[W]ith Fallen Angel [Brookmyre] gives us a standalone about families and their secrets. But what you hold is not a rogueishly funny novel with doses of entertaining polemic, this is a pin-sharp psychological thriller. There’s no explosive, gleeful opening, but a description of a death which carries elements of rage and contempt, which set the tone for the whole book... I was frequently left reeling as more was revealed, both supporting and rubbishing what I had thought about the characters and events. Fallen Angel is carefully paced, and while the setting is mostly warm Portugese sunshine, the sense of inevitable doom is chilling enough to make you cuddle up in a cashmere blanket. Meanwhile, there is little physical violence, but plenty to turn the stomach all the same. And while Brookmyre has long created strong women, he really tests the reader in Fallen Angel with Celia and Sylvie/Ivy – two unpleasant, unforgiving and uncompromising women at the heart of the story... Fallen Angel shows Brookmyre’s immense skill as a writer at the top of his game, as well as what can be created in the crime/thriller genre. It’s simply compelling.
Chris Brookmyre, author of crime novels ranging through a wide spectrum of subgenres from comic to historical and science fiction, has now turned his considerable talents to the psychological thriller. Fallen Angel centres on the disappearance of a toddler – now presumed dead – from the Portuguese holiday home of the high-achieving but profoundly dysfunctional Temples... Yes, there’s a nod to Madeleine McCann here, but what this nuanced and intelligent novel is really about is the seductive nature of conspiracist thinking and the unholy brew of egotism, control, delusion and resentment that characterises toxic family relationships.