Review

Blood Of Angels

by Reed Arvin



It's been kind of hard to get a handle on Reed Arvin, at least
until recently. He's written a how-to book dealing with the music
industry, an inspirational work, and a low-key, beautiful novel
titled THE WILL. None of the foregoing offered any clue to THE LAST
GOODBYE, Arvin's first entry in the suspense genre. THE LAST
GOODBYE was contemporaneously a character study, a morality tale
and, at rock bottom, a mystery --- complex, fine and true,
meticulously plotted and wonderfully told. As good a book as THE
LAST GOODBYE was, however, it was just a foreshadowing of the
heights that Arvin has achieved with BLOOD OF ANGELS.


THE LAST GOODBYE was set in Atlanta, and Arvin made the city as
much of a character as any person in the book. He continues this
practice in BLOOD OF ANGELS, which takes place in Nashville,
Arvin's city of residence. It is clear that Arvin knows Nashville
with an intimacy that is at once pleasurable and painful. It is a
town of quiet, subtle intrigue, of promise and pain, where a kiss
on the cheek and a knife to the back both can be delivered with a
smile and cordiality unmatched elsewhere. Arvin captures this
spirit quite nicely. But his main protagonist is Thomas Dennehy,
senior District Attorney for Davidson County. Dennehy's first
person, present tense narration provides a knife's edge immediacy
for his tale.


Dennehy, a good, honest and decent man, is given the task of
prosecuting Moses Bol, a Sudanese refugee charged with the murder
of a white woman in the Nations. The Nations is an area of
Nashville populated by downtrodden whites; Bol lives in Tennessee
Village, a complex bordering on The Nations filled with Sudanese.
Relations between the residents of these two areas, already tense,
threaten to boil over as the trial approaches. The outcome of the
trial becomes all but certain until two events occur. A beautiful
minister and death penalty activist is ready to provide an alibi
for Bol on the night of the murder. Meanwhile, a university
professor, an activist with a penchant for bread and circus
audiences, comes forth with what he claims is evidence that Dennehy
sent the wrong man to Death Row in a capital punishment case tried
several years previously.


The accusation rocks the District Attorney's office, and Dennehy,
to the core. Yet Dennehy is unaware that both cases are going to
challenge him in ways he never thought possible on both a
professional and personal level, and that a dark and shadowy figure
from his past --- all but forgotten --- is about to seek
retribution and revenge against Dennehy and all who he holds
dear.


Reed Arvin is a marvel, pure and simple. BLOOD OF ANGELS has enough
intrigue and suspense for three novels, yet it never feels crammed
or unduly compressed. Arvin provides what is perhaps the fairest,
most balanced discourse on capital punishment I've encountered,
while at the same time he populates his story with characters who
the reader will honestly care about, and wonder about, when the
tale is told. I was reminded of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD in some ways,
PRESUMED INNOCENT in others; BLOOD OF ANGELS will sit on my annual
reading shelf with both of them. Highest possible
recommendation.


   










Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on December 22, 2010

Blood Of Angels
by Reed Arvin

  • Publication Date: June 28, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0060596341
  • ISBN-13: 9780060596347