The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

A Barcelona writer of cheesy crime fiction, David Martin, lives in the shadow of his famous, but less talented writer friend, Pedro Vidal.  Critical acclaim eludes David, and then he finds out he has terminal cancer.  Enter the mysterious publisher, Andreas Corelli, who promises David a fortune in exchange for David writing him a religious epic.  When David accepts, his cancer is miraculously cured, and the unscrupulous publishers who held the rights to all of David’s publications die in a suspicious fire. Also, David covets Cristina, the wife of Pedro Vidal, and his affair with her leads to her death, perhaps orchestrated by Corelli.

Interesting, deal-with-the-devil stuff, and Zafon kept up a suspenseful air between the characters throughout.  The relationships between David and Corelli and David and Cristina were the best parts.  The other story lines—a young wannabe writer who befriends David, a struggling local bookstore, and the mystical Cemetery of Forgotten Books—felt grafted on and made the book unnecessarily long at 500-plus pages.

I won’t say I couldn’t put it down, but Zafon provided enough creepy  to make me want to see how David would fare in the end, perhaps because I think all writers are flirting with the devil whether they know it or not.  Angel’s Game is good enough to stay on my shelf even if its spine is a bit too thick.

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