4912857The Angels Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is not the kind of book that can easily be put into words once you read it.

Set in Barcelona Italy in the early 1900s, we follow our lead character David Martin as he tries to make a living for himself writing, first as a journalist, then as an author of penny dreadful crime stories.

Orphaned at a young age when his abusive father was shot to death in front of him, trapped in a contract writing things he hates, with a tumor in his brain that is slowly killing him, in love with a woman he can never have who winds up marrying his best friend, residing in a mansion who’s dark history is slowly seeping into his life like a poison, David’s life is not the easiest one to live.

But then one day a local bookseller, whom Martin has known all his life and has looked up to as the father figure he never had, takes him to a vast library nestled in a forgotten necropolis Called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, where he finds a mad man’s bible.  Shortly thereafter, he is contacted by a mysterious publisher who asks him to create a masterpiece of religion.  David accepts, and takes the first step on his journey of madness and immortality.

I cannot begin to describe to you more than that because so much happens in this book I’m not even sure I caught all of it.  In the end though, we know that David has lost everything that he has ever loved, but is both blessed and cursed with the chance to start over in at least one thing.

And the true identity of the publisher is never fully revealed.  Is he an angel as the book’s name suggests?  The devil himself?  Is he an aspect of David Martin that acts independently of the whole? Or is he a figment of David’s imagination?  Is anything that he experienced within the pages of the Angels Game real or was it all machinations of a broken mind?

The Angels game is a fantastic, dark, gruesome read. It intrigued me and unsettled me and got me thinking in so many different directions.  I absolutely loved it.

Moving on to book 9 of Ja No Read Mo 2017: Fingal O’Reilly, Irish Doctor by Patrick Taylor.

17332281Fans of Taylor’s bestselling Irish Country novels know Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly as the irascible senior partner of a general practice in the colorful Irish village of Ballybucklebo. Newly married to his once long-lost sweetheart, he’s ready to settle into domestic bliss, but there’s always something requiring his attention, be it a riding accident, a difficult patient with a worrisome heart condition, a spot of grouse-hunting, or even some tricky shenanigans at the local dog races.

The everyday complications of village life are very different from the challenges Fingal faced nearly thirty years earlier, when fresh out of medical school, the young Dr. O’Reilly accepts a post at the Aungier Street Dispensary, tending to the impoverished denizens of Dublin’s tenement slums. Yet even as he tries to make a difference, Fingal’s tireless devotion to his patients may cost him his own true love….

Shifting back and forth between the present and the past, Patrick Taylor’s captivating Fingal O’Reilly, Irish Doctor, brings to life both the green young man O’Reilly once was and the canny village doctor readers have come to know and admire.