The Second Angel, by Philip Kerr

It's 2069, and a blood-borne disease has emerged which has infected most of the world's population. Those carrying the disease can look forward to an early death; the only cure is a complete blood transfusion from a healthy person. But all the healthy people are making regular donations, which are kept in secure vaults, to be drawn on if and when they themselves become ill....well, that's just some of the background of the story, and there's quite a lot of plot as well.

I read this one after being impressed with The Shot, so was expecting another crime thriller, not a futuristic sci-fi book. It was still a crime thriller, I suppose, but there was sufficient technical detail in here that I wouldn't have guessed this wasn't his primary genre.

I think this book was more impressive than enjoyable - he's got a lot of ideas, and the future world was well imagined. In fact, there was quite a lot of thriller plot - the most eminent designer of the secure vaults finds himself on the wrong side of the law, pursued by assassins and recruiting a bunch of outlaws to break into one of his own vaults. But that didn't quite grab me in the same way as The Shot.

That's not to say this wasn't a good book though. But while I'd happily recommend The Shot to someone who likes thrillers, I would recommend this one only to someone who likes sci-fi. And I can't imagine the woman in the shop who suggested I read Philip Kerr was thinking of this one (unless she was pretty atypical - not many women like sci-fi so far as I can tell).

I've got another book by Kerr (Esau) which looks different again, and some audiobooks on order which are based in 1930's Berlin so you have to admire his range.

Completed : 27-Mar-2010

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