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Blood of Angels

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Welcome to the world of Michael Marshall where a female FBI agent and her partner face a secret brotherhood of serial killers born and bred to commit the most violent acts known to man.


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Welcome to the world of Michael Marshall where a female FBI agent and her partner face a secret brotherhood of serial killers born and bred to commit the most violent acts known to man.

30 review for Blood of Angels

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rob Twinem

    "The crucial thing about Michael Marshall is that he is enormously readable....Once you have started one of his books you won't want to stop" (The Independent uk) His books are much more than mere thrillers and his characterization creates memorable participants in stories that have a certain gothic/horror feel similar to the Charlie Parker series created by the amazing John Connolly. Connolly in his books has the shadowy figure of "The Collector" and Marshall has created in this trilogy (The S "The crucial thing about Michael Marshall is that he is enormously readable....Once you have started one of his books you won't want to stop" (The Independent uk) His books are much more than mere thrillers and his characterization creates memorable participants in stories that have a certain gothic/horror feel similar to the Charlie Parker series created by the amazing John Connolly. Connolly in his books has the shadowy figure of "The Collector" and Marshall has created in this trilogy (The Straw Men, The Lonely Dead and Blood of Angels) a group known as the Straw Men who operate outside the conventional rules of society guided in their endeavours by a serial killer known as The Upright Man...."He's a serial killer. He also abducts people for others to murder for kicks. He has a theory that mankind was infected by a virus tens of thousands of years ago. It made us more sociable, enabled modern society to coalesce by obscuring some or our natural enmity towards our fellow men. We started living closer together, began farming, developed the modern world. They don't like it. They want the planet back the way it was."   Raged against this attempt by a shadowy group to spread fear, confusion and death amongst an unsuspecting populace is an eclectic group of characters; Ward Hopkins ex CIA agent recovering from the shock and death of his parents and their association with The Straw Men; John Zant an ex LA homicide detective with a personal interest in the capture of The Upright Man who he believes was responsible for the death of his only daughter Karen; Nina Baynam discredited FBI agent believing totally in both the existence of The Straw Men and their murderous agenda; Paul Hopkins, brother to Ward and identified as the notorious serial killer The Upright Man.   What is so readable about Blood of Angels is that even the minor characters we meet play an important role in the unfolding drama and they all contribute to the pulsating tension that radiates from page one; James Kyle/Jim Westlake is a killer in retirement in Key West Florida until his services are required by The Straw Men one last time; Lee h Hudek his friends Grant and Sleepy Pete all wealthy middleclass kids dealing drugs until they encounter The Upright Man, a meeting that will alter their lives irrevocably......there is no going back!   The search is on for Ward's brother The Upright Man who has escaped from a secure institution. Has he been broken out for  a reason? Have The Straw Men got a hidden agenda that will ultimately mean the destruction of society as we know and love. Ward, Nina and John are on the case and in the very capable hands of Michael Marshall we are treated to an extraordinary reading experience. The UK paperback version of this story is some 540 pages but I can honestly say I devoured this story in some 3 reading sessions. It still puzzles me that Michael Marshall, although a popular author, has never received the acclaim and credit he so deserves.....so, dear reader of my review, do yourself a favour and read all 3 books in this well researched, intelligent, dark and above all well written tale. A pleasure to read and a pleasure to recommend 5+++++ stars!  

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nathalie

    This is the 3rd (and final?) book in the trilogy that started with "The Straw Men", and while I had high hopes for it after not having liked "The Upright Man", I have to say that I was disappointed. Yet again the author takes 3 seemingly unconnected storylines and brings them together into a conspiracy theory which, this time, manages to involve, of course, September 11. I'm always leary of any book that contains the stupid theory that September 11 wasn't exactly was it was, and I have to admit t This is the 3rd (and final?) book in the trilogy that started with "The Straw Men", and while I had high hopes for it after not having liked "The Upright Man", I have to say that I was disappointed. Yet again the author takes 3 seemingly unconnected storylines and brings them together into a conspiracy theory which, this time, manages to involve, of course, September 11. I'm always leary of any book that contains the stupid theory that September 11 wasn't exactly was it was, and I have to admit that as soon as I read this bit in this book, I totally disconnected from the story(which, by the way, continues to harp on the very ancient non-civilization of The Straw Men and the fact that they might have caused the annihilation of every great civilization in our past history, and that the Church and the Masons, amongst others, are the only organizations standing in their way.) This book, in my view, would have been much better if it had focused on the story of Jim/John, the crazy old serial killer. Mixing the serial killers and the Straw Men bit is too far-fetched, like 2 types of books rolled into one by incongruous links, even though the Straw Men are serial killers themselves, although on a larger, terrorist scale. Since they've managed to get the more run-of-the-mill serial killers to be their go-getters and their errand (and "delivery") boys, they've created their own society, which is, supposedly, what they're against in the first place. They also all seem to live together in rich enclaves while enslaving the mere "mortals" around them into doing their bidding, whether they realize it or not. This makes no sense whatsoever in the context of the conspiracy being described here. What is truly horrifying is the internal struggle of Jim/John as he tries to resist the killer impulses in him, as he observes how easy it would be for someone to snatch kids out of their own backyards, supermarket parking lot... how easy it is for parents not to know what is happening in their teens' lives just because they have decided to trust that their kids are good kids and that bad things only happen to someone else. This is the true horror: the banal suddenly becoming horror and the fact that it can befall any of us, at any instant.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sam Whitehouse

    Michael Marshall is a great writer. His plots are always unique and unpredictable and complex. This trilogy has turned the serial killer thriller on it's head, and Marshall finishes it on a great note. It could have been better, but it could have been worse. The writing is tight, as is the plot. It gets a little silly at times with the history of the Straw Men, but other than that this is a top-notch crime thriller with plenty of action and some quality writing. Highly recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Briggs

    Once upon a time, Michael Marshall Smith was a fresh, exciting voice in the genres of the fantastic. He announced his arrival with "Only Forward," an electrifying debut that spiked its science fiction thrills with a dash of Barkerish horror and Pythonesque humor. His follow-up, "Spares," wasn't too shabby either, and he racked up a handful of award-winning short stories. Then he shaved off the end of his name and took a dive into the lucrative mediocrity of the serial killer novel. His first fora Once upon a time, Michael Marshall Smith was a fresh, exciting voice in the genres of the fantastic. He announced his arrival with "Only Forward," an electrifying debut that spiked its science fiction thrills with a dash of Barkerish horror and Pythonesque humor. His follow-up, "Spares," wasn't too shabby either, and he racked up a handful of award-winning short stories. Then he shaved off the end of his name and took a dive into the lucrative mediocrity of the serial killer novel. His first foray, "The Straw Men," isn't bad actually -- a step up from the standard Dean Koontz drivel. That was followed by "The Upright Man," a sequel of diminishing returns. And "Blood of Angels" makes a trilogy, a conclusion (at least as far as I'm concerned) so haphazardly constructed that I'm surprised the book didn't crumble apart in my hands as I turned the pages. Marshall's loose coalition of current and former law enforcement officials and conspiracy nuts continues to battle an underground cabal of serial killers that has orchestrated all of human history (coz if there's one thing we all know about the psycho killer it's that he's a team player). At this point, the trilogy's central idea, never that strong to begin with, feels played out, whatever creative juice it had long since dried up. "Blood of Angels" doesn't even qualify as a good junk food read. It feels exhausted and listless, an empty exercise, a thriller sans thrills. A subplot concerning teenage whiteboy suburban drug dealers serves only to further gum up an already logy narrative. In addition to the lackluster storytelling, there are numerous flubs probably attributable to the author being British and the editor not paying attention: Doritos and Fritos are referred to as "potato" chips. El Lay kids sling London slang. All weapons are labeled generic "guns." Ostensibly professional federal agents carry said "guns" in their pockets instead of securely fastened in a holster where any joker couldn't snatch them away. A character in the back of a cop car casually tosses stuff into the front seat. I could be accused of nitpicking, but it's those kind of little details that contribute to a sense of realism, to the reader's suspension of disbelief, and this book needs all of that it can get. As "Blood of Angels" meanders along to its weak-kneed whimper of a finish, it continues to pile up typos and lapses in logic. Marshall writes as if he's in a rush to finish and go do something more fun: "I oriented myself in relation to the body by from the direction of curve in the revealed sections of seven ribs." He and his editor obviously weren't much more interested in the project than I was.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kapil

    the only stupid to read this one before reading the other in straw man series .... so couldn't connect to characters.. still very nicely written.. exciting. ..!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    I felt this was a strong conclusion to The Straw Men series. After escaping from authorities, The Upright Man is on the loose. Ward Hopkins and his FBI agent girlfriend just want to remain isolated and avoid the problems of the world. Charles Monroe, Nina's boss, pulls Nina back into reality when he wants her to help solve a case where a man is found murdered with his hand cut off and the suspect is a woman. Nina reluctantly decides to return to work and what ensues is more murder and mayhem. Me I felt this was a strong conclusion to The Straw Men series. After escaping from authorities, The Upright Man is on the loose. Ward Hopkins and his FBI agent girlfriend just want to remain isolated and avoid the problems of the world. Charles Monroe, Nina's boss, pulls Nina back into reality when he wants her to help solve a case where a man is found murdered with his hand cut off and the suspect is a woman. Nina reluctantly decides to return to work and what ensues is more murder and mayhem. Meanwhile, Lee John Hudek is climbing his way up the ladder in the drug trade. He just isn't aware of the plans that the Straw Men's leader has in store for him on his upward journey. Finally, a 60 something year old man enjoys his life as a photographer but is tasked to complete an unthinkable act. He can't refuse though because The Upright Man knows the secrets of his past. Marshall once again manages to take 3 distinct story lines and merge them into one very readable novel. I noticed many reviewers grew tired of the series by the final installment. I liked it however. I thought the plot was solid and the character development was even better than in the prior 2 books. To be fair though, yes, this book is laced with conspiracy theories but I thought they were a unique spin on reality.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Duncan

    This is the third book in the Straw Men series and whilst not as good as the first, I found it better than the middle on 'The Lonely Dead'. Like the middle book this has some sections where two characters 'in the know' riff on about conspiracy theories and crazy ideas, leaving both the reader and in fact the main character not much the wiser, but much shorter in this book and not so fantastical. In fact the new story line of LA teenage small time drug dealers, showing how Straw man 'recruitment' This is the third book in the Straw Men series and whilst not as good as the first, I found it better than the middle on 'The Lonely Dead'. Like the middle book this has some sections where two characters 'in the know' riff on about conspiracy theories and crazy ideas, leaving both the reader and in fact the main character not much the wiser, but much shorter in this book and not so fantastical. In fact the new story line of LA teenage small time drug dealers, showing how Straw man 'recruitment' takes place, did for me clear up a lot of the crazier conspiracy part of book 1, ie how Paul seemingly managed to be present at all known atrocities in America. As a side note it's clear that this is written by a British author. I can't quite imagine a US author taking such a bleak look at the history of American serial killers and random killings. If you like you serial killer stories violent with a heap of conspiracy theory, then this series of three is clearly for you.

  8. 5 out of 5

    John

    Marshall's conclusion to the Staw Men is interesting and complex like to its two predeccesors, but its not as compelling as either. Marshall does a masterful job of continuing to weave the past and present histories of all the key players. He demands that you care for the welfare of one of the key charactures. That is the only part of the book that kept my interest. I didn't find the Straw Men's conspiratory narritive to be as stiring as it was in the previous two novels.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alix

    Finally got around to reading this last volume of the Straw Men trilogy. I remember loving the first book, but it should have stopped there. Both the following were weak. Sure, this was a page-turner, too, and well-enough written for the most part. But the main plot, oh, what a stretch. After three volumes, even the most fun conspiracy theories lose their luster.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tanvir Muntasim

    Slightly fizzled out conclusion to the trilogy, which peaked at the 2nd book and went downhill from there. Even then, the premise of a group of serial killers active for millennium is a novel one, and this apparently ludicrous premise is valiantly built on by Marshall's gift for creating genuinely creepy ambience inhabited by some seriously scary characters.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adam Light

    This was the final book in the Straw Men trilogy, and for me it was very good, but nowhere near as awesome as the first two. In fact, I found it rather anticlimactic. Overall, the series was impressive.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Neil Braim

    I loved each book in the set The Straw Men set of books from the first page of book one to last page of book three. In fact as it was so long since I read the first two I went back and reread them to reacquaint myself with what had happened. I read all three in sequence, and for me this is not the normal way, I usually like a book in-between. However the pull of the character's and the story hook you and you want to know what happens to each main actor. My only regret is I did not read the last bo I loved each book in the set The Straw Men set of books from the first page of book one to last page of book three. In fact as it was so long since I read the first two I went back and reread them to reacquaint myself with what had happened. I read all three in sequence, and for me this is not the normal way, I usually like a book in-between. However the pull of the character's and the story hook you and you want to know what happens to each main actor. My only regret is I did not read the last book sooner, but by reading the sequence you get a better sense of time so for me it was worth rereading. If you've not read any of the set your in for a treat, if you've read the other two you will not be disappointed. I'm looking forward to more by MM and I hope they are as good as this set.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Aera

    Didn't capture me at the beginning like other books. Felt it dragged at the start. A lot of stuff seemed meaningless even when I went back to read them. I am not sure if I missed some symbolism or what. The kid dying in a broom closet. I am not sure what the heck that was suppose to mean. That he was so unimportant that he should have a death of no importance. I don't really feel any like or dislike towards the kid, just extreme what the heck? His role was to be used? Out of all the narratives i Didn't capture me at the beginning like other books. Felt it dragged at the start. A lot of stuff seemed meaningless even when I went back to read them. I am not sure if I missed some symbolism or what. The kid dying in a broom closet. I am not sure what the heck that was suppose to mean. That he was so unimportant that he should have a death of no importance. I don't really feel any like or dislike towards the kid, just extreme what the heck? His role was to be used? Out of all the narratives in the book we spend a lot of time with him and his is the one where I thought he was going to be a major player. Instead we know that the media will blame him and not the upright man. That's it, his whole purpose. Why not just blame the Paul? Just seemed mehhhhhh...too loose ended.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The good new is: "Blood of Angels" is the best book in the Straw Men trilogy. The bad news is: It's not a lot better than the first two. I was really hoping it would save face. The main idea of the trilogy was interesting enough for me to want to keep reading, but overall, I feel a little cheated. There's a lot of great action and the last third is mostly brilliantly suspenseful. The problem is that almost nothing resonates. The final occurrences in the book are of epic proportions, as one might The good new is: "Blood of Angels" is the best book in the Straw Men trilogy. The bad news is: It's not a lot better than the first two. I was really hoping it would save face. The main idea of the trilogy was interesting enough for me to want to keep reading, but overall, I feel a little cheated. There's a lot of great action and the last third is mostly brilliantly suspenseful. The problem is that almost nothing resonates. The final occurrences in the book are of epic proportions, as one might expect from the final act of a trilogy, they're memorable, but as a whole nothing here compensates for the mediocrity.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    Michael Marshall Smith really did a job with this trilogy. I'm a little late to the party but I'm defintely glad I got here. Straw Men is still my favorite of the three but all are entertaining and have enough depth to be friendly for repeat reads. Great, complex characters and plots that really drive forward. The books drift back and forth between relatively mild content and gruesomely dark moments that will grab your attention. And I thought as a finale, this felt satisfying while also leaving Michael Marshall Smith​​ really did a job with this trilogy. I'm a little late to the party but I'm defintely glad I got here. Straw Men is still my favorite of the three but all are entertaining and have enough depth to be friendly for repeat reads. Great, complex characters and plots that really drive forward. The books drift back and forth between relatively mild content and gruesomely dark moments that will grab your attention. And I thought as a finale, this felt satisfying while also leaving just the tiniest possibility of more to come. I definitely need to read more of his work.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sharlene Almond

    A riveting read. You have a great psychological thriller, interwoven with a complex conspiracy theory. The array of characters all have an important part to play in the plot. The author goes in-depth into the psychology of the main characters, so you get a great sense of how their character's progress throughout the novel. Ideally, reading his previous novels to get a good sense of what is going (as this is a series). I highly recommend, as it kept me guessing until the end. The ending was not wha A riveting read. You have a great psychological thriller, interwoven with a complex conspiracy theory. The array of characters all have an important part to play in the plot. The author goes in-depth into the psychology of the main characters, so you get a great sense of how their character's progress throughout the novel. Ideally, reading his previous novels to get a good sense of what is going (as this is a series). I highly recommend, as it kept me guessing until the end. The ending was not what I expected, and was left open perhaps to another in the series.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Colette Willis

    I like my horror or thriller to have a vast, far-reaching ideology behind it, and the Straw Men books certainly deliver on that, with a shadowy conspiracy extending back thousands of years. This is nicely drip-fed throughout the pacy narrative, with character always to the forefront. By this stage the main players feel like old friends. Another fast, enjoyable read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I liked the first book in the series immensely, the second not so much, and while this one (as did the second one) was quite enjoyable up until the final chapters, it too devolved into what was for me quite ridiculous and beyond belief. The plot was very good and it moved along at a good pace, so it's a shame that the ending let it down (for me).

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gillian

    Intrigue, hoodlums, suspense. Can be confusing if you don't read it all at once - so many subplots waiting to comingle.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kas Keenan

    The Straw Men Trilogy finale... impressive, unsettling because the fiction is so believable!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    The cover says this is the "Exciting conclusion to the Straw Men trilogy!", but I'm pretty sure there are at least 3 more (according to Wikipedia). Which is fine by me! I'm loving this guy's writing. The second in the not-a-trilogy kind of went off the rails, but this book brought it back around. If this WERE the ending of the trilogy, that'd be fine, as it ended up nice and tidy. This is the first book in YEARS that kept me up well past my bedtime racing through to the end. It has excellent paci The cover says this is the "Exciting conclusion to the Straw Men trilogy!", but I'm pretty sure there are at least 3 more (according to Wikipedia). Which is fine by me! I'm loving this guy's writing. The second in the not-a-trilogy kind of went off the rails, but this book brought it back around. If this WERE the ending of the trilogy, that'd be fine, as it ended up nice and tidy. This is the first book in YEARS that kept me up well past my bedtime racing through to the end. It has excellent pacing! And excellent character development. I really liked James/Jim's story. My one nitpick is the Straw Men theory of them being here since man walked upright. Not so much the length of their existence, but the theory that the organizations created to combat them always end up (due to the passage of SO much time) forgetting their heroic purpose, degenerating in to greed and/or laziness. If that's so, then how come that didn't also happen to the Straw Men? I have the next one winging it's way to me via interlibrary loan. Can't wait!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I have a bad habit of getting songs stuck in my head when I see something that makes me think of them. Book titles are one of those triggers, and a lot of times the titles don't even need to be that close to make me think of the song. Most recently, it happened with Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation ("Illumination" by Rollins Band), and now it's happened again with Blood of Angels ("Blood of Eden" by Peter Gabriel). I also find it interesting that of the last eight books I've read, three of them ha I have a bad habit of getting songs stuck in my head when I see something that makes me think of them. Book titles are one of those triggers, and a lot of times the titles don't even need to be that close to make me think of the song. Most recently, it happened with Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation ("Illumination" by Rollins Band), and now it's happened again with Blood of Angels ("Blood of Eden" by Peter Gabriel). I also find it interesting that of the last eight books I've read, three of them have been set in some way in Key West, but that's a different sort of curiosity that has nothing to do with music. Blood of Angels is the last book in the Straw Man series, which are suspense novels by Michael Marshall (Smith), whom I've noted before as being a dark, nihilistic author with a strong understanding of human nature. This novel is no exception, as it winds up being a story with a negative outlook of people and plot (there are several moments of abject hopelessness throughout the story), but with some amazingly astute reflections on people. It's about the three main characters, Ward Hopkins, the brother of a serial killer, Nina Baynam, an FBI agent who has been following the case, and John Zandt, an officer who lost his daughter to one of the Straw Men, wrapping up their investigation into the killings. The story is tight and tense, and the more you read it, the more compelling it becomes. Of particular note in this book is the slow evolution -- or devolution, depending on how you see it -- of someone acclimating to a life of crime. There are two stories interwoven in the novel, both of which have to do with the main story from the entire trilogy, and one of them is about a young man named Lee Hudek who starts out as a small-town drug dealer and becomes one of the members of the Straw Men. It was a weird sort of story, since Lee was a sociopathic charmer who wasn't quite someone you despised, but also wasn't quite someone you rooted for, either. He reminded me a little of Todd from "Breaking Bad" in that respect. The thing is, the entire premise of the novel hinges on the acceptance of a league of serial killers who have been around for thousands of years. It's been hinted at and danced around in the first two novels (as near as I can remember; it's been about seven years since I last read a book in this series), but in Blood of Angels, we get the full backstory, speculative as it may be, and it goes back about 9,000 years, and its sole purpose is, to quote The Dark Knight, "to watch it burn." The basic idea is that the Straw Men saw culture developing around the world after the end of the last Ice Age and decided that they liked the world better before civilization came along, and the conspiracy since then (which, I should add, includes the creation of religion and the church solely as a means to fight back against the killers, even if the organization has since lost sight of that fact) has been a concerted effort to bring it back. It's a little silly and ridiculous and unbelievable, but luckily the story focuses so much on the plot that it becomes easy to overlook that silliness. But it does rear its head from time to time, and it always made me roll my eyes. At one point, someone new is brought into the fold after a string of events forces him to either join or go to jail, and when he accepts, his parents suddenly arrive and tell him how proud they are of him. Really? Really? The ending of the book was a little disappointing, too, given that Marshall has taken three books to build up not just this big conspiracy, but also this confrontation between Wade and his twin brother Paul, and then finishes the story without having progressed any further down either road. One would expect either story to be resolved, if not outright beaten, but no, we get to the end of the story where the principle characters survive, but nothing has been concluded. The Straw Men are still out there, and regarding Paul still being alive, all signs point to yes. What was the point of the entire series if this is how it's concluded? The book is definitely stupid when Marshall tries to give it this sort of gravitas, but when it lies outside of that conspiracy, the story really flies. It's not a lean book (Marshall's insights into human nature tend to run long, though they're generally worth it), but it's a taut one, and I think folks who like good suspense stories or police procedurals would find a lot to like here.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    So sadly I come to the finale of "The Straw Men" trilogy - Blood of Angels. Now I'm feeling vaguely bereft again. I have absolutely loved my re-read of this set of books and I'm sad that I am done. I can't start again right away can I? No perhaps not. But I'm sure this will not be the last time I read them. This part of the tale finds Ward and Nina hiding out in a remote cabin and trying to leave the world behind them. John is nowhere, unable to contact him they reluctantly decide that their frie So sadly I come to the finale of "The Straw Men" trilogy - Blood of Angels. Now I'm feeling vaguely bereft again. I have absolutely loved my re-read of this set of books and I'm sad that I am done. I can't start again right away can I? No perhaps not. But I'm sure this will not be the last time I read them. This part of the tale finds Ward and Nina hiding out in a remote cabin and trying to leave the world behind them. John is nowhere, unable to contact him they reluctantly decide that their friendship is over. Then Nina's boss at the FBI, Monroe, brings news of two murders..and everything changes. Dragged back into the horror, Nina finds herself haunted by ghosts from the past - and Ward is suspicious of the reasoning behind Monroe's request for Nina's assistance. Trying once more to contact John, he starts to untangle this latest mystery... The Straw Men mythology deepens in this book - intriguing and well imagined it makes you wonder what exactly might be lurking behind closed doors.....hey how well do you REALLY know your neighbours, friends, confidantes. Many tangled webs weave themselves into the ultimate showdown..and its a corker of an ending trust me. But is it the end? I truly hope not. The story taken as a whole, over the entirety of the three books is extremely well done. And yes there is room for more to happen in this world..I really need to know about a lot of things. Are you listening Mr Marshall? Having built up this whole mythology around Serial Killing do you know I would not be at all surprised if at least one recent tv show that will remain nameless ( Hint: Kevin Bacon gets in on EVERYTHING) has at least one writer that has read these particular books. The story may be different but the ambience is the same. So still, after this go round, this remains in my top 3 trilogies of all time. If you want to know what the other two are watch this space. Next on my list for my re-read for the Michael Marshall section of my website is "Killer Moves" - a book I remember kept me on the edge of my seat the first time around - and it didnt even need an Upright Man to do so. Happy Reading Folks!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Waven

    I really enjoyed the first two novels of the Straw Men trilogy and this one didn't disappoint, either. Marshall keeps a good pace, throws enough curves to keep things interesting, and leaves some deliciously unresolved plotlines without sacrificing the integrity of the story. The final chapter in the series, this novel is probably the most "serious" of the group, a more sober adventure than the previous installments which offered numerous moments of dark humor. But it's still a very interesting I really enjoyed the first two novels of the Straw Men trilogy and this one didn't disappoint, either. Marshall keeps a good pace, throws enough curves to keep things interesting, and leaves some deliciously unresolved plotlines without sacrificing the integrity of the story. The final chapter in the series, this novel is probably the most "serious" of the group, a more sober adventure than the previous installments which offered numerous moments of dark humor. But it's still a very interesting ride full of tension and bloody mayhem, from which there may be no survivors. John, Paul, Nina, and Ward all return for encore performances, along with a handful of interesting newcomers who always seem to drag trouble along behind them. Drawn to unusual murders in rural Virginia, the protagonists find a small town with something sinister going on, and no one's sure what is happening or even who is behind it. The Straw Men - whom officials still refuse to recognize - spread a web of subterfuge and deceit from the West Coast to the East, confusing attempts to suss them out. A possible ally for our protagonists appears in the form of a CIA agent, a person who may have cracked the Straw Men's secret communications ... or who may be a Straw Man in disguise. As lines converge, everything points to something big - and deadly - in the works. Bodies continue to accumulate while the questions pile up without a clear answer in sight, and the protagonists find themselves in over their heads in some very hot water. There are some odd exchanges on the history of the Straw Men, but these details are shared as hearsay - rumors and theories between characters, essentially - and are left wide open to interpretation. I didn't feel they detracted from the story but instead added layers of complexity to the background, which was intentionally obscure and confusing from page one. All in all, I love this trilogy, Blood of Angels included.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Al Swanson

    As always, Marshall entertains. This time, he also explains. I'm not a huge fan of 'series' books, simply because, in most cases, you can count on the protagonists living through - at least till the last book. That takes away any real sense of drama for me. True, if it were a series of romances, that might not be such a consideration. In an 'action' or thriller series, it does limit the plotline. Blood of Angels extends and theoretically closes the series begun with The Straw Men. I'm not one to As always, Marshall entertains. This time, he also explains. I'm not a huge fan of 'series' books, simply because, in most cases, you can count on the protagonists living through - at least till the last book. That takes away any real sense of drama for me. True, if it were a series of romances, that might not be such a consideration. In an 'action' or thriller series, it does limit the plotline. Blood of Angels extends and theoretically closes the series begun with The Straw Men. I'm not one to really discuss or disclose plots, so let's just say it's a conspiracy theory kind of series. Bad guys on one side and good guys on the other. Or are they? Who knows - we judge by what's "good" right now to determine bad and good. The writing, as always is entertaining, highly readable and fun. Reasonably plausible and interesting, too. Hard to maintain all those in one of those conspiracy theory type runs. Of the three (The Straw Men, The Upright Man and Blood of Angels), I think it's the best. The first two had more of a promise than a delivery and that disappointed me. This one has both. Now, you're going to have to suspend disbelief a little more than normal, but if you do and can, you will be rewarded for a night or two of solid thriller/action type reading. No matter what, I'll complain and wish Marshall's endings were as good as the other 90% of the book, but I'll keep reading him. Stupid me. :0)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    This is the final book in the Straw Men trilogy. It has turned out to be a trilogy of diminishing returns. The first book was great but the other two much less compelling. My favourite parts of this book were actually the new characters - Jim/James was really interesting and I also enjoyed the plot about Lee and his buddies. However, the storylines of the main characters of Ward, Nina, John and Paul felt repetitive: Ward, Nina and John say tough shit, run around shooting guns in every direction a This is the final book in the Straw Men trilogy. It has turned out to be a trilogy of diminishing returns. The first book was great but the other two much less compelling. My favourite parts of this book were actually the new characters - Jim/James was really interesting and I also enjoyed the plot about Lee and his buddies. However, the storylines of the main characters of Ward, Nina, John and Paul felt repetitive: Ward, Nina and John say tough shit, run around shooting guns in every direction and make improbable deductions, while Paul is a super-smart psycho. I would have preferred to read more about the new characters - maybe if some of the big 4 had been killed off in book 2 this one might have felt fresher. The ending of the trilogy was also frustrating. (view spoiler)[ It basically seemed like the author was leaving the door open for more sequels, as all 4 main characters could still return and the straw men are as powerful as ever. I would have preferred more of a resolution. If we are ever to return to the world of the straw men it would be better without the 4 main characters imo. (hide spoiler)] The book was readable of course and I was interested in the new aspects introduced but it had started to feel a little tired and I was glad to finish in the end.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    Op zich een goed boek, maar het totaal van de drie boeken laat mij achter met vragen. Het is meer een herhaling van het tweede boek dan een afsluitend deel. Ik had verwacht meer over de stromannen te weten te komen, maar dit blijft een beetje in de lucht hangen. IK vind het onwerkelijk dat de ex politieman in het boek niet beoordeeld wordt op zijn meerdere moorden. Hier wordt ook niet verder over gesproken. Het einde van het boek zou wat mij betret een meer afgerond geheel moeten zijn, want hoe is Op zich een goed boek, maar het totaal van de drie boeken laat mij achter met vragen. Het is meer een herhaling van het tweede boek dan een afsluitend deel. Ik had verwacht meer over de stromannen te weten te komen, maar dit blijft een beetje in de lucht hangen. IK vind het onwerkelijk dat de ex politieman in het boek niet beoordeeld wordt op zijn meerdere moorden. Hier wordt ook niet verder over gesproken. Het einde van het boek zou wat mij betret een meer afgerond geheel moeten zijn, want hoe is het met Paul, hoe is het met John, wie was nu eigenlijk het slachtoffer in het toilet van de bar etc. Ik kreeg een beetje het gevoel alsof het een beetje is afgeraffeld.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    I didn't hate this book. It made up for the 2nd. This series isn't my cup of tea. I couldn't get used to the writing style, and I simply disliked most of the characters. I would groan every time a chapter would begin with some stupid teenager. All of the plotlines connect eventually, and when they do you don't care. Most books make you say, "So THAT'S who that was." This one made me go, "Oh, so that happened. Meh." Also, this was a depressing end to the trilogy. I think he was trying to relay th I didn't hate this book. It made up for the 2nd. This series isn't my cup of tea. I couldn't get used to the writing style, and I simply disliked most of the characters. I would groan every time a chapter would begin with some stupid teenager. All of the plotlines connect eventually, and when they do you don't care. Most books make you say, "So THAT'S who that was." This one made me go, "Oh, so that happened. Meh." Also, this was a depressing end to the trilogy. I think he was trying to relay the message that humans are terrible people. I remember hating humanity too, but then I matured.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    It's certainly got a lot packed into it - serial killers, a complex conspiracy theory, good cops forced into doing bad things to try to make the world a better place, more fast-paced action than you can shake a stick at ... - but it's the third and final episode in a three-part series so I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd walked into a movie halfway through and had a hard time piecing together who was who, what had been going on and why. (full review on my blog : http://madhousefamilyreviews.b It's certainly got a lot packed into it - serial killers, a complex conspiracy theory, good cops forced into doing bad things to try to make the world a better place, more fast-paced action than you can shake a stick at ... - but it's the third and final episode in a three-part series so I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd walked into a movie halfway through and had a hard time piecing together who was who, what had been going on and why. (full review on my blog : http://madhousefamilyreviews.blogspot...)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ann Davis

    Got a bit fed up towards the end although it was brilliantly written as usual. The Straw Men theory that the world needs to get rid of civilisation and go back to cavemen methods of killing and acting like animals got a bit hard to swallow. Probably why this was the last one written about the straw men. I suppose you could equate the straw men to all sorts of extremism where killing becomes fun for some people. I would have liked another book about the characters as everything was left up in the Got a bit fed up towards the end although it was brilliantly written as usual. The Straw Men theory that the world needs to get rid of civilisation and go back to cavemen methods of killing and acting like animals got a bit hard to swallow. Probably why this was the last one written about the straw men. I suppose you could equate the straw men to all sorts of extremism where killing becomes fun for some people. I would have liked another book about the characters as everything was left up in the air at the end.

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