Death of an Angel

ISBN: 0312952775
ISBN 13: 9780312952778
By: Don Davis

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Currently Reading Default Mystery Thriller Non Fiction Nonfiction Printed Rhode_island To Read True Crime Truecrime

About this book

When prosperous lawyer Ernest Brendel mysteriously disappeared, along with his wife Alice, and their 8-year-old daughter Emily, friends in the close-knit Rhode Island neighborhood worried that family had been kidnapped. It would be agonizing months in a massive FBI search before they would know the heartbreaking truth.The shaken community began to lose hope that the family would ever be found alive. Their worst fears were confirmed when heavy rains from a tropical storm uncovered Alice and Ernest Brendel's badly decomposed bodies--shot with a giant crossbow, strangled, and buried in the quiet woods of the town. Lying under her mother's corpse was little Emily's lifeless body, now a silent witness to her killer's shocking identity.Like a hand pointing from the grave, the evidence led authorities to one of Ernest Brendel's closest and most trusted friends. What Ernest couldn't have known was that Christopher Hightower--a Sunday school teacher and respected member of the community--was a psychotic liar obsessed with greed, jealousy, and murderous revenge.

Reader's Thoughts


Hightower may be a psychopath but he was also completely moronic. I could not get over how stupid he was..


This story really got to me, found myself crying about half way through. The investigators on this case got so close to the victims and the author made the reader know and love them too. A really really good true crime read!


Interesting true story read.


Massive disclaimer: I only read this book because my best friend was one of the kids on that APL field trip with Emily Brendel, and her disappearance and murder affected him deeply. So, for that, this book was important for me to read.Dispassionately, though, the book was alright. I don't particularly care for the true crime genre, mostly because it seems to attract the worst sort of sensationalist hack writers. Sometimes, of course, you get writers who are happy to let the facts speak for themselves, such as in the exemplary book I reviewed here. Unfortunately, Death Of An Angel was not written by one of those authors. My best friend and I agreed that the writing could be heinously pulpy, but it didn't actually bother me till later in the book. Don Davis (as he's credited on the cover) considers abusing an exclamation point a necessary part of any description involving anger, which works when used in regard to Hightower's murderous rage, but is an astonishingly poor choice when then used to describe the assistant district attorney's unhappiness with the courtroom atmosphere. The bit where he writes "Cookies! Barks and bites! Mr McDonald!" had me rolling my eyes with the unnecessary over-wroughtness of the prose. Worse, treating the two with the same sort of language makes it seem as if the two situations are similar, and downplays the horror of the crime.I also really hated that Mr Davis was using innuendo to make it seem that Hightower was even more sinister than the facts would show. From the testimony and evidence alone, it was obvious that Hightower was a Grade A psychopath. The unsupported insinuations just made Mr Davis' credibility as a case-builder weaker.So, not a book I would read again, except for how it chronicled an influential period in my best friend's life, one I dearly wish he'd never had to undergo.

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