What it comes down to with this book is that I just had a great time while reading it. I really feel like Janice Hallett is getting better with every book. She had the puzzle element down in the first book but I didn’t care about the characters or connect emotionally with the story. In her second book, The Twyford Code, I connected hard with the characters thanks to some clever twistiness and she still had the nice puzzle element, even leveled up a little. With this one she had the puzzle (leveled up again, I think), she had the characters, and for the first time the stakes were INTENSE rather than personal like in her first two books.
If you like a mystery, if you like puzzles, and mixed media storytelling with intense stakes (while still maintaining the mystery atmosphere, a opposed to a thriller one), read no further in this review and just go pick up the book. Knowing as little as possible is the best way to go in.
If you’re still here, I’m not gonna say you made the wrong decision, but . . . just kidding. Maybe you need more info. The premise here is that an investigative journalist is writing a book about an infamous cult murder/suicide that took place about eighteen years before. The Alperton Angels, as the cult members were called, believed that a specific baby was the Antichrist and were getting ready to sacrifice said baby when a police raid interrupted them. All of the cult members killed themselves, and the baby was taken into custody. But now in present day, the baby is eighteen years old and available to interview, if it can be found. Our journalist MC, Amanda, is determined to find the baby and break open the Alperton Angels case in a new way, making a name for herself.
The story is told in fragments of mixed media, as we are told we’re reading Amanda’s files after the fact. We have emails, journal entries, transcripts, screenplays, text messages, etc. I love this format when done well, as it was here. And the format allowed Hallett to get crafty hiding her clues in plain sight, and also allowing her to properly wallop you, should you so desire, with several twists (but the clues are there to figure out for yourself if you want to, and if you are a less passive reader than I am; I just like stories to happen to me!).
Highly recommend this one!
[4.5 stars, rounded up]