THE MYSTERIOUS CASE OF THE ALPERTON ANGELS
FOR MY REVIEW ON JANICE HALLETT'S PREVIOUS BOOK 'THE TWYFORD CODE' - CLICK HERE
Open the safe deposit box. Inside you will find research material for a true crime book. You must read the documents, then make a decision. Will you destroy them? Or will you take them to the police?
Everyone knows the sad story of the Alperton Angels: the cult who brainwashed a teenage girl and convinced her that her newborn baby was the anti-Christ. Believing they had a divine mission to kill the infant, they were only stopped when the girl came to her senses and called the police. The Angels committed suicide rather than stand trial, while mother and baby disappeared into the care system.
Nearly two decades later, true-crime author Amanda Bailey is writing a book on the Angels. The Alperton baby has turned eighteen and can finally be interviewed; if Amanda can find them, it will be the true-crime scoop of the year, and will save her flagging career. But rival author Oliver Menzies is just as smart, better connected, and is also on the baby's trail.
As Amanda and Oliver are forced to collaborate, they realise that what everyone thinks they know about the Angels is wrong. The truth is something much darker and stranger than they'd ever imagined. And the story of the Alperton Angels is far from over.. After all, the devil is in the detail...
Janice Hallett’s previous book ‘The Twyford Code’ got 5 stars from me last year so I was excited to receive the ARC for her next book – ‘The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels’.
If you haven’t read one of her books before, Hallett is very much a fan of unusual conventions of narrative style – her last book centred around badly transcribed audio files and this one focuses on What’s App messages, emails and transcriptions of conversations from Amanda Bailey - a journalist trying to crack the case of the angels.
I must admit I did struggle with this style in The Twyford Code but the end twist more than made up for it whereas with this book I don’t think the payoff was enough to justify how little I engaged with the plot. I found the whole book to be a little too drawn out - it needed a bit of ruthless editing to take out some of the strands. Also, there were so many characters, and you weren’t sure who was going to take a larger part later on, that I found it hard to keep track of who was who. As you just found out about people from their online correspondence, they didn’t feel well-rounded, and I also didn’t empathise enough with main character Amanda either which was a shame.
The case was interesting and there were some twists but it wasn’t as mind-blowing or as puzzle-like as the previous books so by the end of it, I didn’t really care what happened or the truth we were trying to get to. Pieces of information also seemed introduced into the narrative at very convenient points which made the whole thing feel a little too contrived and forced.
Overall, I struggled with The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels - its unique narrative style felt too drawn out and didn’t let me properly engage with the plot or empathise with the characters. If there had been a brilliant twist I could have forgiven this, but this plot is somewhat bland in comparison to other books from Hallett I have read. Thank you to NetGalley & Serpents Tail, Viper and Profile Books for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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