In this third Isaiah Coleridge novel, ex-majordomo and bodyguard to an industrial tycoon-cum-U.S. senator, Badja Adeyemi hires Coleridge to tie up a loose end: the suspicious death of his nephew four years earlier. So it is that Coleridge and his investigative partner, Lionel Robard, find themselves in the upper reaches of New York State, in a tiny town that is home to outsized secrets and an unnerving cabal of locals who are protecting them.
... a book that straddles the detective and horror genres to great effect ... Barron drops enough info-nuggets throughout the novel to ensure that newcomers aren’t lost at sea, though these folks likely will want to duck back to see what they have missed ... At times, Coleridge’s interior first-person narration tends to prattle on for just a bit too long. However, just when you think that Barron is veering off the narrative highway into the weeds (sometimes he seems to think he’s on Facebook), he comes up with the most memorable sentences and passages. We’re talking underlining/highlighting/writing in the notebook lines, the ones that other authors will be using for epigraphs in their own stories ... It is this quality alone that makes Worse Angels worth reading and recommending as we await the next entry --- and hopefully the return of some of the nightmares that we experience here.
... intricate and deftly ... The details that Barron chooses to populate the story with at first feel disparate and random, but his vivid choices turn out to pay dividends as the story goes on. For example, Coleridge’s knowledge of ancient mythology bleeds over into the narrative and even starts to influence the reader’s perspective on the plot. Though I admit I thought certain details simply created clutter, I’m happy with the risks Barron took in the name of atmosphere and payoff. I’ll admit I have not always stayed up to date on modern mystery. I’m more frequently conscripted to review the sci-fi and fantasy genres, where entire universes are rendered for the first time onto the page. However, there’s something about Worse Angels that feels similar to my usual gig. Feeling like a character is strong enough to guide you through the unknown is as relevant here as it is in more fantastic settings.
Although author Barron displays an ability to move along the multilayered plot, his frequently florid prose slows things down, especially when Coleridge takes a philosophical turn: 'Reality is a frequency, time is a ring, and gravity bleeds through a membrane that cocoons this universe.' It will take a reader even tougher than the protagonist to hold on till the end of this story.