“They Took Everything. Now She’s Found Them”
- Book: Angel Avenger
- Location: Berlin
- Author: Tim Wickenden
Wow! That covers my reaction to this book, on just about every different front, definitely making it my best read of 2019, which is when I opened this Pandora’s box of emotions.
I did have a couple of false starts in getting going, not because I couldn’t get into the story, but simply because I was initially reading it in short bursts and not really getting my head around the timeframe of the opening action. You really need to have a good period of uninterrupted reading, to get everything into context, then the pages turn themselves and I promise, you won’t want to put it down!
Finding a way of putting a review together which does the writing justice, without revealing too many spoilers and not repeating the glowing reviews of so many previous readers, is going to be very tricky …
Angel Avenger is a multi-layered piece of cultural fiction, alongside being an excellent first story in a great new crime thriller series.
Well researched by an author who has studied his subject extensively, to ensure as much authenticity as possible, both in time, place and the human understanding of the cause and consequences of events.
We are trapped in the post Second World War of Berlin, just as Cold War tensions reach their peak. The City plays host to a vast cross section of humanity, all struggling to come to terms with their changed roles in a society they no longer recognise.
A Germany brought to its knees by forces from both east and west, with many veterans from the east deciding that a life infiltrated amongst this defeated population, was much more preferable than returning to their masters. But are they ready for the retribution heaped upon them by their ‘liberated’ captives? – You can run, but you can’t hide!
For Max Becker and his Kriminalpolizei team of detectives, many of whom had served in the ‘regime’ military during the war, a life upholding the law in a more dignified, ordered and humane fashion, is proving to be something of a personal challenge. The mature in years circle of men who head up the organisation, are the same people who still uphold the beliefs and values under which they fought and served in the conflict; whilst many in the lower echelons, such as Max and his team, question the very foundations on which their military service was based, and only strive to make life better for their fellow Berliners, by delivering a kinder, more considered justice.
Even they however, are now having their very core values challenged, when the latest addition to the organisation might test their synergy and character dynamics to their limits. Max, who has his own personal family bedrock and confidante in his wife, to keep him grounded and open-minded; and his co-worker, Bastian who has more faith than most in the new order of things, are quite accepting of the changing face of a post-war society, so whilst they are ever watchful and vigilant, ready to intervene if there are any flagrant violations of protocol, they are quite happy to keep their distance and let events take their own course!
Tim is a consummate author, who with total authority, can inject just the right amounts of pathos and empathy into his narrative and the dialogue between his characters, whilst recognising and being able to communicate with his readers, the anger and frustration which revenge can engender in the human psyche and nature.
Visual and descriptive scenes, make this one not for the faint of heart or stomach, although in their way, these acts of clinically planned and executed brutality, were profoundly touching, emotionally draining, compelling and almost necessary reading.
It didn’t matter that the identity of the murderers was made known very early on in the story, as anyone reading the prologue would surely have already guessed the outcomes. A richly crafted storyline of almost two halves; initially focusing on the plot with its planning, execution and consequences; then switching almost seamlessly to the chase, capture and the cathartic unburdening of guilt, by both the perpetrators of crime and the law enforcement charged with tracking them down. The sting in the end of the tale took me completely by surprise, but tied up all the loose parts very nicely, without appearing contrived and manufactured.
Perceptive writing brought the Kriminalpolizei to life and is already making this a cast of characters it is becoming surprisingly easy to connect with, whilst total authority over the dialogue purveys the desperate intensity of those on both sides of the law, searching for a sense of belonging and purpose in the new order of things. I shall hopefully be following Max Becker and his team as they establish a future for law and order in the new Berlin!