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Fallen Angel

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To new nanny Amanda, the Temple family seem 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 their seaside villa, she begins to suspect one of them might be hiding something terrible...

And suspicion is a dangerous thing.

293 pages, Hardcover

First published April 25, 2019

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Chris Brookmyre

16 books185 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 293 reviews
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,712 reviews25k followers
March 20, 2019
I adore anything that Chris Brookmyre writes and this psychological thriller, which moves in a slightly different direction from normal, is simply terrific. It has a dual narrative from 2002 and 2018, mostly set in the Algarve, Portugal, where the Temple family have villas for family holidays. In 2002, Niamh, a young child disappears, presumed dead during a party thrown by neighbour Vince, and his wife, Laurie for the Temples. This tragedy has sown deep divisions within the Temple family, and their daughter, Ivy has become estranged. Ivy works in PR, engaged in corporate reputational laundering, a woman who cannot help sabotaging any meaningful relationships in her life, more comfortable being hated and embracing her nickname as Poison Ivy. There have been no family reunion since 2002, but Max Temple, the famous psychology professor, notorious for debunking conspiracy theorists has died, so once again the dysfunctional family comes together to remember him. The scene is set for the emergence of dark secrets.

Lawyer Vince is now married to his much younger second wife, Kirsten, who has recently given birth to baby Arron. Amanda, a Canadian teenager, is the nanny, looking forward to spending time getting to know a new place, only she has literally been left to look after the baby solo, travelling to the Algarve too. Amanda is an aspiring journalist with her own YouTube channel. She is over the moon to discover the Temple family as neighbours, particularly as she was a huge fan of Max. She finds her curiosity aroused over the events that occurred in 2002, but the past can have a nasty habit of coming back to bite you as she underestimates the danger it puts her in. The parents, Max and Celia, are not people to admire, they are narcissistic, controlling, and snobs with big expectations of their offspring. The Catholic Celia, the once a famous actress, is pushing her energies into painting a picture of family unity and perfection that is far from the truth. The callous Max is a nasty piece of work that inspired nothing but revulsion in me. It is barely surprising that their children should have problems.

Brookmyre serves up a delicious storytelling with characters that are hard to like but so brilliantly compelling. This is a gripping novel of conspiracy, murder, vengeance, and chillingly dark family drama, narrated through the perspective of the various characters. There is plenty of suspense and tension, as the expertly plotted twists deliver their surprises and included is a small role for a well known Brookmyre character. As usual, I loved this latest Brookmyre book, it is entertaining and compulsive reading. Brookmyre fans and other crime fiction readers will enjoy this. Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,081 reviews619 followers
September 15, 2022
Right from the very start we know that someone has been murdered. We’re told it’s a man and we understand the way he was killed too, but who is he, and whodunnit? The set-up here reminded me of Liane Moriarty’s brilliant Big Little Lies in that we’re then thrown into a claustrophobic mystery whereby we meet a group of characters and are henceforth doomed to search for the whys and wherefores for the majority of the next 350 pages. But what great fun it is!

Student and aspiring journalist Amanda has travelled to Scotland from her home in Canada to be a summer nanny for some family friends. Almost immediately she is whisked off to a holiday on the Algarve where they will stay in one of three villas situated around a communal pool. The other two villas are occupied by members of the Temple family who have descended en masse to commemorate the recent death a senior member of the clan. Amanda is soon to learn learn that sixteen years earlier Niamh, a young member of the Temple family, tragically died during a holiday here. Now, in alternating sections, we start to learn of happenings at the time of Niamh’s death as well as following the unfolding of events in the present day.

The characterisation is brilliantly done and as tension racks up (both in the present and in the past) a broad picture of the the relationship between the various players begins to develop. But it’s a slightly hazy picture as it does seem that there are secrets here untold. What is clear is that there is sibling rivalry, overbearing parenting, sly and manipulative behaviour and wanton lust – and that’s just the stuff that’s on the surface! And in amongst this Amanda is trying to keep her emotions intact whilst internally challenging what’s beginning to feel like a pretty flimsy story regarding Niamh’s death.

Brookmyre is great at telling a tale in which he’s able to inject humour and yet keep ratcheting up the tension. In fact, so wrapped up was I in the goings on in this small community that I suddenly realised that I was nearing the end of the book and yet was no closer to solving the double riddle of the murder that had been flagged at the beginning or of fully comprehending the detail surrounding Niamh’s death. But then the surprises started to drop and abruptly all became very clear. Wow! I had to stop and draw breath – I really hadn’t seen that coming!

A superb tale of intrigue and rivalry and family secrets that held me captive throughout. I’m not sure when I’ve read a better thriller or one so intelligently written with characters that felt real and with whom I became so significantly invested. The best book I’ve read this year – and ok, it’s still early doors but I’ll be surprised if it’s not in my top three by year end.

My sincere thanks to Little, Brown Book Group UK and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Pauline.
777 reviews
April 23, 2019
Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre is the story of a dysfunctional family. The family have gone to Portugal on holiday.
On a previous holiday their young child died there and now a young nanny is trying to find our why.
There are very few likeable characters in this book and I found it very difficult to read because of this.
Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Whispering Stories.
2,757 reviews2,580 followers
April 24, 2019
Book Reviewed by Stacey on www.whisperingstories.com

Back in 2002 eighteen-months-old Niamh Temple died whilst on holiday with her family in Portugal. The Temple family are back in Portugal gathering together to share the life of Max Temple who has recently died.

On holiday next door to the Temple family is Vince, his wife Kirsten, their baby and Au Pair, Canadian Amanda. Amanda is also a blogger and recognises the family staying next door as Max was a well-known conspiracy theorist. Niamh was his granddaughter who died in mysterious circumstances.

Amanda does a little digging and soon begins to wonder whether a member of the Temple family is hiding secrets, but poking your nose in other peoples business is risky, very risky.

I haven’t read any of Chris Brookmyre’s work before but I was soon hooked on his style of writing. The book takes place in two different times, 2002 and 2018. There are a lot of characters to remember including one who has changed her identity since the tragedy in 2002.

I was fascinated by the whole situation and whilst I’m not normally a lover of books shifting in time, this book worked. I was also eager to understand what the prologue meant.

The book is also told from multiple points-of-view. Unfortunately, this is something I’m not a lover of and so the book took a little bit more of my concentration and time to read than normal. Whilst the change between different POVs was done well and you always knew which person you were following, and which time zone, I’m just not a lover of multi-point-of-view books, but this is just my preference and may people love them.

The book is compelling, gripping and leaves you feeling anxious and cold at times as if you are on the edge of your seat knowing that something is lurking around the corner such as a twist in the plot or a shocking scene.

I will have to go back and read some of Mr. Brookmyre’s earlier work now.
Profile Image for Mandy White (mandylovestoread).
2,140 reviews581 followers
April 21, 2019
Fallen Angel by Christopher Brookmyre was the first book by this author that I have read. Of course I have seen the books around before but just never got around to reading one. I enjoyed this book but I found it a bit slow and confusing to begin with. There are alot of characters to try to keep straight with multiple timelines and points of view. The further into it I got the clearer it all became. Most of the story is set in Portugal in both timelines which was a nice change. I will certainly give this writer another look.

The story of a well known family dealing with loss. In 2002 baby Niamh Temple disappeared. In 2018 professor Max Temple has been murdered. The Temple family are having a reunion at their holiday home in Portugal. Their neighbours with their Canadian student nanny Amanda are also enjoying a break there. Amanda is an inspiring journalist and finds her neighbours lives fascinating and the more she looks the more secrets and lies are uncovered. Maybe the lives of the rich and famous Temple family is not all it appears to be.

Thanks to Little Brown Book Group UK and NetGalley for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,937 reviews799 followers
April 23, 2019
I was hooked right from the start when it came to Fallen Angel. The blurb and the cover had intrigued me and I was really thrilled to feel right from the beginning that this book engrossed me. Fallen Angel is the story about the death of a little girl, Niamh, sixteen years ago. No body was ever found, but everyone assumed she drowned in the sea. Now the family is back in Portugal where it all happened. Across the Temple villa is Amanda working as a nanny for a family. She finds herself drawn to the Temple family and the more she starts to spend time with the Temple family the more she feels that they are hiding something.

Fallen Angel is my kind of thriller with family secrets and untrustworthy people. Honestly, not many in the book are especially sympathetic with the exception of Amanda. It's the kind of book that you just want to read one more chapter and even though some of the twists were perhaps not that unexpected were they interesting and made the story fascinating to read. I liked how the story also showed us flashbacks to the past, events that led to little Niamh death. I found the book to be a great thriller and I can't wait to read more from Chis Brookmyre!

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!
Profile Image for Anni.
544 reviews76 followers
October 19, 2019
Chris Brookmyre is one of those authors you know will deliver, a safe pair of hands to entrust with your willing suspension of disbelief in the wildest of plots – because his storytelling is so entertaining and his characterisation spot on. This psychological thriller is a somewhat unconventional offering from what his fans are used to, but no less compelling – a family gathering from hell, with enough secrets, lies, twists and turns to beguile and baffle the reader to the very end. The cleverest trick that Brookmyre pulls off however, is that a story involving a debunker of conspiracy theories reveals the truth that our acceptance of the literary subterfuge involved in writing fiction requires an actual conspiracy between author and reader too!
Profile Image for Kirsty ❤️.
924 reviews45 followers
April 13, 2019
There are two stories interwoven here; one from present day and one from 2002. Today new nanny Amanda is on holiday with the family she works for and staying next door to a family that looks to have it all. That family, the Temple's are gathered together after the death of patriarch Max but it's also the first time the family has been together as a whole unit since a mysterious death back in 2002, the other story which we unravel as the book goes on. 

I enjoyed the dual nature of the book. I've read a couple of Brookmyre's books and really enjoyed the slight change in style for this one. It's a really good thriller and I enjoyed following the two strands. Quite a few of the characters are hard to like but that's part of the charm; how the story builds and you still care despite not liking them. In some books when the characters are unlikable you wonder why you are still reading so a credit to the writing that it hooks you in to still want to know what will happen next. 

Right from the start you know there's been a death and then present events start to show us the who and the how. Overall really enjoyable and really enjoyed it. 
Profile Image for Nigel.
849 reviews98 followers
April 22, 2019
In brief - Personally I found just about everyone in it unlikeable at best which colours my view! It's well enough written and looks a little bit like a can - with the word "worms" written on it...

I found the prologue to this book intriguing if slightly puzzling. After that we meet Ivy who I found a little weird. Then there is Amanda who has arrived in Scotland for the summer before she goes to university and seems to be a nanny on the cheap. After her there is Celia an older lady who was famous and whose famous academic husband, Max, has just died. From here on we meet other members of Celia's family who are going to Portugal for a family meet up. A grandchild of hers died their in 2002. The story switches between 2002 and 2018 and looks at various people's stories.

I found I was around 20% in before the story really started to make sense. Once that had happened I thought this might be quite a simple story about a family tragedy in 2002. In some senses this is the case however it isn't quite just that. Max, now deceased, was a well known debunker of conspiracy theories in his lifetime. Are there conspiracies theories about the death in 2002? Of course there are! But nothing is ever that simple. When the revelations they are powerful ones (and may disturb some).

Parts of this I actually really enjoyed particularly towards the end. The last 20% will not be left unread by many! I guess the characters are not bad. Amanda and maybe Ivy are quite interesting. However even the best of the characters are somewhat unlikeable. The less good characters are even worse! This is well written as I would expect from this author. The story isn't bad though nothing like the author's best for me. For me it was hard to get over the fact that I simply didn't like anyone involved in the story. Equally the final twist was probably a little much for me. I do love Brookmyre's work generally however this is not a highpoint. It will not stop me reading future books by him though.

Note - I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review
Profile Image for Susan.
2,696 reviews594 followers
April 7, 2019
I have long been a fan of Chris Brookmyre and was delighted to read this stand alone novel. Much of the book is set in Portugal, where three holiday villas surround a pool. Max Temple, a famous, popular scientist, his wife, Celia, an almost forgotten actress, and their children use two of the villas. Businessman Vince has the other.

This novel takes part in two different periods – 2002 and 2018. In the present, Vince and his new wife, Kirsten, their small baby and new au pair, Canadian Amanda Coolidge, are to visit Portugal for a holiday. However, Vince, a workaholic, misses the plane and so the two women, plus baby, find themselves getting their first. The Temples are meeting up, after the death of Max; with Celia desperate to get her family back together again.

Amanda, who is an internet blogger, immediately recognises the family. Not only was Max Temple a well known personality, but, in 2002, an event took place at the villa, which is a popular discussion subject on the internet. In 2002, the Temples were staying in Portugal, when Max and Celia’s toddler granddaughter fell to her death into the sea, her body never found. Ironically, Max Temple was best known for de-bunking conspiracy theories, while they flourished around the events of that night.

As in all of Chris Brookmyre’s books, the joy lies in his characters. Gradually, he introduces us to the people who were in Portugal in both 2002 and 2018. Vince with his first wife, and then Kirsten. The Temple family as they were in 2002 and in the present; with all of their secrets, tragedies, motives and divisions. Little Niamh was the daughter of Sylvie Temple, who has re-named herself Ivy Roan, and is now a cool as ice businesswoman. However, in Amanda, Sylvie scents danger and fears the precarious new life she has built herself might shatter.

With its emphasis on the internet, blogging, conspiracy theories and endless, online discussions, in which people can gleefully discuss, comment and judge others, Brookmyre has created a modern, and relevant thriller. If you are on the beach this summer, this is the perfect read.
Profile Image for Nigeyb.
1,244 reviews281 followers
January 18, 2019
I am still fairly new to the work of Chris Brookmyre however, having now read four books, I can confidently assert that, whilst he writes in markedly different styles and genres, the quality is always excellent.

Fallen Angel (2019) is a case in point. It's cleverly structured with multiple points-of-view and two different time-frames, so whilst slightly confusing initially, it quickly becomes clearer with the reader taken on a compelling journey aligned to some terrific twists.

The plot centres around a young child who disappeared whilst on holiday in Portugal back in 2002. The child was part of a celebrity family who, it quickly transpires, are extremely dysfunctional.

This tale cleverly weaves in some beguiling themes: conspiracy theories, secrecy, jealousy, family dynamics, blackmail, egotism, delusion, and resentment.

Chris Brookmyre is a masterful storyteller who keeps the reader guessing through to the final act. He even subtly works in two of his recurring characters (Catherine McLeod and Jack Parlabane) into minor cameos. I am now resolved to read everything he's written. A great writer and another splendid book.


Fallen Angel (2019) by Chris Brookmyre
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,471 reviews1,009 followers
December 27, 2018
Fallen Angel finds the indomitable Mr Brookmyre returning to crime on earth, with a psychological thriller which is beautifully written and even more beautifully unpredictable.
Fallen Angel tells the tale of a family divided by tragedy returning years later to the scene of the “crime” and facing some absolute truths that have been buried for a long time. This is a toxic family situation if ever you saw one, underneath the rich facade lies a terrible darkness.
This author does characters oh so very well, layering them cleverly, evoking an emotional response in the reader whether that be distaste, utter loathing or random sympathy.
A twisty mystery indeed and one that unravels slowly over the course of the telling, highly intriguing, fascinatingly insightful with a premise ripped straight from the headlines.
One for conspiracy theorists everywhere. I loved it.
Highly Recommended.
Profile Image for SueLucie.
458 reviews20 followers
April 11, 2019
It is over 20 years since I read a couple of Chris Brookmyre’s early books and I had him pegged as a writer of edgy, blackly humorous crime fiction. He has certainly moved on since then. This is a murder mystery of sorts (and it keeps the reader guessing right to the end) but that element of the story is eclipsed by the psychological family drama that switches focus back and forth between 2002 and 2018. He gives some compelling insights into conspiracy theories and how they can be so seductive, and family mythologies, spinning events to maintain an illusion of harmony. All very interesting. One passage that struck me in particular:

Most powerfully, our fear of chaos leads us to crave narrative. We construct apparently coherent stories that tie things together, part of a greater scheme, an all-encompassing truth. These stories make sense according to the way we already understand the world, but that understanding is already a flawed attempt to impose a pattern upon chaos.

Fast paced action, engaging characters and interaction, and some sharp dialogue - I enjoyed it all tremendously and have no hesitation in recommending.

With thanks to Little, Brown via NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC.
Profile Image for 8stitches 9lives.
2,854 reviews1,644 followers
April 22, 2019
Chris Brookmyre is back with a standalone psychological thriller with the requisite thrills and spills and not forgetting the all-important chills. Of course, like many other books in the genre, much of what happens requires a healthy suspension of disbelief, but if you go with the flow you're in for a wild ride so buckle up and enjoy. What really makes this a superb read is the complex characterisation of the family; they truly are a despicable mob whose sins of the past come to the fore in Fallen Angel unravelling what seemed to be an enviable existence to most outsiders. However, we all know that those with the most to hide put on the biggest show.

This is rather different from Brookmyre's previous novels but it is just as well written and unpredictable in nature. The surprises in the plot are done cleverly and your attention is captured for the whole duration after the first few chapters have sunk in. That said, it does take a little while (those first couple of chapters) to become acquainted with the large cast and changing viewpoints but after persevering I thoroughly enjoyed passing the time with the sneaky, sinful Temple's. I look forward to picking up more of Mr Brookmyre's writing in the future. Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.
Profile Image for Bookread2day.
2,311 reviews63 followers
April 21, 2019
I read Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre, so naturally I jumped straight into reading action reading Fallen Angel. What attracted my attention here, is you can have everything you ever wanted, but tragedy can still rip you apart. Just like the Temple family who have so much in life with a career and a media profile to add. They are rich enough to own two properties in Portugal with a shared swimming pool. Their nanny seems fascinated by the temple family, but that's not hard to imagine as some people are fascinated by the wealthy individuals. The story switches from 2002 to the present time in 20018. Unfortunately the temple family may seem to have it all, but there is a tragedy, when in 2002 18 -month-old Niamh Temple drowned in a tragic accident in the shared villa swimming pool. It may seem like a strange idea, but sixteen years later the temple family decided to hold a reunion back at the villa in memory of Niamh Temple. Keep reading as suspicion really is a dangerous thing.
Profile Image for Maine Colonial.
652 reviews174 followers
July 14, 2019
Mixed feelings on this one. For most of the book I was gritting my teeth because the characters were all so aggressively obnoxious. I kept going, though, and the mystery turned out to be interesting, but that was only the last quarter of the book.

There is the briefest of appearances by Jack Parlabane, the investigative journalist featured in several earlier books, most notably the hilariously profane and hard-boiled Quite Ugly One Morning. I don’t know why Brookmyre has shortened his writing name from Christopher to Chris or, more important, why he’s dropped the wild and crazy stuff and gone for more conventional stories. I miss the old Brookmyre and those Parlabane books.
April 6, 2021
Chris Brookmyre is a very good writer and I’m surprised that he hasn’t received more international renown. In FALLEN ANGEL, he has written a more serious novel than usual, one that seems aimed at book clubs rather than his usual fans.

Although the short prologue starts with a murder of a man (we don’t know who) by someone (also unspecified), the next half of the book focuses on the members of the Temple family, a very unlikable family indeed. We meet them during two time periods — 2002 and 2018. The main protagonist is Ivy/Sylvie, who is despicable both at age 16 and at age 32. Only her mother, Celia, is more despicable — a true monster — possibly the worst monster that Brookmyre has ever created, and from my knowledge of dysfunctional families, very close to the real types of mothers who head them — women who are blind to everything but their own needs to be seen as perfect. The other members of the family play less major roles, but all are equally dislikable. The only “nice” person in the first half of the book is Amanda, a Canadian nanny for Vince and Kirsten, neighbours to the Temple family, but she is so nice that I couldn’t warm up to her because she doesn’t seem real.

About 50% through the story, we begin to understand why Ivy/Sylvie acts like she does. I think that Brookmyre intended for readers to change their minds about Ivy once they heard her backstory. But there is nothing to like about her. I can forgive her behaviour at age 16 once the facts come out but I can’t forgive her behaviour at age 32. Her difficulties with forming romantic relationships, yes, that is understandable. But her choice of job and her treatment of everyone else, no. Those choices/behaviours seem to be motivated by pure hate, not only towards her parents but everyone else.

If it had been anything but a Brookmyre book, I would have stopped reading it before I reached the 50% mark. The characters were simply too unlikable. As it was, I had to stop several times because I felt that I was just plodding through, something I’ve never felt before with a book by this author. Around the 50% mark, it begins to move more quickly, with Brookmyre’s usual twists and turns as the murder starts to take centre stage. At the end, he provides the reader with two 180 degree unexpected turns — a present to make up for the difficulty in spending so much time with a truly dysfunctional family.

At any rate, I hope that Ivy is permanently gone from Parlabane’s life.

Addendum: In the earlier part of the story, it says that Vince has little money because all he received in his divorce was the villa in Portugal. But later it implies that Vince couldn’t marry Kirsten until his wife Laurie died. This is confusing.
Profile Image for Eva.
838 reviews428 followers
April 23, 2019
Raise your hand if you love stories about dysfunctional families!

The Temple family seem to have it all. Max is a famous professor, his wife Celia a former actress and their three children have all grown up to be successful. But then Max dies and Celia invites her children to a holiday at the family villa in Portugal. The same villa where sixteen years earlier, little Niamh Temple died.

In the neighbouring villa, Amanda is working as a nanny for Vince and his wife, Kirsten. Being so close to the Temple family, she soon realises things are not what they seem and she begins to suspect one of them might be hiding something terrible.

And thus begins a thrilling ride as we delve into this family’s dynamics, while all the while trying to figure out what really happened to Niamh. There are some truly dark secrets lurking in the past and to be fair, none of these characters are particularly likeable but boy, is this story a gripping one! The prologue alone is a fantastic attention grabber. We know someone is murdered but we don’t know who, why or who did it. With a dual time frame and multiple points-of-view, the truth about the Temple family is slowly revealed and it’s pretty ugly and shocking.

Fallen Angel is such a compelling story with plenty of twists and I had no idea where it was going to end up. Brilliantly written, it digs deep into the psychology of these intriguing, complex and multi-layered characters while all the while teasing the reader with an impending sense of doom. Part psychological thriller, part family drama, it had me hooked from start to finish, trying to pick up little clues along the way, becoming completely immersed.

This is my first introduction to Chris Brookmyre but I have a feeling it won’t be my last. This is an author quite obviously capable of fantastic storytelling and I must have been living in a cave to have never heard of him before. I have no doubt Fallen Angel will appeal to both longstanding fans and people like me who are new to this author. Thoroughly enjoyed this and look forward to more!
2,285 reviews33 followers
October 19, 2022

In some ways this is a slightly different approach for Brookmyre, but in other ways it very much has his fingerprints all over it. A slightly shorter novel by his usual standards, which proves to be a positive, as it seems to tighten and sharpen up the angle and the clock appears to tick all the louder towards the end with that dramatic climax.

It’s funny but as soon as the character Ivy/Sylvie is described I couldn’t get the image of the interim British PM Truss out of my head, which is a shame. This reminds me of some other great books set in the lovely summer heat of the Mediterranean, the likes of Herman Koch’s “Summer House With Swimming Pool” and Helen Walsh’s “The Lemon Grove”.

“Fallen Angel” is one of those books, which you really struggle to put down, the action is charged from the start and its very clever with its twists, though I’d say like many David Mamet films this did maybe go a twist too far, and probably got just a little too silly and far-fetched by the end, but no doubt about it this was a hugely thrilling and entertaining read.
Profile Image for wik.
276 reviews15 followers
June 24, 2021
"Retrospekcja" jest pierwszą książką Chrisa Brookmyre'a po jaką sięgnęłam. Zazwyczaj nie czytuję kryminałow, ale po zapoznaniu się z wysokimi opiniami o autorze oraz opisem książki uznałam, że z wielką chęcią sięgnę po ten tytuł.
Historia skupia się na niewyjaśnionej sprawie w kwestii śmierci członka rodziny Temple. Zbiegiem okoliczności główna bohaterka spędza z nimi czas na wakacjach, na które zgłosiła się jako niania starych znajomych Temple'ów. Od samego początku widać, że rodzina ma sporo do ukrycia a w okół nich unosi się nutka tajemnicy, którą nie sposób zignorować. Amanda spędzi czas na zapoznaniu się z tak naprawdę starym i zakończonym już śledztwem w celu poszukiwania nowych dowodów.
Tym co najbardziej spodobało mi się w książce były wydarzenia dziejąca się na dwóch liniach czasowych. Jednocześnie obserwowaliśmy zmagania Amandy z odkrywaniem tajemnic oraz mieliśmy porównanie z tym jak to rzeczywiście wyglądało podczas zbrodni. Autor powoli przedstawiał nam coraz to nowsze wydarzenia i z każdym byłam coraz bardziej zszokowana. Wielu z nich ani trochę się nie spodziewałam. Mimo tego że jest to kryminał książka napisana jest przyjemnym językiem i czytało mi się ją bardzo szybko. Nie jestem fanką kryminałów ale tę książkę naprawdę polubiłam i jestem pewna, że jeszcze kiedyś sięgnę po coś tego autora.
Profile Image for Ray.
588 reviews110 followers
December 21, 2020
Family secrets lie at the heart of this book.

A family gathers to mourn the passing of the paterfamilias at their holiday home in Portugal. The occasion is heavy with the echoes of an earlier holiday, where a toddler goes missing. The seemingly happy family is riven with guilt, secrets and lies - boiling over into murder

A real page turner as ever from Brookmyre, devoured in a day. Some jarring plot twists and a cameo from an old favourite - Jack Parlabane. Well worth a read

Profile Image for Meggy Chocolate'n'Waffles.
524 reviews99 followers
April 25, 2019

I am honored to be part of the blog tour for Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre on publication day with my other lovely blogger friends.

Also, I am a tiny teeny bit excited because it discussing a book from an author you admire so much is just the best! Excuse the fangirlism. One is allowed to yell their love for a book, right?

I would like to thank Little Brown UK for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. Special thanks to Caolinn and Grace!

Some names are go-to authors and your fingers doesn’t need your brain to accept to review a book. When I received an email asking me if I was interested in reading Chris Brookmyre’s latest novel, I almost laughed. Do you really need to ask???? We are talking about the man who had my head explode over Black Widow! (you can read my review here, then buy it!) and had me fangirl when signing my book last year during Bloody Scotland. I love many authors and enjoy an illegal amount of books, but few people can really shake my brain and emotions the way Mr Brookmyre does. So, OF COURSE I wanted to get my hands on a copy of what could only be another riveting read. No, I needed it.

Anticipation created expectations. Expectations lead to bitten nails. Bitten nails don’t help you reading with your Kindle. Your Kindle gets the sweat, the shakes, the gripping hand (if my Paperwhite was a person, it would have died from strangulation a million times during this read as I held to it for dear life).

At first, I found the title Fallen Angel to be a slightly curious choice. Many ideas floated around about its meaning – would I be met with a story about redemption? Was there a more literal sense to it? Aren’t we all fallen angels at some point in our life? As you never, ever, never know where Chris Brookmyre is going to take you, the possibilities are endless so I couldn’t blame my little grey cells to go all crazy.

I remember not even reading the blurb before deciding to read the book. I apologize to the person who wrote it. It’s great, it really sells the book, but all I could think of was “another Brookmyre storm!!!!” Sorry!

Back to the novel. Do you like your books enigmatic, challenging, and utterly absorbing? Because the prologue of Fallen Angel immediately sets the tone. Like a snake sneakily wrapping itself around you, the cold and effective words made me shiver both with trepidation and excitation. This feeling never left me, even after meeting the cast of characters I would be following under the Portuguese sun. Cold, yes, that is the word I would use to describe everything about the Temple family. No amount of UVA and UVB can burn this flesh!

Family and holiday. Two words we should stop associating for our own sake! The author proves it with a resplendent wicked masterpiece.

Two parts, multiple narrators, two timelines, and a lifetime of secrets, personal feelings bottled up, and dark corners left to gather dust: the promise of a hell of a book!

What do you mean, “We want to know more about the book, stop fangirling?” I can’t process your request. When a book feels like lightning slicing you in half (in a very good way, if such thing is possible!) you need to shout about it, even if you are just rattling on and on about how good it is. I will give you evidence of what I am saying. Actually, I already did. And if reading truly is your thing, you don’t mind a bit of suspense, do you?

We first meet Ivy, a woman my chosen word seems to fit like a glove. Cold. But clearly, there is more to her than meets the eyes and I was captivated by this character. I won’t hide that Ivy was my favourite and I couldn’t wait to remove her layers one by one to discover more and more about her! Except the author doesn’t make it so easy. Soon, I met the Temple family. A big ball of personalities. Do you remember those spider things on playgrounds on which we can climb on? Well, as soon as I learned I was embarking on a family holiday with the Temple, it felt as if my feet was reaching the first rope on this spider, and the narrative took me on an trip to the top. The rope felt either fragile or strong as steel, smooth at times and painful at others.

Stuck in a set of three villas in a small village in Portugal, the whole family reunites after the death of the father. His shadow can be felt on the place at all times, through quotes inserted in the book, and many other details which left me unsettled and crept out!

The Temple share the villas with a man called Vinnie, whose wife, toddler, and young nanny Amanda, arrive around the same time, ready to enjoy some down time. Well. Don’t we always say we need a holiday to recover from our holiday? In their case, it has never been truer!

This little secluded world was the setting of a tragedy, the death of little Niamh, sixteen years ago, and I couldn’t for the life of me understand why they would decide to come back. Even a tribute to the man who had created this family shouldn’t have been enough for them to set foot there again! But hey, we all do weird things… And the Temple family is no exception. Underneath the picture perfect that mother Celia tries to maintain, old cracks left unattended start spreading, opening a gap from which no one can hide. Gathered in one place with no shades to hide under, suspicions are bound to surface...

My favorite thing in the world is to dissect humans and their behavior. I am the crazy girl who sits for hours in the lounge of an airport to observe people and try to uncover what they hide under their sunglasses, loads of bags, tabloids, and plane tickets. Chris Brookmyre has a unique and spectacular way of showing what hides beneath the water. I don’t need airports when I have his books. All families have issues, but this one is marked by the unspeakable, by a shocking and tremendously dark wound fed by each of its member. Yes, there is a big secret. Yes, there is a big bad guy. But everyone is to blame. For talking. For not talking. For simply being. Wow. It takes a professional mind to write about such deep, meaningful family dysfunctionalities while injecting the perfect dose of intrigue to both get the reader to connect and care, but also to have them taste and enjoy the thrill of impending doom.

Fallen Angel is a complex tale of what family means. It grabs you with its multi-layered characters and the ominous cloud hovering over a little corner of paradise hiding hell. Chris Brookmyre’s writing is sophisticated without ever feeling heavy. It is candy melting on your tongue, leaving the bittersweet taste only the best of psychological thrillers can offer.

Chris Brookmyre does it again. I enjoyed Fallen Angel so much I have been banned from talking about it to my friends because they can't take it anymore! 😂
Profile Image for David Harris.
914 reviews32 followers
April 25, 2019
I'm grateful to the publisher for a free advance e-copy of this book via Netgalley.

I always enjoy Brookmyre's books, because - rather than despite! - never being quite sure what to expect. With a long running base of crime, investigated for example by the redoubtable journalist Jack Parlabane (who took a bit of a break but is now back) and by Jasmine Sharp (I hope one day they will meet) Brookmyre also branches out into SF (Pandemonium, Places in the Darkness) and fantasy (Bedlam). In Fallen Angel, mostly a standalone (but with a couple of hooks into his wider universe) he has I think done something different again.

This book is essentially a dissection of an ill-functioning family, the Temples, told across two timelines (2002 and 2018) and from multiple characters' point of view: mainly in the third person, following different characters, but in first person for Amanda, a Canadian au pair flung into the maelstrom in the later timeline. Amanda, perhaps, comes closest to an investigator figure being a You-Tuber and aspirant journalist but this book doesn't really have a Parlabane or Sharp equivalent, until close to the end, rather than following an enquiry we're really just watching events unravel (and how!)

In 2018, the Temples have come together at their villa in Portugal to commemorate the life of patriarch Max, recently deceased. Max was something of a celebrity both as a controversialist - an academic psychologist, who in later life had taken to debunking conspiracy theories - and because of a tragedy suffered by the family, involving a young child, which is explored in the 2002 timeline but whose effects linger. Ironically this tragedy - about which I won't say much because Brookmyre reveals the details gradually, layer by layer - itself becomes the subject of conspiracy theories (perhaps an element of payback?) and the unravelling of events via Amanda's viewpoint in 2018 itself relies more than a little on those theories and the information (including red herrings) gathered by online enthusiasts.

To UK readers, the location - Portugal - and the nature of the events in 2002 will inevitably suggest the tragedy that befell the McCanns, especially given the bizarre theories and speculation which built up around that. Bookmyre is at some pains to distance his story from this: he makes clear he is not writing, however obliquely, about the McCanns, both through the standard disclaimer and, more pointedly, by referring to their tragedy, in his imagined universe, when it happens some years later. Nevertheless, the link made, we can't help but compare the mythmaking and intrusion suffered by that family with those that afflict the Temples here.

It gives that part of the story a bitter taste. The events of 2002 have - it's clear - lefts scars. Ivy, who we meet at the start of the book in the 2018 timeline, has been hardened and has obvious "issues". In fact we eventually learn that she has actually changed her name - ostensibly this is because her work, in a reputation management firm, requires that she not attract attention herself but perhaps in reality there is more to it than that.

Gradually, teasingly, Brookmyre explores his characters - the formidable matriarch Celia, a former actress who manipulates and dominates her unfortunate children, Max himself, who might be gone by 2018 but who casts a long (and far from benevolent) shadow (he seems to have put his psychology skills and understanding of conspiracies to work in controlling his own family), their neighbours, Vince and Laurie (in 2002 - by 2018 he's with Kirsten) and Amanda, who insists that with two dads, she doesn't miss a mother because 'what you're never had, you never miss'. With other Temple children, and some grandkids plus spouses, partners and hangers-on in both timelines there are a lot of people to get one's head round (especially given that the two narratives mean some have changed a lot). However Brookmyre makes them all real - there are no cardboard cutouts here - and all these lives weave together to make a complex, believable (and sometimes funny) web. The book is also sharply observed. For example, here's creepy Vince pondering the teenage Temple daughter: 'He remembered how she had developed through her early teens. he had watched her blossom...' or there's Ivy, taking advantage of a friend: '...she knows he'll help right now too. He's a good person. Good people want to help you. It's why they get hurt by people like her.' (That last quote encapsulates Ivy so well - hardened, ruthless in business, but regretful - elsewhere she ruefully observes that good people need to be protected from her.)

You could get hung up about what genre this book is, but really there's little point - as I said, for much of the story nobody is investigating anything so I'd hesitate to call it "crime" and besides, the incident that is ostensibly at the centre of focus is elusive, and it's unclear whether a crime was committed. The focus on family dynamics is however fascinating and the book doesn't pull its punches on the hurt and derangement that can exist behind closed doors, more so when there's a determination to present an image of ideal lives, and to protect that image.

A gripping novel, with a real twist of darkness to it and an excellent addition to anyone's shelf of Brookmyre.
Profile Image for Beverley.
370 reviews36 followers
April 23, 2019

Chris Brookmyre is one of those writers who has been on my radar for a while, who I have seen on various panels at book festivals but whose books I have never read. Until now. Fallen Angel was my first Chris Brookmyre novel and I don’t think it’ll be my last. It is brilliantly written and plotted with well drawn characters and an intriguing premise.

A dual timeline and multi-person narrative (two of my favourite things) combine to unveil a multi-layered story. Set in both 2002 and in 2018 it features the Temple family who own villas in The Algarve, Portugal. In 2002, a small child, Niamh, died, an event which caused Ivy, her mother to become estranged from her family. In the present day, the family have reunited at their villas to mourn the death of the patriarch of the Temple clan, Max. This is the first time Ivy has spent time with her family in 16 years and the tension and fraught relationships are observed by Amanda, a Canadian teenager who is acting as a nanny to the family who own the neighbouring villa.

Amanda is perfectly placed to observe what is going on. She is a vlogger with an interest in conspiracy theories and as Max famously debunked these myths she is a huge fan of his. She also knows that the Temple family themselves are subject to a conspiracy theory or two relating to Niamh, so sets out trying to work out what really happened all those years ago.

The dual timeline and multi-person narrative is brilliantly executed especially when it comes to the contrast between the 2002 and 2018 Temple family. There is something rotten within this family and it is often what is unsaid that is most important. Layers of intrigue, deception and the unveiling of secrets propel the story forward and make this a page turner of a novel.

This is an excellent read which I was unable to put down. Yes, it is a mystery; somebody dies on the very first page after all, but more than that it is a delicious study of family, power and secrets. The remote setting of three villas in the searing summer heat is the perfect backdrop to meet the Temple family in all of their messed up glory. Max is a celebrated and famous Professor, his wife, Celia a former actress who, in her day was a pin up. Narcissitic, emotionally abusive and unkind are just some of the words I can use to describe this couple. Celia is perpetually disappointed in her offspring; for marrying badly, getting pregnant young, for not having a good enough job and she doesn’t do a great deal to hide it. They are wealthy, snobbish and really easy to dislike – but great fun to read about.

Whilst I loved trying to work out the mystery, I really loved the psychological drama of the book. It is cleverly constructed with just enough hinted at to set you in the right direction before the rug is pulled out from under you. It makes it incredibly difficult to review though because if I tell you this, you’ll know THAT and you need to discover THAT for yourself. What I will tell you, is that it is brilliant and a perfect book to escape into. I highly recommend it if clever psychological thrillers with great characterisation and insightful writing is your thing.
Profile Image for Kirsten.
955 reviews2 followers
July 26, 2022
Eigentlich hätte sich Amanda ihren Job als Babysitterin bei einem erfolgreichen Londoner Anwalt anders vorgestellt. Mehr Freizeit, mehr Glamour, vielleicht auch mehr Geld und vor allem weniger Langeweile. Zumindest die Langeweile wird weniger, als sie mit ihren Arbeitgebern nach Portugal fliegt. Denn die Familie der Nachbarn ist um einiges interessanter, als ihre eigene: es gibt eine erfolgreiche Schauspielerin, einen nicht weniger erfolgreichen, aber leider toten Professor, ein schwarzes Schaf in der Familie, ein totes Baby und einen vertuschten Skandal.

Meine Meinung

Kann ein Krimi von Chris Brookmyre ohne Jack Parlabane und ohne seinen besonderen Humor funktionieren? Für mich gehören diese Dinge einfach zusammen und deshalb war ich gespannt, wie mir Fallen Angel gefallen würde. Dass es bei den Temples mehr gibt, als die scheinbar glückliche Familie die sie vorgibt zu sein, war mir von Anfang an klar. Alles andere wäre zu platt gewesen.

Trotzdem war ich Anfangs ein bisschen enttäuscht. Die eiskalte Karrierefrau, die sich nur widerwillig zur Trauerfeier begibt und dorrt hauptsächlich auf Amanda herumhackt, das war mir fast zu viel Klischee. Aber dann hat die Geschichte an Fahrt aufgenommen. Der Tote vom Anfang hat einen Namen bekommen, die Handlung macht einen Ausflug in die Vergangenheit und langsam kommen alle dunklen Geheimnisse ans Licht.

Wie immer bei einem Krimi von Chris Brookmyre sollte man sich mit den Meinungen über die Personen nicht zu früh festlegen. Es gab mehr als eine Überraschung. Aber trotzdem: für mich hat Fallen Angel nur bedingt funktioniert.
Profile Image for Bruce Hatton.
473 reviews70 followers
May 21, 2019
It’s always exciting to begin the latest novel by one of my favourite authors and, once again, Chris Brookmyre delivers the goods big-time.
In this novel he focuses his laser-like scorn and acerbic wit on topics as diverse as public relations, tabloid journalism, conspiracy theories and childrearing. It centres around the wealthy and highly disfunctional Temple family, reuniting at their Algarve villas following the death of their patriarch, Max; a psychology professor who gained celebrity status as a debunker of conspiracy theories, much to the jealous chagrin of his wife, Celia, a former actress.
Sixteen years previously, Max and Celia’s baby granddaughter Niamh died while the family were on holiday at their villas; an incident which has fractured the family ever since. The narration alternates between 2002 and 2018; much of the latter being told by Amanda, a young Canadian nanny to the Temples’ old friend Vince Reid and his new trophy wife, Kirsten. As matters begin to escalate, Amanda finds herself very much in the role of “innocent abroad”. The pace of the novel is gentler than we normally get from Chris Brookmyre and there is slightly less of his trademark sense of humour; however that suits the bleak narratives perfectly. As, gradually, more of the dark, dirty secrets of the Temple clan are revealed, the tension builds to an almost unbearable level and the final revelation comes as a totally unexpected hammer-blow.
Indisputably a five-star novel. I just wish I could award it six.
Profile Image for BookBunnyBear.
163 reviews31 followers
June 22, 2021
Niesamowicie zagmatwana i zagadkowa historia błędów z przeszłości. Co stanie się po niezwykłym odkryciu prawdy? Kto w tej historii tak naprawdę kłamię a kto jest jest ofiarą?

Dzisiaj przychodzę do was z książką która wzbudzała we mnie mieszane emocje prze większość czasu, kiedy ją czytałam. Zapowiedź powieści prezentowała się naprawdę świetnie, aczkolwiek początek i wejście do sprawy było już nie lada wyzwaniem. Mamy tutaj wiele perspektyw i przejścia w czasie. Co prawda są one wyraźnie opisane i raczej nie powinniśmy mieć problemu z rozpoznaniem terenu, a jednak czasami dalej idzie się zgubić. Historia spokojna a jednocześnie miejscami przytłaczająca i przepełniona informacjami. Są tam takie momenty w których nie wiedziałam gdzie zawiesić oko i musiałam wracać do tekstu bo byłam tak oszołomiona tym co przeczytałam.

Pomijając te drobne rzeczy to książka byłą naprawdę niesamowicie absorbująca i ciekawa w odbiorze. Pochłaniałam ją częściami i do samego końca nie byłam przygotowana na odkrycie prawdy. Zresztą samego końca nie byłam w stanie odgadnąć aż do momentu w którym karty zostały rzucone na stół, a to zdarza mi się raczej rzadko.

Bohaterowie są realistyczni i plastyczni. Nie mogę przyczepić się do sztuczności wydarzeń, jedynie do moje irytacji wywołanej zachowaniem niektórych postaci. Ja po prostu nie lubię niektórych charakterów i kiedy tylko jakiś bohater wykaże jakąkolwiek cechę z mojej czarnej listy to ma ode mnie czerwoną flagę na początek.

Styl pisania wpadł w moje gusta. Nie powiedziałabym, ze był to mój ulubiony, ponieważ było sporo elementów naukowych i wiele opisów, aczkolwiek nie miałam problemu z czytaniem. Dosłownie pochłonęłam tę książkę więc to już coś o niej świadczy.

Generalnie jeżeli lubicie zamieszane sprawy i zagmatwane akcje z wieloma niewiadomymi to ta książka jest właśnie dla was. Poznajcie historię i mroczne tajemnice rodziny w której miłość jest tak właściwie tylko na pokaz. Pamiętajcie jedno, nie dajcie się zwieść pozorom!
Profile Image for Olga.
468 reviews
April 18, 2019
Chris Brookmyre can always be relied on to deliver a gripping read, weather it's a thriller or a historical mystery, and Fallen Angel is no exception. It is quite complex psychological family drama, told from multiple POVs and in two different timelines. As always, the characters are interesting and realistic and there are plenty of twists as well as some shocking moments. I didn't find the story as captivating and original as some of his others, although the interwoven thread about conspiracy theories was fascinating.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown publishers for the ARC.
Profile Image for Conor.
148 reviews
August 16, 2020
Disappointing given how good some of his previous works have been
Profile Image for Pat Simpson.
720 reviews7 followers
April 26, 2019
This book is told in two time settings, 2018 and 2002. The story is mainly about the Temple family. Max Temple, a famous scientist, his wife Celia, who was a popular actress who no one remembers now, and their children. Most of the book is set in Portugal and centres around the holiday villas which are owned by them. Vince has always rented one of their adjoining villas and returns every year to holiday with them. In 2002 he was married to Laurie, but he has remarried since her death to Kirsten and they have a baby. When Max dies in 2018 the family all return to the villa to scatter his ashes. Vince, Kirsten, the baby and Amanda, their nanny, are also travelling to the villa. We discover that in 2002 a suspicious death occurred in the Temple family whilst they were at the villa and this has never been resolved. This, we learn, affected them all in different ways and they all have their own secrets hidden away. This book was a little slow to get going but I enjoyed all the ccmplica5edb relationships, secrets, jealousy and blackmail. Just pleased they weren’t my dysfunctional family! A perfect holiday read.
Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown book group for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.
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