THE AVENGING ANGEL by Rex Burns

THE AVENGING ANGEL

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The weakest of Burns' five cases thus far (Speak for the Dead, etc.) for Gabe Wager of the Denver Police Dept. This time Gabe is investigating a series of murders around the state--including the massacre of a whole family--which seem to be the work of Mormon vigilantes: most of the victims are members of an austerely orthodox, dissident Mormon sect, and the sign of the ""Avenging Angel"" appears at each murder site. Gabe spends time in the sect's rural home region, where a local Mormon journalist is also killed (because he found a clue?); he tries to locate and protect a surviving sect-family that's apparently slated for massacre. And he sets up a trap to force a showdown with the vigilantes--though a couple of the killings are shown to involve another, slightly surprising culprit. Throughout, however, the sleuthing is lethargic, with Burns' gift for wry dialogue and sharp observation only surfacing occasionally. And far too much space is given to Gabe's moody, existential musings--which pretentiously verbalize what has been powerfully implicit in previous Burns mysteries.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1982
Publisher: Viking