Customer Reviews for

The Faces of Angels

Average Rating 2.5
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  • Posted December 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Recommended With Reservations!

    Set in Florence, Italy, this is a suspense thriller having to do with an American art student who is attacked and tortured by a masked assailant when she wanders off the sight-seeing path into a dark glade. Her husband is murdered in an attempt to rescue her. This flight off the path symbolizes Mary's reckless and curious nature which intensifies the tension and suspense throughout the novel. The title of the book hints at the multiple faces of "angels."

    Mary/Maria returns to Florence a couple of years after her physical recovery ostensibly to continue her studies, and to reunite with the lover she had just met before her attack. However, the under-current of her return lies in the unrelenting obsession Mary has with resolving who her torturer really was, why he tortured and murdered other women...and what their similarities are.

    She is also driven by the need to know if her attacker was actually caught and killed after he tortured her. She has doubts. Then she's horrified and set spinning as a rash of new, similar murders begins to crop up. Is there a copy-cat serial killer, or was the original murderer never really caught?

    "The Faces of Angels" is a novel with a clever plot and a perfectly rich setting for art history and gothic intrigue. Lucretia Grindle is a fine writer. I liked her story. A love of architecture and details of great masterpieces in Florence and surrounding countryside makes this book an intimate sort of travelogue. Those things are well and good, and may draw a readership in and of themselves.

    What didn't work was the pace of the story. It was slow and was completely mired in unnecessary details.

    While Ms Grindle creates strong, engaging characters who act out quite believable scenarios and remain consistent in their roles, they become almost boring in sluggish surrounding details. Too much information not necessary to the plot, and several characters who are superfluous weigh heavily. Florentine beauty is one thing, but too much is nearly devastating to this book.

    In a nutshell, the good things about the novel: characterization, setting, plot, mystery; all nearly died-on-the-vine because of the "wordiness," and I don't like that experience in reading. This novel hit stall in the bulk of itself. Making this another difficult call to rate as a reviewer.

    I cannot recommend "The Faces of Angels" without reservations. My readers need to be aware... I did read to the end because I wanted to know the answer to the mystery, but it took some persistence!

    3.5 stars

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Elements of suspense, but moves too slow

    The biggest appeal of this suspense novel is the true and utter beauty of the Italian landscape. Mary Warren is the character who is immersed in this beauty, yet that feeling of splendor soon turns into a nightmarish event. Mary is a newlywed - and the definition of that particular word is supposed to be a person who is happy, on top of the world, and looking forward to an incredible future - yet, that is not exactly the way Mary Warren felt. Being in Florence for three months - which was basically a honeymoon for her and her husband Ty - there was much more going on in Mary Warren¿s head than simply romance. Yes, she did love her husband, but when their honeymoon took place they had already been together for quite some time, so the ¿rose-colored glasses¿ of a new bride were already long gone. Her husband was a teacher, a Quaker to be exact, that was in an exchange program with others who taught in religious schools. So, in essence, religion was really the topic of conversation most of the time. Mary¿s ¿job¿ was one of creativity, an art student who loved seeing Florence and studying the beauty that was all around. This particular day is as hot and sticky as Texas in July, as she and Ty walk with their tour group. Unfortunately, she chose to break away from the others for a bit, to be on her own and wander the stunning location of the Boboli Gardens. This is a truly tranquil setting that makes the whole day, trip, and Mary¿s attitude, look up. What Mary does not expect is to meet up with Satan in the middle of Paradise, but the masked killer is there¿just waiting for his next victim. It feels like only minutes before her husband is brutally murdered, and Mary is attacked. In the headlines this man was called, The Honeymoon Killer - a man who, a year after Mary¿s attack, has been killed. Mary, of course, has not gotten over what occurred in Florence. Trying to live her life in Philadelphia is almost impossible, because her scars on the outside are a constant reminder of the pain and agony that she went through. Oddly enough, she accepts an invitation from her friend - a journalist - to return to Italy. Perhaps if she returned to the scene she could somehow release the past and move on with her future. However, it soon feels to Mary as if she is the ultimate draw when it comes to pure evil stalking the streets, considering the fact that when she returns yet another killer emerges who wishes to spread pain to the women of Florence. On top of all that, this new menace is using the same MO as the old one who consumes Mary¿s nightmares, and with a little research, she soon wonders if this is really a copycat, or her own attacker come back from the dead. In essence, this book offers a very suspenseful plot that should have mystery and suspense readers hanging on every word. What happens, however, is that the book is extremely slow-paced for a plot that should be racing at top speed. There are many descriptive passages that elongate the story and unfortunately lose a reader¿s interest, making some want to simply jump to the dialogue to see how it all ends. Quill Says: There are elements of surprise, and the ¿who-done-it¿ appeal is there, but it takes far too long to get there.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2014

    Unfortunately, not one of my favorites.

    Extremely slow start....the first half of the book is a long drawn out setting for background, characters and plot. Lots of unnecessary description, in my opinion . However, the second half was terrific....a real page turner right up to the end! Great conclusion.

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