Happy publication day to Janice Hallett for The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels! Thank you to Miranda Jewess for an early read. Before I give you my thoughts, here’s the blurb.
Open the safe deposit box.
Inside you will find research material for a true crime book.
You must read the documents, then make a decision.
Will you destroy them? Or will you take them to the police?
Everyone knows the sad story of the Alperton Angels: the cult who brainwashed a teenage girl and convinced her that her newborn baby was the anti-Christ. Believing they had a divine mission to kill the infant, they were only stopped when the girl came to her senses and called the police. The Angels committed suicide rather than stand trial, while mother and baby disappeared into the care system.
Nearly two decades later, true-crime author Amanda Bailey is writing a book on the Angels. The Alperton baby has turned eighteen and can finally be interviewed; if Amanda can find them, it will be the true-crime scoop of the year, and will save her flagging career. But rival author Oliver Menzies is just as smart, better connected, and is also on the baby’s trail.
As Amanda and Oliver are forced to collaborate, they realise that what everyone thinks they know about the Angels is wrong. The truth is something much darker and stranger than they’d ever imagined. And the story of the Alperton Angels is far from over.
I think we all know by now that Janice Hallett doesn’t write stories in a conventional way. My mind is blown more with each book she writes. Using WhatsApp messages and transcripts of conversations, the story is told mostly from Amanda Bailey’s point of view. You’d never think that you could get such a great sense of a character from messages but that’s exactly what Janice Hallett has done. It’s the same with the plot and the setting. I know the area a little bit so there were some parts that I could picture from memory. The rest I could picture from Janice’s descriptions.
I don’t want to give any of the plot away, as this is a book best enjoyed by knowing little at the beginning and allowing Janice Hallett to drip-feed information to you. It’s one of those books that you desperately want to read quickly but at the same time I slowed down because I didn’t want it to end. Heavenly and creepy combined with twisted genius. This might be the first book I’m reviewing in 2023 but I’m saying it – The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels is extraordinary.
You can buy The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels here or head down to your local independent bookshop.
Janice Hallett is a former magazine editor, award-winning journalist and government communications writer. She wrote articles and speeches for, among others, the Cabinet Office, Home Office and Department for International Development. Her enthusiasm for travel has taken her around the world several times, from Madagascar to the Galapagos, Guatemala to Zimbabwe, Japan, Russia and South Korea. A playwright and screenwriter, she penned the feminist Shakespearean stage comedy NetherBard and co-wrote the feature film Retreat, a psychological thriller starring Cillian Murphy, Thandiwe Newton and Jamie Bell. The Appeal is her first novel, and The Twyford Code her second.