Thursday Thriller Audio: The Angel Maker by Alex North

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

The Angel Maker by Alex North

Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Macmillan Audio (February 28, 2023)

Length: 8 hrs and 1 min

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Narrators: Rosalie Craig

If you could see the future, would you want to?

At 17 years old, Katie Shaw didn’t know what to say to her boyfriend Sam when he asked her that question. What if you didn’t like what you saw, and there was nothing you could do about it? Life is a series of decisions, and if you could see the future but didn’t know which choices led you there, then how could you even begin to know how to change it?

The day she and Sam had that conversation also ended up being the worst day of Katie‘s life. One moment of impulse was all it took, a single irresponsible decision by our protagonist which led to her beloved little brother Chris having to walk home from school by himself. It meant that the young boy was all alone and defenseless when a knife-wielding madman named Michael Hyde ambushed him from out of nowhere and almost took his life. This attack changed the Shaws’ lives forever. The trauma left Chris with scars both physical and mental, sending him down a path of darkness which led to drug abuse in his adult years. Katie never forgave herself, and now almost twenty years later, she is still living with the guilt. Estranged from Chris, she instead pours all her love and attention into her own family which includes Sam, now her husband, and their young daughter Sienna.

But then one day, Katie receives a phone call from her mother. Sounding very distressed, she claims that Chris has turned over a new leaf in recent years, but now she’s worried because he’s gone missing. Aware of her mom’s massive blind spot for anything that has to do with her youngest child, Katie has some doubts, but promises to try and see what she can find out. But what neither of them know is that Chris has caught the attention of a serial killer with dangerous delusions of being able to see the future, who will stop at nothing until he catches his prey. Meanwhile, a pair of detectives investigate the murder of wealthy philosophy professor Alan Hobbes, who had mysteriously put all his affairs in order just hours before his death—almost as though he’d known his killer was coming. In Alan’s possessions, the detectives also find a collection of notes and items related to a serial killer from the 1950s and 60s known as the Angel Maker.

Gradually, the story begins to weave together the threads connecting the police investigation into Alan Hobbes’ death with Katie Shaw’s frantic search for her brother. Along the way, the events of the past and present are revealed through the eyes of multiple characters, showing that the plot actually goes much deeper than previously realized.

The Angel Maker featured some great writing, and in fact it may be my favorite of Alex North’s novels that I’ve read so far! I would describe the pacing as slow burn, but definitely balanced enough that it was never boring. That said, the amount of setup in the first half of the book can be quite daunting and demanding on the reader’s patience, mainly due to the shear amount if background context involved as well as the not-so-linear format of storytelling.

Ironically, I found the detective chapters to be the driest, as their sole purpose appeared to be revealing the history of the Angel Maker murders and the backstory for our killer (speaking of which, North also seems to have a penchant for writing over-the-top villains and this was no exception). Thankfully though, to make up for this we have Katie’s chapters which were always running a mile a minute as she pretty much solves the mystery of her missing brother on her own, thank you very much.

This novel was also a good listen, as I had the pleasure of reviewing the audiobook edition read by Rosalie Craig. It was my first experience with her as a narrator and I thought she did a fine job with all the characters’ voices which ranged from young to old with very diverse backgrounds and accents.

Part police procedural, part psychological thriller, The Angel Maker blends mystery, horror and even a dash of the supernatural as it explores the doctrine of determinism and questions whether our fates are written in stone or alterable. Throw in a hefty dose of heart-wrenching family drama as well, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a compelling read. If that sounds like what you’re looking for, I wouldn’t miss it.

12 Comments on “Thursday Thriller Audio: The Angel Maker by Alex North”

  1. Ok I am adding that audio to my TBR! I am on a thriller/mystery/crime kick tjis year and you never led me astray.


  2. I completely agree with your thoughts and recommendation of this one. It was my first exposure to the author and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I loved how it all weaved together. And that opening scene was a real gut punch for me. I was hooked straight through to end.


  3. Pingback: Bookshelf Roundup 03/12/23: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

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