The Angel Makers by Patti McCracken – Review

The Angel Makers by Patti McCracken Book Review logo

By Sandra Callard

In The Angel Makers, Patti McCracken plunges readers into a realm of shocking veracity that is both captivating and unsettling. This absorbing narrative unfurls as a true account, chronicling the harrowing tale of an astonishingly prolific murder syndicate – the largest ever recorded in history. McCracken’s prose possesses a magnetic quality, drawing readers ever closer to a chilling reality that is as disturbing as it is compelling.

Set against the backdrop of Nagyrev, a remote Hungarian village nestled some sixty miles from Budapest, The Angel Makers meticulously unveils a dark secret that lay hidden for years. A string of inexplicable deaths had plagued the village, where a sinister pattern emerged: women, many of whom were wives, systematically poisoning their male counterparts with arsenic. The motives ranged from domestic strife and jealousy to financial duress. At the epicenter of this macabre tale is Auntie Suzy, an elderly midwife who orchestrated the distribution of the lethal poison in exchange for considerable payments. As the truth eventually surfaced, the death toll stood at a staggering 160 victims.

The Angel Makers by Patti McCracken Book Review cover“Horrified and intrigued”

McCracken’s delves into the intricate web of circumstances that gave birth to this calamity. With a discerning eye, she brings the characters to life, immersing readers in this unknown village and its inhabitants. Through sharp research and vivid descriptions, the author recreates a world long gone by, painting a vivid picture of an era, a place, and the individuals who inhabited it.

The audacity of the subject matter could easily deter the faint-hearted, but McCracken handles it with finesse, steering clear of gratuitous gore. Instead, she focuses on unraveling the psychology behind these chilling deeds, offering a narrative that is both engrossing and intellectually stimulating. The reader is left both horrified and intrigued by the convergence of circumstance and choice that allowed such horrors to flourish.

The Angel Makers is not merely a morbid chronicle—it’s a testament to McCracken’s prowess as a storyteller who deftly navigates the treacherous terrain of historical true crime. As the pages turn, a haunting question lingers: Could such an aberration happen again? McCracken’s work urges us to confront the darkness within humanity’s past while hoping for a more enlightened future.

‘The Angel Makers’ by Patti McCracken is published by HarperCollins


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