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Angel of No Mercy
Black Angel - Graham Masterton
Member Name: Ophelia
Black Angel - Graham Masterton
Date: 15/07/03, updated on 15/07/03 (161 review reads)
Advantages: Really gruesome, gripping
Disadvantages: Some hard to believe areas
Having exhausted Stephen King?s works and having made a substantial inroad into the novels of Dean Koontz, I was on the look out for a new horror author to get my teeth into. So, my friend Iain was kind enough to lend me a Graham Masterson and I had encountered positive reviews of the author before on Dooyoo and so had high expectations as I turned the first page and began to read.
San Francisco is being subjected to a reign of terror. A series of ritualistic mass murders are being committed and Larry Foggia is assigned to the case to track down the killer who has become known as the Fog City Satan.
He decides that an open mind is required and starts to follow an investigation into supernatural possibilities. A similar series of murders occurred many years before and rumour has it that these were committed by a group known as the Black Brotherhood in order to raise from eternal sleep an evil Fallen Angel, Beli Ya?al, exiled from Heaven by God. The current murders seem to follow the same pattern. Are the Black Brotherhood acting again? Will Beli Ya?al be resurrected? Is there anything Foggia can do to prevent this and catch the murderer?
This book has one of the best starts I have ever come across and grips your attention from the very beginning. The first sentence is ?Joe Berry Fastidiously wiped up the last circles of spaghetti sauce with a torn-off piece of sourdough and then pushed his plate away, and that was the end of the last meal he would ever eat?.
We immediately know that this character is about to die. We are then introduced to his wife, Nina, who is making ?a pie should would never bake? and to his children, Caroline and Joe, whose stuffed rabbit, which would next be called ?People?s Exhibit H?. It is clear that the entire family is about to suffer a horrendous fate.
On top of the knowledge that the family is to die we are given a countdown to their fate. ?S
ix-and-a-half minutes left? states Masterton, ?not even enough time for Joe to finish the afternoon paper?. This tension heightening technique brings our curiosity and fear to fever pitch before the murders begin.
Masterton easily raises our sympathies by skilfully introducing us to the family in such a way that we instantly like them. The husband and wife still love each other and their children. Their kids sleep peacefully with favoured toys and seem angelic in their sleep. They are a normal family and we begin to dread the fate that awaits them.
What follows is one of the most horrific accounts of torture and death I have ever read. I won?t go into details for fear of disturbing our younger readers (and our more mature readers of a nervous disposition). For fans of the horror genre the scene is extremely imaginative, horrifying and tantalising; it promises a novel containing tension, fear and apprehension.
Within a few pages Masterton has grabbed our attention and made us feel revulsion, sadness, anger and fascination. A superb attention grabbing start to the book.
This book relies heavily on a belief in the supernatural. In order to help the reader adjust to this, Masterton makes our hero, Foggia, a doubter. He scoffs at the existence of the paranormal but after he accompanies his mother to a sťance he sees evidence that even he cannot ignore.
Foggia sees an apparition of a drowned girl, an ectoplasmic formation and the desiccation of his mother?s living body before his very eyes. He, a non-believer, is faced with concrete evidence of the ?other side? and he has no choice but to change his mind and admit the existence of the supernatural. The reader also must follow suit.
Once the reader has accepted the fearful possibilities and dangers of the paranormal the story becomes as real as a true-life documentary and the events as terrifying. By the end of the novel we easily a
ccept a parrot with a growth shaped like Foggia?s face and the appearance of a moving face on Foggia?s hand!
ARRESTING AN ANGEL
Foggia?s task is to find out who the murderer is but, more urgently, to find the location of Beli Ya?al and ensure that he does not return to life, as this would result in mass killings and the release of the greatest evil known to man.
We are given graphic demonstrations of the Fallen Angel?s powers and they are spine-chilling, gut-wrenching and knicker-wetting. His powers are so great that surely no mere mortal could ever hope to fight against him. However, this is exactly what Foggia must do.
The task of thinking of a way in which a human could overcome an Angel with supernatural powers is a tricky one and Masterton does his best. However, it still seems a little incredulous that one San Francisco Police Detective could hold back the forces of evil. Nevertheless this slight glitch is not sufficient to spoil the book, so fascinating is the rest of the novel.
CAST IRON STOMACH
The book is an excellent read. There is sufficient blood and guts to please the horror fanatic and plenty of tension and fear to titillate the less horror hardened reader.
I would certainly not recommend this book to anyone who is squeamish as there are graphic descriptions of torture, murder and other such desecrations. However, for ghoulish readers, like me, these are added bonuses!
This is a very well written book that makes you believe the unbelievable. Our sympathies are raised for the victims and we are made to fear the perpetrator. It is extremely hard to put the book down until we have turned the final page when Masterton triumphs by adding one final twist in the tale. Read the book to find out what??
Publisher: Mandarin Paperbacks, Reed Books Ltd, Fulham Road, London