Little Brown 25th April 2019 (Hardback)
One Family, Two Holidays,
One Devastating Secret
To new nanny Amanda, the Temple family seems to have it all: the former actress; the famous professor; their three successful grown-up children. But like any family beneath the smiles and hugs there lurks far darker emotions.
Sixteen years earlier, little Niamh Temple died while they were on holiday in Portugal. Now, as Amanda joins the family for a reunion at there seaside villa, she begins to suspect one of them might be hiding something terrible.
And suspicion is a dangerous thing.
Having finished this book yesterday, I am left wondering how I haven’t heard of Chris Brookmyre before, because frankly, Fallen Angel was superb. Best described as Domestic Noir I think, this toxic tale of the Temple family was gripping, compelling and shocking in equal measure. Told from a number of first person narratives, the characters are introduced to the reader as they make their way to a family reunion in Portugal. As the story unfolds we learn the events that occurred, recently and sixteen years previously but we also learn how each individual views the others. I was impressed with the writing, particularly as the story unfolded and noted how my opinion changed about certain characters, based on other’s views.
The plot is strong, we initially meet Sylvie ( now legally know as Ivy), a hard and unlikeable character, successful professionally but largely estranged from her family following her daughter’s death sixteen years previously. Other family members are also en route to Portugal and we meet Monica and Celia (Sylvie’s sister and mother) at the airport, where they bump into Amanda (the nanny) and Kirsten who along with her husband own the villa which shares the pool of the villas owned by the Temple family. Amanda is key to this story, familiar with the family who have some celebrity status and a budding journalist herself, her curiosity is piqued when she notices obvious tensions and decides to learn more about this family via the internet. Seriously who wouldn’t!?
For the reader, along with Amanda this story raises many questions and as such kept me engaged. There were some aspects I had begun to work out prior to being revealed but I was still left jaw droppingly shocked in the latter pages. I loved the unreliable narrators in this book, the way they collectively created a picture and the shifting perspectives which influenced me as I read. For me this was a quick read, an exciting read and one that I will be recommending to others as well as seeking out other work by this author.
About the Author
Chris Brookmyre was a journalist before becoming a full-time novelist with the publication of his award-winning debut Quite Ugly One Morning, which established him as one of Britian’s leading crime authors. His Jack Parlabane novels have sold more than two million copies in the UK alone, and Black Widow won both the McIlvanney Prize and the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year award.
Thank you to Caolinn Douglas and Grace Vincent at Little Brown for inviting me to be involved in this blog tour and providing me with a copy of the book. Please do support the blog tour by checking out what others are saying about this book and share on Social Media if possible. Thank you!