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The Angel of Death

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When I say the word “mystery”, the first thing that is likely to come to your mind is something like Sherlock Holmes, not The Angel of Death by Alane Ferguson, published by Sleuth Speak (a subsidiary of Penguin Group) in 2007. However, I still recommend that you read this book, or you will miss out on a riveting, balanced, intricate, and overall well written book.
The story starts with the main character of this book, Cameryn Mahoney, doing a check on a dead animal found by the road in the mountains near her home in Colorado. Not the most glamorous of jobs for the assistant of the coroner. It seems like a routine disposal, except for one thing: the dog’s eyes are missing. This detail is dismissed because of scavengers, but becomes prominent later on when the body of Cameryn’s English teacher is discovered in his house, with the same strange feature. The person who found the body is Kyle O’ Neil, one of the teacher’s scouts. Cameryn quickly gets into a complicated romance with the Eagle Scout, while also trying to keep this from the interest of her father. Her mother, whom Cameryn has never met, is also attempting to come to visit her, making things all the more complicated. All of this is happening while she is trying to solve one of the most baffling murders anyone- her father, her, or the mortician- has ever seen. No one can seem to find the cause of death for the teacher, who looks like he has been cooked alive in his bed. All the pressure falls on Cameryn’s shoulders, for she is the only one who seems to be able to talk to Kyle, the only one that seems to know anything about the murder. Cameryn has to figure out what is happening fast, or Cameryn’s life may be in danger as well.
The Angel of Death is actually a sequel to The Christopher Killer, and you can really start on either, but if you start on The Angel of Death, like I did, you will miss some of the finer plot details at first. This could be a problem, so I suggest you read The Christopher Killer first. Back to The Angel of Death. This book does a very good job of switching through the multiple intricacies in Cameryn’s life, going between her romance with Kyle, her father’s intuitiveness, the fact her mother is trying to visit, and the murder of her English teacher. These are all very well balanced in the story, each coming out at just the right time to make the plot take a new turn. Quite a few times, a few of the individual problems will collide, and this adds even more development to the story. Many twists occur in the middle and at the end of the chapters, adding to the suspense. You do not know when a new angle will be thrown at you, keeping you at the edge of your seat. For example, at the end of chapter two, the English teacher’s death is revealed with a cliffhanger. “Sheriff says it’s the strangest thing he’s ever seen, and I need to get right over to make sense of it. He’s dead, Cammie. Brad Oakes is dead.” This quote also shows the tremendous strength of the author’s writing in the placement of events. All of the events in the book happen at just the right time. Unfortunately, the few surprises that happen at the beginning of the chapters are stale and unimaginative. Then again, most books don’t even attempt to put any sort of revelations at the beginning of chapters, so you have to commend the author for trying. This book will have you up till midnight reading it. The timing of the book is slower during the romance and friendship parts, but faster during the action parts. One more thing: the author does not seem to have any qualms about putting the gorier details into the books, so this book is not for those with weak stomachs. However, the whole plot stays exciting , so I give my recommendation for this book.
The Angel of Death is a very solid, well written book, and will have you begging for more of Alane Ferguson’s books. She does have two others, The Christopher Killer, and Circle of Blood. The Angel of Death falls right in the middle of the series. After you read this book, or maybe even before you read it, you will want to read The Christopher Killer or Circle of Blood. However, The Angel of Death is such a exciting book, I would- and I did- skip right to it.





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