writer. He starts out by working on the crime pages of the local paper, and gets his big break when a last minute story is needed for the back page. He writes a short piece of crime fiction which the editor loves.  Soon he has a weekly column, but the hatred and jealousy of everyone he works with.  He gets fired from his job, but thanks to his patron, the wealthy Senor Vidal, he finds himself in a 10 year contract ghost writing thrillers for a low-rent publishers.  The books are enormously successful, and they allow him to move in to an old, abandoned house that he has always loved, but never been able to afford.

His writing also brings him to the attention of the intriguing Mr Corelli, a French publisher who seems desperate for David to work with him.  He offers him a huge amount of money and promises to give him everything he ever wanted.  He even promises to rid David of the headaches that have been plaguing him for years.  His 10 year contract is binding, but when his publishers die in a mysterious fire, suddenly he is free to work for whoever he wants.

The book Corelli wants him to work on is unusual, but David feels bound to him and becomes absorbed and obsessed with his new project.  But this publisher definitely isn’t what he seems and as bodies start piling up around him, David starts to wonder how much he really knows about the man with the angel brooch…

This book revisits Sempere and Son and the Cemetary of Forgotten Books, and there were many points where I thought ‘Didn’t that happen in the last one?’.  The plot is quite different, but it is incredibly similar in style and there are many overlapping themes (mysterious stranger, sinister police, obsessive book lovers etc).  If you have read The Shadow of the Wind very recently, I would probably wait a while before picking this up, but otherwise, thoroughly recommended.  A bit of a disappointing (and also, gross) ending, but I really enjoyed this for the most part.  Definitely worth a read.

The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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