THE ANGEL MAKER by Ridley Pearson

THE ANGEL MAKER

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Potent blend of medical thriller and police procedural that resurrects the cop-hero of Pearson's Undercurrents (1988) and pits him against--of all things--a maniacal veterinarian. Lou Boldt has been off the Seattle force for two years, tending his infant son and playing jazz piano at a local dive, but his extraordinary empathy for murder victims won't let him refuse the request of police shrink and ex-lover Daphne Matthews (whose throat was slashed in Undercurrents) to help with her new case--a series of street kids found dead and missing a kidney, liver, or lung. Immediately suspecting that a transplant surgeon is ``harvesting'' the organs and selling them at great profit, Boldt rejoins the SPD and pushes for advice from the medical examiner (the narrative bristles with the sort of forensic detail that informed Undercurrents). Meanwhile, Pearson bares his villain- -sociopathic society vet Elden Tegg--as we see him snatching social-worker Sharon Shaffer with an eye to selling her heart to a mobster whose wife is dying from heart disease. Unlike Undercurrents, then, where suspense derived from ``whodunit,'' the tension here is strictly--and tightly--time-wound: Can Boldt i.d. the killer and rescue Sharon--or can Sharon herself escape from the remote dog kennel where Tegg's imprisoned her, naked and terrified- -before the vet wields his scalpel? Thriller fans will note that this setup strongly echoes Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lambs--but Pearson matches Harris's pace as the hours tick down, marking off twists (a hiker chancing on the kennel) and hot suspense sequences (a pawnshop sting to break into Tegg's computer) until the cathartic, brutal climax. Exceptionally gripping and full of amazing forensic lore (e.g., that Band-Aids emit low-level radioactivity from being sterilized): a top-flight offering from an author who's clearly found his groove.

Pub Date: April 9th, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-30139-1
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1993




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