Fallen Angel by Kevin Lewis

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Fallen Angel by Kevin Lewis

Category: Crime
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Kerry King
Reviewed by Kerry King
Summary: Kevin Lewis takes a different tack with his new novel, introducing us to DI Stacey Collins, a tough cop cutting a swathe through an even tougher man's world.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: August 2008
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 978-0141030104

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Kevin Lewis's earlier works of fiction, the last of which was published some 18 months ago, advanced well into the upper echelons of the best seller lists. Likened, repeatedly, to Martina Cole and Mandasue Heller, Kevin Lewis began his career with several novels in the same vein as Dave Pelzer's A Child Called It; true-life stories that illustrate to those fortunate enough to have had a charmed childhood how it feels to live in constant fear of your parents.

Fallen Angel introduces us to a character with whom Lewis can certainly identify, as DI Stacey Collins was also brought up on a grim London council estate. Like Lewis, this new character finds herself haunted by the demons of her past. You can derive from the subject matter - a serial killer preying on little boys – that Lewis has not yet finished purging his soul and there is a tight focus on the family in the case of both the victims and his protagonist, Collins.

The curtain rises on the body of a little boy, his murder the result of a failed kidnapping plot. He is gruesomely slashed and broken and left to be discovered, hanging from the rafters of a London church. DI Collins is appointed head of the task force, much to the dismay of her teenage daughter, with whom she has, at best, a very shaky relationship thanks to the demands of her career.

As the kidnap money is traced to a sink estate in South London, Collins realises that she might be able to find the first chink in the armour of this case. Whilst she would much rather let sleeping dogs lie, DI Collins makes contact with a certain local gang leader that she knows 'runs' the Blenheim estate where the money has been discovered.

It is against her better judgment that she meets up with the tall, physically impressive Jack Stanley, but having shared the same hang-outs growing up together there is a grudging respect between the pair and it is because of this shared regard that they are able to 'scratch each other's backs'. With Jack willing to send the occasional rival gangbanger her way in exchange for a blind eye turned, they are only too aware of the fact that should their secret ever be exposed, it would mean an unpleasant ending for them both.

The clock is ticking for Collins and even with Jack Stanley's underworld connections being pumped for information, the task force hits a brick wall with their investigation. Then a second child goes missing.

Kevin Lewis has had considerable success with his first novels, Kaitlyn and Frankie and I can see why he is so popular. Lewis's style is easy if formulaic; very much along the lines of the blockbusting Martina Cole who, as we know, sells by the skip-load. He has also cottoned to the fact that Joe Reader likes a certain amount of continuity in their crime writers and characters and I feel very certain that this is not the last we have seen of the feisty, loose-cannon that is Detective Inspector Stacey Collins.

I have given Fallen Angel three and a half Bookbag Stars as I am not convinced that it marries up to the standard set by Kaitlyn and Frankie. Further, the story didn't roll along; it jarred slightly between 'events'. The lull was yawning and although the action, when it did galvanise again, was pulse-quickening stuff, it had to be to keep the momentum. That said, Lewis appears to have crafted an excellent 'whodunit'; the ending is satisfying enough to make the reader think about the story afterwards and in all likelihood, to buy DI Collins's next outing.

As I seem to have bleated uncontrollably on about how similar Kevin Lewis is to the mighty Martina Cole, you would probably want to have a shufty at, well, any one of her books, but I can personally recommend The Ladykiller. If gritty cop slash serial killer books are up there on your reading list, then you will certainly enjoy Falling by John Connor, both for its 'lickety' storyline and its procedural brilliance. Along that outline I would also suggest you give Grace Monroe a go. We at Bookbag recommend both Blood Lines and Dark Angels for their clever escapist plots.

Finally, Bookbag would like to thank the ladies and gentlemen at Penguin Books for sending this copy to us for review.

Buy Fallen Angel by Kevin Lewis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fallen Angel by Kevin Lewis at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Fallen Angel by Kevin Lewis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fallen Angel by Kevin Lewis at Amazon.com.


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