Angel's Head

Fear of the future and dreams of the past collide in the remote New England island setting of this evocative, affecting tale by the author of Winter by Degrees . The island of Angel’s Head draws its own back as a summer ends. Mark is an unfulfilled journalist. Eliot is a developer who once planned to link the island to the mainland by bridge, a prospect that split apart the island community. Anne, an innkeeper hanging on as the island economy bottoms out, has loved–and still does–both men. But she has married another and has a teenage daughter and a taciturn father to support. Also on hand is Anne’s brother Randall, the victim of a nasty head injury years before. The first murder leaves Eliot gutted like a fish and brings two mainland cops who are interested in Mark’s recent whereabouts. The story line is fragmented with more death, many sexual encounters (mostly Anne’s, but also her daughter’s), an excess of red-herring characters and a merely satisfying resolution. Smolens’s prose, however, is an understated marvel, the kind of word wizardry that will draw non-genre readers into the crime fold. The dialogue is elliptical and pitch perfect, while the setting–the land and sea observed through fall and into winter–glistens with powerful sensuality.

(From Publishers Weekly)



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