Title: The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels
Author: Janice Hallett
Release Date: 19/1/23
I received a free eARC copy from Viper ,via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Open the safe deposit box. Inside you will find research material for a true crime book. You must read the documents, then make a decision. Will you destroy them? Or will you take them to the police?
Everyone knows the story of the Alperton Angels: the cult-like group who were convinced one of their member’s babies was the anti-Christ, and they had a divine mission to kill it – until the baby’s mother, Holly, came to her senses and called the police. The Angels committed suicide rather than go to prison, and Holly – and the baby – disappeared into the care system.
Nearly two decades later, true-crime author Amanda Bailey is writing a book on the Angels. The Alperton baby has turned eighteen and can finally be interviewed – if Amanda can find them, it will be the true-crime scoop of the year, and will save her flagging career. But rival author Oliver Menzies is just as smart, better connected, and is also on the baby’s trail.
As Amanda and Oliver are forced to collaborate, they realise that what everyone thinks they know about the Angels is wrong, and the truth is something much darker and stranger than they’d ever imagined.
This story is far from over – and it won’t have a happy ending.
I have read this book twice once in December of 2022 where it snuck its way on to my top reads of the year list in the last minute and then again when I received my physical pre-order. Both times I adored it and I knew if I sat down to write my review it would just read like this …
OMG READ THIS BOOK. IT’S SO GOOD
I wanted my review to be a little more nuanced than that so I waited. I waited to write this review until after I saw Janice Hallett speak about it and I am glad I did. It was so interesting to hear about her writing process and her background as a screen writer, as a journalist in the cut-throat world of beauty industry magazines and her curiosity around true crime stories. It added so much to the back ground of how she structures her novels but also to the main character of Alperton Angels who is a former journalist turned True Crime novelist.
Like Hallett’s first novel The Appeal, this story is told though a varied mixed media format of emails, text messages, transcribed conversations, snippets of a paranormal YA romance novel and a unproduced film script it all comes together gloriously to build into a great mystery with all its twists and turns. It fantastically treads the line between thriller and the paranormal, having you wandering if it will at any point tip over into the uncanny or give you the reasonable explanation to it all. There are scenes where even I as the reader started to feel gas lit a little as the emotions and the confusion/desperation and drive of the characters really leapt through. There are real spine tingling moments too, when the cult is being explored and that line between creepy/spooky is walked so expertly.
Angela as a main character is forceful, she does what she needs to do to get the job done even if that is sometimes underhanded. I really like how we learnt more and more about Amanda as the novel progressed. The way the information about each person, their connection with the case is paced throughout is just fantastic. All leading to a finale that is nail-biting. Hearing Janice Hallett speak about her research just solidifies the great attention to the details that flow through the book. I am just in awe of the construction and novel craft to pull what seems like a random collection of items into such a captivating story.
I am a huge fan of Hallett’s work and a huge fan of this book. If you are interested in true crime, cults or just a different narrative style I would highly recommend giving this one a try.
One thought on “Review – The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels”
I need this! I’ve been consuming true crime at a ridiculous pace recently. So, a thriller set around a true crime author seems like something I would absolutely love. Great review!
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