Fallen Angel is the third book in the DS (now acting DI) Gaby Darin series. While it is not necessary to have read the first two books in this series, I think it would have helped immensely if I had. Although I did grok much of the backstory via the author dropping in some details here and there. Even with those details, it took awhile to get the feel of the room, as it were.
Acting DI Darin is assigned to the North Wales office, and since there isn’t a lot going on as the story opens, Darin Goes through several cold cases, selecting a few to review for possible followup. One of her staff, DS Owen Bates, ifs ahead of her, and presents to her the case from 25 years earlier: the death of Angelica Brook, and 18 year old who seemed to have simply vanished from her room one night only to be found dead later, dying of hypothermia, her body staged. Angelica also happens to have been the sister of Bates’ wife.
This is my first small quibble: involving family members in an investigation of this sort is a no-no, because they’re emotionally involved and that could be a bonanza for a defense attorney. Since this is a sideways adjacent kind of situation, I let it go. The team reopens the case and starts running down all the clues and the scant evidence from that case – but now, of course, there is a lot more information available, better testing, and so on. Still, nothing seems to be coming to fruition for the team.
While this is going on, there’s also the story of a local family, the Eustaces. A young woman and her husband take care of her mother who has dementia. One night, their house explodes in what looks to be a terrible accident. But things are definitely not what they seem.
I won’t go further than that, as even though the plot is very complicated. revealing more would take some of the fun of unraveling the clues and teasing out the murderer(s). I will say that the internal thought of Di Darin annoyed me from time to time, as she seemed, to me, to be spending an awful lot of time thinking about two men in her orbit: what they thought of her, and if she would sleep with them.
The ending wrapped up a tad too neatly, but it did come together nicely.
Other than these minor things and Darin making moonfaces at some guys, it was a good read, and while I didn’t get the exact relations between some people and families at the end, I did pick out the murderer(s).
Overall: 3.5 stars out of five, rounded down to 3 for the reasons above. Sitting inside while the snow flies and reading this wouldn’t be a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Thanks to HQ Digital and NetGalley for the reading copy.