Sarah Unaware

Apologies for absence all. I have no other excuse than sheer craziness at work and the sad, sad fact that there just hasn’t been much reading time available.

Well, that and the only thing I’ve been reading is the embarrassingly mainstream shenanigans of Mike Ripley.

Angels Unaware is actually the fifteenth book in the series featuring charming private detective Fitzroy Angel, but it’s the first one I’ve read properly. It’s about a man called “Angel” – how could I not give it a try? Best of all, it doesn’t fall into the dreaded category of Chick Lit, cos it’s about a guy by a guy – exactly what I was looking for! (NOT. Read below: what did I say about reading a book by a woman about a woman? Duh).

Having said that, it hasn’t done much to improve my attitude towards men, even in the literary sense. I have a healthy respect for the author, yes – churning out sixteen books about the same leading man and making them new and interesting every time is a feat he should be recognized for – but maybe that’s just it. In a bid to keep things interesting, he went a little bit too far. And the leading man, who was single before and charming, is put in a completely different environment but given the same single man’s approach, which just does not work.

So Angel has finally gotten married and produced an heir. But do we know the heir’s name? Or even sex? No, because throughout the entire book, all it ever gets called is “the baby.” Maybe this is because what’s happening at home, with Angel’s dear little wife and child, is superfluous to the main plot line, but seriously, little things like names add credibility. It’s like Angel’s background is just that – a flat cardboard cut-out on a stage. His wife has a hastily outlined life story, but other than that she appears only as a voice on the other end of the telephone as Angel goes gadding about trying to solve the latest mystery and getting shot at. (I do love when they get shot at!). (although, actually, you’d think with that to put up with she’d be a nagging shrew, but she seems surprisingly OK with being left alone to cope with “the baby” and Angel’s crazy hippy mother).

What’s my point? Not that I want the author to go off on a tangent and spend ages setting the scene with the stories of secondary characters, but I ask: why did he marry off his character, if he didn’t want him to be married? The Angel series is about a lone man, off in the wild yonder, solving crimes and getting into trouble. And yet, in this book, he’s teamed up with an all-female agency, the director of which is his new wife, and had a kid. Why? Was the schtick getting old? Did the books need more women? Did Ripley feel the Angel couldn’t survive a sixteenth book on his own?

I just don’t think you can take a lone ranger, drop him in a family scene, and still expect him to act like a lone ranger. The wife gets left alone, the baby exsists without a name, and the lone ranger doesn’t “get the girl” at the end anymore in that satisfactory end we long for, because he’s already got one at home.

Damn. I was actually enjoying it before I had to go and pick it apart. Why can’t I just leave well enough alone?

Really looking forward to reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, which should arrive any day now.

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