The Four Last Things

The Four Last Things by Andrew Taylor
Published by HarperCollins
Published 5 June 2014
640 pages

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I have the complete Roth Trilogy on my kindle, combined and re-named Fallen Angel: The Roth Trilogy. As the books are complex I’ve decided to review each one separately rather have a long-winded review trying to cover all three novels. 


Like an archaeological dig, The Roth Trilogy strips away the past to reveal the menace lurking in the present: ‘Taylor has established a sound reputation for writing tense, clammy novels that perceptively penetrate the human psyche’ – Marcel Berlins, The Times.

The shadow of past evil hangs over the present in Andrew Taylor’s Roth Trilogy as he skilfully traces the influences that have come to shape the mind of a psychopath.

Beginning, in The Four Last Things, with the abduction of little Lucy Appleyard and a grisly discovery in a London graveyard, the layers of the past are gradually peeled away through The Judgement of Strangers and The Office of the Dead to unearth the dark and twisted roots of a very immediate horror that threatens to explode the serenity of Rosington’s peaceful Cathedral Close.


All his life Eddie had believed in Father Christmas. In childhood his belief had been unthinking and literal; he clung to it for longer than his contemporaries and abandoned it only with regret. In its place came another conviction, another Father Christmas: less defined than the first and therefore less vulnerable. 


I’ve wanted to read Taylor’s, The Roth Trilogy for years since I saw the amazing TV adaption, Fallen Angel. The Four Last Things did not disappoint. I loved it. I don’t remember everything about the TV series so read the book with fresh eyes. This is different than the usual serial killer fare. There’s no blood and guts. The pace is very slow. This is an intense, dark, mesmerising novel. I thought it was amazing. I loved the religious overtones linked to Lucy’s disappearance and the clues Angel leaves behind. Everything is drip-fed slowly and the clues are sparse so you really need to read to the end to join up all the dots. This is not a book you can work out on your own. The characters are wonderfully complex. Angel is creepy and unsettling – she truly is a monster with the face of an angel. Eddie is a sympathetic character even though there are hints he likes children a bit too much. I felt sorry for how easily Angel manipulates him and felt proud when he tries to make things right. I loved the ending, the final sentence that turns everything on its head (unless you’ve watched the TV series). I cannot wait to read The Judgement of Strangers which delves into Angel’s adolescence.




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