Angel Rock by Darren WilliamsWednesday 21 Aug 2002
Harper Collins, €17.38
Set in a town in the Australian bush in 1969, 'Angel Rock' tells the tale of two half brothers who get lost on their way home - only the eldest, Tom, returns safely. Meanwhile, in Sydney a girl from the same town is found dead. Gibson, an ageing and worn out policeman, traces her back to Angel Rock.
Williams' second novel is part coming of age tale, part detective story, as both Tom and Gibson must come to terms with the reality of their lives and learn to accept their situations. Tom's refusal to give up on his brother gives him the courage he needs to face his fears - and his enemies in the guise of his stepfather and the local bully.
In his quest to discover the truth, Gibson is also looking for truth in his own sad life. The ghosts of his own past come back to haunt him as he digs into the girl's history. Ultimately he must find a way to allow both the girl, and his own demons, rest in peace.
This compelling tale flawlessly intertwines the lives of both Tom and Gibson. Williams' story is complex and slow-moving but that is its beauty; he explores a multitude of themes from fear, sadness and loneliness to friendship, hope and love. He also explores the closeness of experience between youth and age as Tom and Gibson face similar demons.
As an examination of the nature of good and evil, 'Angel Rock' is thought provoking and beautifully written. Its language is simple, and the story unfolds slowly but surely. The pace allows suspense and the mystery to build, leaving you to ponder Williams' themes and comparisons long after the book comes to an end.