The Angel’s Game


By Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Short Take:

Take note: This book is a horror story/ghost tale/journey into madness. Do not expect the dreaminess/romance/occasional humor of Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind. You won’t find it here. So get over that and jump into this compelling and consumming spine-tingler.

Why?

Much has been made of the relationship between this book and Zafon’s hugely popular earlier novel. This purported prequel actually has virtually nothing to do Shadow. Yes, it is set in Barcelona and, yes, the Cemetary of Forgotten Books makes an appearance, but that’s about it. There’s more of Edgar Allen Poe or James’ The Turn of the Screw in this scary nightmare (in a good sense) of a book.

Moody and masterful, this novel is solid gold gothic fare — all shivers and shadows. Reality is questioned, sanity doubted, and expectations raised only to be shattered. Get lost in this book and you’ll want to leave a light burning at night — at least for a few days. That’s okay, the world of The Angel’s Game is worth an extra kilowatt.

A Little Plot:

Poor and orphaned, David Martin dreams of being a writer. Well-received stories at a newspaper lead to a demanding position cranking out highly lurid and successful novels under a pen name for his money-obsessed publishers. He longs for fame under his own name but is held artistically captive by his contract.

Then along comes the mysterious publisher Andreas Corelli who offers Martin a chance to write a world-changing book, along with a substantial cash payment. Plus, he’ll make that pesky other contract go away. It’s a proposal Martin finds irresistable.

That’s when the deaths, mysteries, and dangers really start to pile on. And never let up.

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