Sunday, November 16, 2008

SUNDAY SALON; Crime fiction book review ANGELS UNAWARE by Mike Ripley

ISBN: : 9780749080839
Publisher: Allison & Busby
398 pages
Roy Angel is a Private Investigator. He is the token male at an all female agency. His wife, a successful fashion designer, has recently given birth to their first child.. But there’s a fly in Angel’s blissful ointment. The Agency is insisting he is not entitled to extended paternity leave and his mother has descended upon them to “help” with the baby. Angel’s mum is a bit eccentric. She’s a hippy with a penchant for trouble and has the maternal instincts of a doorknob.

Angel takes on the job of searching for a missing script writer. The bank financing the film is getting jumpy because the final draft the script is past due and the writer hasn’t been seen in nearly two weeks.

The investigation takes Angel out of his comfort zone of London into the wilds of Yorkshire. He is aided by fellow PI Ossie Oesterlein, a very large man with an even larger appetite, who lives at home with his mum and is into line dancing in a big way.

So just how does a search for a missing man end in a murder hunt with Angel staring down the barrel of a loaded gun contemplating his own death? And what does a Polish porn star have to do with it?

The story is told from Angel’s perspective. As the narrator, Angel’s voice is highly amusing; particularly the banter between himself and Ossie. These two are an unlikely a pair as you’ll ever come across. His wife’s increasing exasperation and annoyance at Angel’s extended absence from the martial home is also very entertaining, as are his mother’s antics.

The author, Mike Ripley deftly changes both the tempo and mood of the plot as what begins as a routine missing person case and a jaunt to the north becomes a matter of life and death for Angel. ANGELS UNAWARE is a light-hearted detective yarn with a somewhat dark centre.

I was surprised to learn that ANGELS UNAWARE is the fifteenth in the Angel series. I must look out for more. Mike Ripley’s Roy Angel has slipped under my radar until now. Don’t let it slip under yours.

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