The Judgement Of Strangers

The Judgement Of Strangers 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.


We found the mutilated corpse of Lord Peter in the early evening of Thursday the 13th August, 1970. He was the first victim of a train of events which began towards the end of the previous summer when I met Vanessa Forde – or even before that, with Audrey Oliphant and The History of Roth.


I thought The Judgement of Strangers was great. I loved it in the end though for a while I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. The book is really slow at the start and I just wasn’t getting into it. I was a bit thrown by the fact it was written in a different structure to The Four Last Things. Unlike the first book in the trilogy, this is narrated in the first person, by the vicar David, father of the killer Angel from The Four Last Things. After a while though, I fell into the book and loved it. Sinister and unsettling things happen but the perpetrator is not revealed until the final chapter. Even though I knew who was behind the sinister events nothing is overtly stated. I loved the end of the novel and how even though so much came together there were still a lot of questions. The Judgement of Strangers offers a glimpse into the past of Angel, the killer in The Four Last Things and how she started on the path that led to her becoming a child killer. I am looking forward to reading the last book in the trilogy, The Office of the Dead which takes us right back to Rosemary aka Angel’s childhood.

  • Read my review of The Four Last Things here




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