Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre
A claustrophobic meta exploration of conspiracy, Chris Brookmyre's new novel is a must-read for thriller fans
In a world of fake news, flat earthers, and truthers, conspiracy theories are gaining traction at an alarming speed. In Fallen Angel, Chris Brookmrye taps into this, creating a neglected-child story that reflects the Madeline McCann conspiracy. The Temple family unite at their villa in Portugal after the death of father and husband, Max. Yet only sixteen years ago the family was divided by the death of toddler Niamh Temple, whose body was never recovered. A wannabe investigative journalist, Amanda, finds herself au-pairing at the villa next door, and is soon drawn to the Temple family, questioning what really happened all those years ago.
Fallen Angel switches between 2012 and 2018, claustrophobically keeping us in the family villa to spend time with the mysterious and largely unlikable Temple family. Brookmyre explores the 'what actually happened?' morbid curiosity that surfaces when there are blanks to fill, and does it with perfect pace and exceptionally entertaining writing.
Brookmyre shows, through the twists of the plot and character development, that making conclusions by filling in perceived gaps of a story with subjective impressions can be dangerous. In this suitably meta exploration of conspiracy – in a genre which relies on keeping the reader guessing before gaps are filled – Brookmyre has woven a wonderfully dark tale of deception and denial, of destructive family dynamics and death. A must-read for all fans of thrillers. [Rebecca Wojturska]