"Angel of Vengeance" Book Review
I'm no hero, but the way I figure it, if I've got to kill people — and I do — might as well be ones who deserve killin'. – Mick Angel
Written by Trevor O. Munson
2010, 239 pages, Fiction
Book released on February 1st, 2011
When it comes to books (not unlike movies), my two favorite genres are horror (naturally) and mystery. Of the two, mystery gets a slight edge. I'm not talking about your standard mystery, though, I'm more of a hardboiled kind of guy. So if it comes down to the latest supernatural novel or the newest by Robert Crais or Lee Child, I'm reading the latter first without much thought. Unfortunately, there aren't too many authors that merge my two favorite genres very well. Hell, the only one I can think of off the top of my head is Jon Merz's Fixer series (which centers around a vampire who "fixes" problems for his vampire bosses). Fortunately, Trevor O. Munson may have helped fill that void a little more with Angel of Vengeance.
Generally, I try not to read the synopsis of a book I'm reviewing before I crack open the pages. It's the same reason I try not to watch trailers for films I'm reviewing. I don't want to either get my hopes up or have any pre-judgments. However, I did catch the synopsis of Angel of Vengeance before I read it, and I couldn't help but judge the book before even opening it. It wasn't even the entire description, but the first half of the first sentence:
LA-based Private Eye and vampire Mick Angel has been hired by a beautiful red-headed burlesque dancer to find her missing sister.
A private eye in LA named Angel that also happens to be a vampire? Really? I'm pretty sure I saw five seasons of this already. Yeah, it reeked a little of hokey. But then I read the book.
Holy shit, poor decision of character name aside, this book is just what I was looking for a great middle ground between horror and action. Munson is an honors student straight from the school of Raymond Chandler and Lawrence Block with his writing style, delivering a '50s style noir with the book's rapid fire delivery of lines and where the men are men and the women are femme fatales.
Angel of Vengeance's plot is rather simple (and typical) of a pulp novel. A woman's sister goes missing. Angel is hired. There's more to the case than we first thought. Action ensues. A final chapter of exposition. Fade to black. Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with this style. It's very typical of the hardboiled genre to the point it's almost expected. But you throw a vampire in the mix as the main character and the book becomes very atypical.
The novel's style also allows for a very fast read. Fat is kept to the barest minimum in Angel of Vengeance and the book benefits greatly from it. This is not the type of novel that has need for lengthy descriptions or diatribes of conversation. Munson tells you just what you need to know and you thank him for it.
While this review copy was published in 2011, Angel of Vengeance is actually the inspiration of the TV series Moonlight, which had but one season in 2007. I vaguely remember the show. Perhaps the reason for this is explained in the afterward of the book, where Munson says that the story "...is a much darker tale that depicted in Moonlight..." Regardless, my enjoyment of Angel of Vengeance has encouraged me to at least Netflix the first disc of the series, to see how close it came.
Angel of Vengeance is definitely more action/pulp than it is horror, but there is the occasional bleeding out of a victim and transformation of man into monster in the mix, so the book does get a one-up on the style it is emulating. This one is a no-brainer for the fans of the "Hard Case Crime" series (which, ironically, was recently picked up by Titan Books, the same company that publishes this), as well as fans of vampires who are looking to mix it up a bit. I'm really hoping that Trevor Munson makes his Mick Angel character into some sort of series ala Lee Child's Jack Reacher or Robert Crais' Elvis Cole. Mick Angel is a detective that deserves more than just one book.
Want to comment on this review? You can leave one below or head over to the Horrortalk Review Forum.