Sacramento News Review by Kel Munger
When a little girl shows up on Margaret Quinn’s doorstep in the middle of a snowstorm, she doesn’t call Child Protective Services. Instead, she invites Norah in, makes her at home and concocts a plot to pass the 9-year-old off as her granddaughter.
Keith Donohue’s second book, Angels of Destruction, unwinds a quarter century’s worth of mystery by creating another mystery: Who is Norah, where did she come from, and what is her connection to the Angels of Destruction, a ’70s political cult even weirder, more violent and less organized than the Symbionese Liberation Army?
Donohue, whose first novel, The Stolen Child, was very well-received, isn’t writing horror or occult fiction so much as he is creating a mystic atmosphere around the mundane. Margaret Quinn’s daughter has been gone for a long time; she ran off with her boyfriend to join the Angels of Destruction and is presumed dead. But Margaret clings to the belief that she’s alive, and her desire for Norah to be her granddaughter is almost enough to make it so. The language is dense and dreamlike, reflecting the difficulty that the characters themselves seem to have with separating reality from the stuff of their dreams.
But what if the angel that answers our deepest prayers has an agenda of her own? Margaret’s dream of family and Norah’s insistence on having her own way set up a dramatic collision that Donohue navigates deftly. With lush language and a rich emotional terrain to cover, Angels of Destruction is a dark but hopeful fable of family.