Tuesday, June 26, 2012

TLC Book Review - Angel's Tip

Angel's Tip by Alafair Burke
Harper-Collins 2008
Format? Oversized paperback
Source? the publisher via TLC Book Tours
FTC Disclosure: I was provided a courtesy copy of Angel's Tip from the publisher via TLC Book tours in exchange for a review; however, the opinions are my own.

Why?  Alafair Burke was a new author for me when Angel's Tip came around on the TLC Book Tours for the month of June.  I'm a sucker for a fast paced mystery/detective/serial killer story, with a tough female protagonist so this is a natural match for me.

What Now?  After recommending this one to my firstborn, I'll be moving right along to 212, and Never Tell, the 3rd and 4th Ellie Hatcher novels :)

Golden Lines

Following Jordan out the double doors of Pulse, Stefanie tried to settle the uneasy feeling she still carried.  Last call was in an hour.  What was the worst that could happen?

Ellie shook her head at the stupidity of it all.  Attractive girl, scantily clad, underage.  Blasted out of her mind.  Wandering the streets of Manhattan alone in the middle of the night.  A few times a year, a handful of girls were killed after making the identical mistake.  And no one seemed to learn.

Ellie wanted to jump on Rogan's wheelchair and give him a big bear hug.  Instead, she nodded.  Nodding was always an acceptable way for cops to communicate with each other.

Ellie had spent her entire adult life chasing the normalcy that came to others as naturally and effortlessly as breathing.  Since the day her father's body was found, Ellie had been convinced that her darkest thoughts would someday be put to rest, once she finally uncovered the true circumstances surrounding his death.  But she had returned from Kansas with a new acceptance of the possibility that serenity would never be a part of her makeup.  She would always wake up with nightmares.  She would never learn to turn the job off.


On their morning run, Detective Ellie Hatcher and her brother Jess arrive first on the scene of a dumped body, the body of a young woman, Chelsea Hart, last seen partying with friends their last night in NYC on a Spring Break trip.  Ellie sees a possible pattern to the murder of Chesea and two older murders and has to decide whether to trust her instincts and follow the evidence or take the "by the book" safe and easy road.  Three days later, the killer strikes again, and Ellie has to act quickly.  Navigating the opinions, wants and directions of her partner Rogan, Lieutenant Eckels, the media, the DA's office, the dead girls' families and her own gut, Ellie has to eventually contend with a serial killer who begins sending her direct messages via the dead women. 
What I Liked
The partnership between Ellie and Rogan - Ellie's a little like Brenda Johnson in the first season of tv's The Closer because she is fighting for respect in her precinct.  Her partner, an African American, independently wealthy male, knows what that's like.  Their partnership is not perfect, but they shoot straight with one another and have those tough conversations rather than skimming over them and building up resentment. 
The setting - NYC - Manhattan, the surrounding neighborhoods, visuals, the directions provided...I'm certainly not a NYC expert, but I've been enough times to have a run-down of the general areas with which Burke tells this story...I felt like I was there with Ellie on the street at night, in the clubs, and during the day walking through and visiting suspects.

Up to date mentions - Natalee Holloway, CSI society, etc...Ellie talks about the kinds of things all of us talk about...crime related anyway.  I think Burke pulls you into the story with well known cases and societal expectations of the criminal justice system and law enforcement.

Moralistic nature - without being preachy, Burke talks to young women who are at that time in their lives where they are truly enjoying life...the time where for whatever reason, fueled by alcohol and drugs, they trust those they shouldn't and put themselves into situations they always said they wouldn't.  They separate from their friends and become prey.  Is it fair? No.  Should it happen? No.  Do they ask for it? Hell no!  Just bc a girl goes partying doesn't mean she wants to be raped or die.
  Unfortunately, the reality is that there are sick people in the world just waiting for any of us to make a mistake.  Young women must learn to stick together, set limits, and get home safely. 

What I Didn't Like
Peter - Peter made it onto my "What I Liked" category after reading the first Ellie Hatcher book, Dead Connection...and now he's sooooo in the "What I Didn't Like" category that it's not even funny.  I actually feel kinda stupid for liking him in the first place :/ I can't tell you why though bc there are spoilers involved in any explanation I could come up with :(

This case went in a lot of different directions, and by the time it was all put together, I had to actually read a few things again to fully make the connections...that's probably just my mushy brain, but wow, Burke can really spin an intricate web :)  I'll be interested to see what others thought of this.

Overall Recommendation

Burke hits women's issues with Angel's Tip.  Even the title refers to a dessert type cocktail ordered frequently by the first murdered girl.  Another fast-paced thriller, with an intelligent female detective at the wheel...if you enjoy this kind of read with a NYC background, you'll like Burke's Ellie Hatcher novels.

Other Tour Stops

Also, visit Alafair on Facebook, Twitter and/or her website.


  1. Intelligent female lead characters are definitely a draw for me so I think I'd enjoy this book. Thanks for being on the tour!