First lines: The Angel’s Game

An ambitious young writer makes a living writing sensationalist mystery stories. When a mysterious French publisher makes him an offer he cannot refuse—write a book, or rather, create a religion and receive a small fortune. Reluctantly he takes the job, and intrigue, murder and mystery follow.

The Angel’s Game is a dreamy novel. You can’t quite pin down whether or not the narrator makes the whole thing up or if it all actually happened that way. I mean, he miraculously recovers from a terminal brain tumor after spending a night in his shady publisher’s house. That’s a little to implausible to take for granted. Unless our hero has indeed sold his soul to the devil. In that case, good health insurance might be one of the job’s benefits.

It’s a lovely, flamboyant, meandering and pulpy read that doesn’t mind employing a cliche or two, three. While perhaps not as good as The Shadow of the Wind, but if you liked that one, this one won’t disappoint.

Carlos Ruiz Zafón — The Angel’s Game (El Juego del Ángel, translated by Lucia Graves)
A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange of a story.