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Pocket Books' "historian's note" for Solitary Man tells us that the story is set during the first half of season 4, and for a while I thought that Wesley was the titular character. After all, he's featured alone on the cover and that period of the show saw him estranged from the rest of Angel Investigations.

However, although the novel does show how Wes, and also Angel, are isolated, this isn't the case as the title actually refers to Obregon, an 18th century padre who has been imprisoned by the Scholars of the Infinite, a group which broke away from the Council of Watchers due to their reliance on the Slayer.

We're immediately introduced to avid crime novel reader Mildred Finster, who, after a lifetime of reading about detectives decides she wants to become one. And since her other interest is angels, there are no prizes for guessing which agency she approaches.

Several Buffyverse novels introduce us to a character, only to have them quickly become a victim of the latest Big Bad. That isn't the case here, and Mariotte also avoids having her constantly get in the way all the time. Yes, her involvement causes the AI team to have to look out for her, but she also discovers leads that the others don't.

Wesley might be working on his own, but that doesn't mean he's turned his back on his former colleagues entirely. He's still fighting the good fight, although he's also shagging Lilah Morgan on the side as well. But when the call for help comes from AI, he's willing to put their differences aside.

Unlike those Angel novels which present us with a string of bodies right from the start, Solitary Man builds the threats over the course of the novel. Cordy's vision leads them to a murdered truck driver, but just where do the comatose Gene Kinross and the two men with British accents who murder anyone they meet fit in.

The result is a generally entertaining novel. The different dynamics largely make a change from previous Angel novels, although the idea of "the hero learns not to turn his back on the others" is a familiar one to Buffyverse fans. Mariotte also makes the fights interesting as the bad guy forces Angel to risk fighting him in the sunlight, rather than merely padding out the page count with boring fight scenes.

Overall, one of the better Angel novels I've read recently. back tot the top

SOLITARY MAN

Written by JEFF MARIOTTE

POCKET BOOKS

£6.99


RATING: 7/10


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