Tim Green,
The Fifth Angel
(Time Warner, 2003)

The Fifth Angel is the latest thriller by best-selling author Tim Green. Having reviewed a previous audiobook rather favorably, I will admit that I was eagerly awaiting the chance to review Tim's new tale. In short, while The Fifth Angel does not quite rank up as high as The Fourth Perimeter, I still thought it was enjoyable to hear.

Jack Ruskin is a respected partner in a well-known law firm. After his teenage daughter is abducted and tortured by a deranged pervert, Jack decides to take the law into his own hands and rid the world of some of the sex offenders who continuously manage to evade lifetime jail terms. These criminals make their way back to the streets, yet they are never cured and ultimately commit more acts of violence on the innocent. Due to his background as a prosecutor, Jack knows how to murder the guilty without leaving any clues to connect him to the scene.

Using public records, he selects his victims based on their crimes. On the one hand, ridding the world of these evil perpetrators might not sound like a bad thing. But the listener will have to admit that Jack seems a little crazy himself since he is, in a sense, playing God (or in this case, an angel of God).

FBI agent Amanda Lee has two young children and is in a marriage that is not as strong as it once was. During an investigation that went terribly awry, Amanda witnessed the murder of her partner. While she managed to shoot the killer, his partner escaped and, unknown to Amanda, started working on a plan of revenge. After a leave of absence, Amanda is assigned to a case of what appears to be a stalker of sex offenders. She is partnered with David McGrew. This obnoxious young cop has been on Jack's trail ever since one of the murders was committed in David's jurisdiction. It is bad enough that Amanda is obviously still torn up over her partner's murder, but now she has to babysit this kid who has apparently seen one too many cop shows.

As the story unfolds, Amanda will eventually catch up with Jack despite his best efforts to conceal his trail. What will she do when she finally confronts him? Will Jack literally get away with murder? Will Amanda and her family survive their own stalker? It will only take about six hours for you to find out.

And at the end of the tapes, you will have the added bonus of a short interview with the author. What I find amazing about Green is that he played pro football for years. Not only is he also a best-selling author, but he is currently a practicing attorney in New York! That blows my theory that intelligence and violent sports don't mix. He must have had a really good helmet!

The abridged audiobook version of The Fifth Angel is read by Tate Donovan, whose voice you might recognize from the Disney cartoon Hercules. When I popped the first tape in the player, I had a hard time distinguishing between the characters. They all sounded very similar. By side 2 of tape 1, Tate had redeemed himself. The voices started taking on a life of their own. While not the best audiobook reader I've heard, Tate can definitely keep your attention once he gets into the story.

In my opinion, The Fifth Angel is not Green's best work, but I think most fans will still find it decent entertainment. During his interview, Tim mentioned that he is already at work on his next novel. I was pretty sure that it was going to be called The Sixth something-or-other, but he says the working title is along the lines of The First 48. His description makes it sound like a pretty gripping story. Until it is released, if you aren't familiar with his previous work, this gives you a chance to catch up.

- Rambles
written by Wil Owen
published 26 July 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.