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“They took everything. Now she’s found them.”
‘Angel Avenger’
Author Tim Wickenden
The Review

ANGEL AVENGER – (Max Becker Book #1)

Cover image of the book 'Angel Avenger' by author Tim WickendenSeptember 1960. In the Spandauer forest Detectives Max Becker and Bastian Döhl, from the Berlin Kriminalpolizei, find a naked, tortured man tied to a tree.

A cryptic message hangs from his neck.

When another body appears, Max is sure it won’t be the last.

The press dub the killer, Der Waldscharfrichter (The Forest Executioner) and graphic tattoos on the bodies suggest that the victims are Russians with a criminal past.

As more bodies and messages appear, they lead Max and his team to a horrific past event, wounds that run deep in the Berlin psyche, plunging Max into a conflict between his sense of duty and justice.

TIM WICKENDEN

Image of author Tim WickendenBorn in Zimbabwe in 1962, Tim spent his early years in Zimbabwe, the UK and then Hong Kong. At the age of eight he went off to boarding school in the UK, spending his holidays in Germany, where his father was stationed. He loved the country and its people and in planning to create a new detective series it seemed natural to choose 60s Berlin.

He has been writing for many years, including plays and many short stories, although Angel Avenger is his debut novel.

Since 2005 Tim has lived in West Wales, is married and has a son.

He loves walking, reading, writing, researching 20th century military history and prior to becoming a full-time writer worked variously as a teacher, college lecturer, IT analyst and Cabinet Maker.

Check out all Tim’s latest news and social media connections on his website

Follow Tim on Twitter

Connect with Tim on Facebook

Cover image of the book 'Angel Avenger' by author Tim Wickenden

FIRST LINE

Prologue

Berlin, Thursday, April 26 1945

In the early hours, there has been a great thunderstorm, the rain so heavy that it has put out fires burning around the city. The air hangs dense, smelling of acrid, damp, smoke; the stench so thick that it stings eyes, coating nose, and throat.

Check out an extended ‘Book Beginnings’ extract, here

Cover image of the book 'Angel Avenger' by author Tim Wickenden

MEMORABLE LINES

Bastian says, “see that’s my weakness, I’m crap at politics. But be careful; don’t make yourself look weak, not in the lion’s den.”

Otti smiles, saying, “I think you’ll find, in the lion’s world, it’s the lioness does all the hunting and killing.”

“True, but the lion always gets to eat first, doesn’t he?”

.

“The more we know, the more we don’t,” says Max, “one question simply brings three more.”

.

His life has always been, and will always be one of a man of action, of danger, now making amends for a past that was never his to  repent of. She, having touched the very essence of suffering and evil, knows its remedy and has become the ultimate healer of it: patience, wisdom, empathy and a haven.

.

Remembering what her father had once said, ‘always best to know your enemy; try and think like him.’

.

As a fellow Wehrmacht soldier and war veteran, he feels great sympathy for this man. Postwar Germany had little time for its veterans, wanting to bury the shame in denial.

Check out single, extended ‘teaser’ extract, here

Cover image of the book 'Angel Avenger' by author Tim Wickenden

REVIEW

“They took everything. Now she’s found them.”

Wow! That covers my reaction to this book, on just about every different front, definitely making it my best read of 2019, which is when I opened this Pandora’s box of emotions.

I did have a couple of false starts in getting going, not because I couldn’t get into the story, but simply because I was initially reading it in short bursts and not really getting my head around the timeframe of the opening action. You really need to have a good period of uninterrupted reading, to get everything into context, then the pages turn themselves and I promise, you won’t want to put it down!

Finding a way of putting a review together which does the writing justice, without revealing too many spoilers and not repeating the glowing reviews of so many previous readers, is going to be very tricky …

Angel Avenger is a multi-layered piece of cultural fiction, alongside being an excellent first story in a great new crime thriller series.

Well researched by an author who has studied his subject extensively, to ensure as much authenticity as possible, both in time, place and the human understanding of the cause and consequences of events.

We are trapped in the post Second World War of Berlin, just as Cold War tensions reach their peak. The City plays host to a vast cross section of humanity, all struggling to come to terms with their changed roles in a society they no longer recognise.

A Germany brought to its knees by forces from both east and west, with many veterans from the east deciding that a life infiltrated amongst this defeated population, was much more preferable than returning to their masters. But are they ready for the retribution heaped upon them by their ‘liberated’ captives? – You can run, but you can’t hide!

For Max Becker and his Kriminalpolizei team of detectives, many of whom had served in the ‘regime’ military during the war, a life upholding the law in a more dignified, ordered and humane fashion, is proving to be something of a personal challenge. The mature in years circle of men who head up the organisation, are the same people who still uphold the beliefs and values under which they fought and served in the conflict; whilst many in the lower echelons, such as Max and his team, question the very foundations on which their military service was based, and only strive to make life better for their fellow Berliners, by delivering a kinder, more considered justice.

Even they however, are now having their very core values challenged, when the latest addition to the organisation might test their synergy and character dynamics to their limits. Max, who has his own personal family bedrock and confidante in his wife, to keep him grounded and open-minded; and his co-worker, Bastian who has more faith than most in the new order of things, are quite accepting of the changing face of a post-war society, so whilst they are ever watchful and vigilant, ready to intervene if there are any flagrant violations of protocol, they are quite happy to keep their distance and let events take their own course!

Tim is a consummate author, who with total authority, can inject just the right amounts of pathos and empathy into his narrative and the dialogue between his characters, whilst recognising and being able to communicate with his readers, the anger and frustration which revenge can engender in the human psyche and nature.

Visual and descriptive scenes, make this one not for the faint of heart or stomach, although in their way, these acts of clinically planned and executed brutality, were profoundly touching, emotionally draining, compelling and almost necessary reading.

It didn’t matter that the identity of the murderers was made known very early on in the story, as anyone reading the prologue would surely have already guessed the outcomes. A richly crafted storyline of almost two halves; initially focusing on the plot with its planning, execution and consequences; then switching almost seamlessly to the chase, capture and the cathartic unburdening of guilt, by both the perpetrators of crime and the law enforcement charged with tracking them down. The sting in the end of the tale took me completely by surprise, but tied up all the loose parts very nicely, without appearing contrived and manufactured.

Perceptive writing brought the Kriminalpolizei to life and is already making this a cast of characters it is becoming surprisingly easy to connect with, whilst total authority over the dialogue purveys the desperate intensity of those on both sides of the law, searching for a sense of belonging and purpose in the new order of things. I shall hopefully be following Max Becker and his team as they establish a future for law and order in the new Berlin!

Image of author Tim Wickenden

A complimentary download of this book, was kindly made available and supplied by the author.

Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article which promotes this book or its author.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract 5 out of 5 stars and has earned a place on my Goodreads ‘Favourite’ shelf!

Cover image of the book 'Angel Avenger' by author Tim Wickenden

 

 

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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10 comments
  • Well, well! Based on your earlier posts featuring this book, I’d about decided it really wasn’t one that interested me at this point in time. However, your excellent review has me second guessing that thought! It may well make its way to my wish list before all is said and done. Great review, Yvonne!

    • Hi Kelly,

      I must admit that after a couple of false starts, I began to wonder if this was one for me. However, once I had immersed myself in the timeframe of the storyline, the pages almost turned themselves!

      Tim definitely believes in offering his readers the most authentic and detailed narrative possible and in my opinion, his in depth research really paid off.

      Tim actually wrote a short story, ‘Girl Hunter’, to kick off the Max Becker series, however I probably shan’t bother going to back to read that one, as the next full length case for the team is due for release this year and that is definitely one for my list!

      Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words about my review, I really appreciate your support 🙂

  • Excellent review, Yvonne. The Cold War is not by any means my favourite timeline for reading, I suppose having lived through it it feels a bit too close for comfort. ‘However’ (there’s always a ‘however’) your review makes me consider it seriously for my European challenge even though I already have a book for Germany on my tbr mountain. I’ll think about it, the only reason I might not use it this year is that I really do want to get books off the pile and into the charity shop box. I will keep it in mind for next year though.

    • Hi Cath,

      I’m not really into all the ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ stuff of the Cold War, but as it happened within my lifetime, albeit when I was a child, I suppose I just felt like I should know a bit more about it!

      You need to be able to accept the violence in the context of what it represents, but get past that, and I just know you wouldn’t be disappointed by either the storyline, or by this new team of Detectives, who I hope are going to thrive and flourish and feature in a good length series of cases.

      As my many hundreds of ‘real’ books have come from charity shops in the first place, I guess I am probably fighting a losing battle in trying to decrease the shelf stacking on my home bookcases!

      I always gaze longingly when a new batch of books arrive in the shop for sorting, especially if they are in pristine condition, so much so that I can hardly bear to put them out on the shelves for sale, without having first bought and read them myself. Only the small voice of reason and the even louder remonstrations of my husband, stops me owning more books than the local library, and with just about as much chance of ever reading them all 🙂

      Good Luck with your 2020 European Challenge and thank you so much for your kind words about my review. Comments feed my soul and I appreciate them all 🙂

    • Hi Nikki,

      Oh Dear! You definitely sound as though you are in a reading slump, or do you have another interest which has taken over your available free time?

      It took my a time to get my head around the fact that I was listening in on a police department of the 1960s era, but that was my problem and not the way in which the narrative or dialogue was written, which I couldn’t fault!

      Maybe this is just what you need to get your reading motivation back and maybe your Dad might enjoy it too 🙂

    • Hi Kathy,

      I find that these day, my reading can only be in very short bursts and at random times, which is rather frustrating when it is a storyline which needs settling in the mind, as this one was!

      I am now reading something completely different, as ‘Angel Avenger’ was so brilliant, that I didn’t want to end up by comparing it too soon, with another similar storyline.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate your support for Fiction Books 🙂

  • I’m glad to see this was a favorite for 2019, it sounds like an intriguing crime thriller! I like it when a book saves a surprise for the end like that. Fantastic review.

    • Hi Naida,

      Thanks for your kind words about the review, lovely comments like that mean everything to me!

      My first thought was that this probably wouldn’t be a book you would enjoy, but then I remembered just how gruesome some of Stephen King’s books could be, and you devour those eagerly, so this one might be good for you after all!

      Have a great reading week and don’t work too hard 🙂

Written by Yvonne

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