Blood of Angels - Michael Marshall

"The crucial thing about Michael Marshall is that he is enormously readable....Once you have started one of his books you won't want to stop" (The Independent uk) His books are much more than mere thrillers and his characterization creates memorable participants in stories that have a certain gothic/horror feel similar to the Charlie Parker series created by the amazing John Connolly. Connolly in his books has the shadowy figure of "The Collector" and Marshall has created in this trilogy (The Straw Men, The Lonely Dead and Blood of Angels) a group known as the Straw Men who operate outside the conventional rules of society guided in their endeavours by a serial killer known as The Upright Man...."He's a serial killer. He also abducts people for others to murder for kicks. He has a theory that mankind was infected by a virus tens of thousands of years ago. It made us more sociable, enabled modern society to coalesce by obscuring some or our natural enmity towards our fellow men. We started living closer together, began farming, developed the modern world. They don't like it. They want the planet back the way it was."

 

Raged against this attempt by a shadowy group to spread fear, confusion and death amongst an unsuspecting populace is an eclectic group of characters; Ward Hopkins ex CIA agent recovering from the shock and death of his parents and their association with The Straw Men; John Zant an ex LA homicide detective with a personal interest in the capture of The Upright Man who he believes was responsible for the death of his only daughter Karen; Nina Baynam discredited FBI agent believing totally in both the existence of The Straw Men and their murderous agenda; Paul Hopkins, brother to Ward and identified as the notorious serial killer The Upright Man.

 

What is so readable about Blood of Angels is that even the minor characters we meet play an important role in the unfolding drama and they all contribute to the pulsating tension that radiates from page one; James Kyle/Jim Westlake is a killer in retirement in Key West Florida until his services are required by The Straw Men one last time; Lee h

Hudek his friends Grant and Sleepy Pete all wealthy middleclass kids dealing drugs until they encounter The Upright Man, a meeting that will alter their lives irrevocably......there is no going back!

 

The search is on for Ward's brother The Upright Man who has escaped from a secure institution. Has he been broken out for  a reason? Have The Straw Men got a hidden agenda that will ultimately mean the destruction of society as we know and love. Ward, Nina and John are on the case and in the very capable hands of Michael Marshall we are treated to an extraordinary reading experience. The UK paperback version of this story is some 540 pages but I can honestly say I devoured this story in some 3 reading sessions. It still puzzles me that Michael Marshall, although a popular author, has never received the acclaim and credit he so deserves.....so, dear reader of my review, do yourself a favour and read all 3 books in this well researched, intelligent, dark and above all well written tale. A pleasure to read and a pleasure to recommend 5+++++ stars!