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A Quiet Belief In Angels [Hardcover]

R.J. Ellory
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (463 customer reviews)

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Book Description

22 Aug 2007

Joseph Vaughan's life has been dogged by tragedy. Growing up in the 1940s, he was at the centre of series of killings of young girls in his small rural community. The girls were taken, assaulted and left horribly mutilated. Barely a teenager himself, Joseph becomes determined to try to protect his community and classmates from the predations of the killer.

But despite banding together with his friends as 'Guardians', he was powerless to prevent more murders - and no one was ever caught. Only after a full ten years did the nightmare end when the one of his neighbours is found hanging from a rope - with articles from the dead girls around him. Thankfully though, the killings finally ceased.

Ill-fortune was not yet done with Joseph though and in desperation he leaves the town of his birth to forge a new life in New York. But the past won't leave him alone - for it seems that the real murderer still lives and is killing again. And the secret of his identity lies in Joseph's own history?

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (22 Aug 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752873687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752873688
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (463 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,014,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

RJ Ellory is the author of twelve novels, all published in the UK by Orion, and available in twenty-six additional languages. They are:
BAD SIGNS (2011)
'Candlemoth', his first-published, was shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Steel Dagger, as was his fourth, 'City of Lies', in 2006. His fifth novel, 'A Quiet Belief In Angels' was a Richard & Judy Book Club selection in 2007, and went on to win the Livre De Poche Award, The Strand Magazine Novel of The Year, The Mystery Booksellers of America Award, the USA National Indie Excellence Award for Best Mystery and the Inaugural Nouvel Observateur Prize. 'A Quiet Vendetta' won the Quebec Laureat, the Villeneuve Readers' Prize and the St. Maur Prize. 'A Simple Act of Violence', Ellory's sixth novel, won the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year 2010. He has been nominated for a further thirteen international awards including two Barrys, the Association 813 Trophy, and the Europeen Du Point. He has also written the screenplay of 'A Quiet Belief In Angels' for Oscar-winning director, Olivier Dahan, and has optioned 'A Dark and Broken Heart' for film. His novella 'Three Days in Chicagoland' is being released as a French graphic novel at the end of 2014, and he has published short stories in numerous British and American magazines. Ellory is also the guitar player in Zero Navigator, and is soon to record an album of songs co-written with Martin Smith of ELO in a project entitled The Whiskey Poets. He was born in Birmingham, U.K., and continues to make this his home with his long-suffering wife, idiosyncratic son and two troublesome cats.

Product Description


Once again R.J. Ellory shows off his special talents... This isn't your standard shock and bore serial killer novel. It's an impassioned story of a man's life told in Ellory's distinctive voice, and it confirms his place in the top flight of crime writing. (Susanna Yager Sunday Telegraph)

Each jolt strikes perfectly, and the reader will seek, utterly riveted, this masochistic beating right to the end of the book... This is thriller writing of the very highest order. (Matthew Lewin The Guardian)

Book Description

The powerful and atmospheric thriller from the author of CITY OF LIES

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
122 of 135 people found the following review helpful
This is a book with a terrific plot ... in a small town in Georgia young girls start to disappear and then are found brutally raped and murdered. No one knows who the killer is and the authorities seem to have no suspects.

Jospeh Vaughan is a young man growing up in the midst of these killings. His father has just died and the first world war has broken out in Europe. He is struggling to come to terms with death as he sees it all around him. The murders of the girls affect him deeply and he is encouraged by his school teacher to write about his experiences. He calls together a group of friends to become 'Guardians' who vow to look out for and protect all the little girls in the area.

The murders remain unsolved, although we know from the beginning of the novel that at some stage - many years after the first killings occurred - Joseph realises who is responsible for the killings. Interspersing the main story chapters are mini-chapters which gradually outline Joseph's eventual confrontation with the killer.

Ellory is a great storyteller. He sets the scene for this novel perfectly - you're there in Georgia at the outbreak of the first world war, you can see the schoolroom where Joseph learns his lessons, you feel the anguish of the people of the town as little girls are taken and killed and no one knows who is doing it. For the first 200 pages I could hardly bear to put the book down.

HOWEVER ... [I'm keeping details vague here so I don't spoil the story for anyone who hasn't read the book yet ...]

After the first half of the book, you start feeling it's never going to end. There's so much repetition that you begin to skim over lines. I didn't get the whole 'Guardians' thing ...
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53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting 18 Mar 2008
By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER
Despite its rather grim plotline - the story of a man who is haunted throughout his life by a vicious child-killer - this is a very good book which I enjoyed despite my initial suspicion.

The novel's narrator is a likable, multifaceted character, and the others characters are mainly very strong. I genuinely liked most of them, and yet simultaneously suspected all of them. It managed to keep me guessing as to the killer's identity right up until the last few pages - a rare feat for a book. RJ Ellory does a brilliant job of conjuring up an atmosphere of suspicion and fear, whilst setting it against the ordinary happenings of everyday life.

The writing is elegant and almost poetic in sections. However, at times I found it a little frustrating as it became bogged down in digressions or descriptions when I was desperate for it to get on with the plot. It also had a slowish start, although I did warm to it quite fast. As the story is narrated retrospectively it sometimes gave just a little too much hindsight, which did get annoying at times.

However, by the end of the book I was completely hooked and stayed up much later than I should have because I couldn't stop reading. It is gripping and compelling, and yet also manages to be thought provoking. This isn't a lightweight thriller - there is real depth to the characters and storytelling.

The subject matter (the murders of over 30 little girls) makes for uncomfortable reading at times, as you would expect, and the book is unflinching in describing the horror of these crimes. I found it deeply haunting, chilling and disquieting - the sort of book you lay awake thinking about.

Overall, a very powerful though somewhat upsetting book, which manages to combine a strong emotional element with a (mostly) page-turningly gripping plot.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply wonderful 6 Aug 2008
Well i just finished this book this evening, and i cant stop thinking about it! And had it not been for my beloved Richard & Judy i probably wouldnt of ever heard of R.J Ellory or this amazing book so big thanks to them!

Ok, so my usual books are chick-lit but i have more serious books on my shelf for when i feel like been serious! i've had this book a while and always chose my chick-lit over it. but then i decided i needed something heavier. so i picked this out from my shelf not really expecting much, even though i'd seen the good reviews. As soon as i started reading i instantly thought it was a mistake to have bought this book, the first chapter wasnt brilliant and i thought it would be one of those pretentious, awful books where you get the feeling the author doesnt care whether you understand it or not. But i stayed with it, and by the second chapter things improved greatly, and it just got better and better from there.

Throught the book i grew so fond of Joseph and felt great sympathy for him. He is such a great central character. And i even felt like i knew the town and the people in it such was the great descriptive writing from R.J Ellory. And i was so excited to get to the end and find out who the killer was, and even though i was sure i knew who it was, i got it wrong and had the shock of my life. such a great twist. Infact, there were many great, unexpected things that happened in this book. The book ended very neatly too, and although i would of liked the killer to have been tortured a bit more, in hindsight, it was ok because the answers to all the questions i had in my head throught the book were answered for me.

I think of the first chapter, and how i wanted to put the book down forever, and i wonder how many people actually did do that, well if you did then go back and pick it up and keep reading!! i promise it will be worth it. A truly great book, i also have "city of lies" by the author, i'm hoping that's just as good too!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, very well written like the rest of ...
Great book, very well written like the rest of his stuff, stays in the mind long after you've finished it.
Published 12 days ago by Sykes
5.0 out of 5 stars A five star plus! Read this book!
Superb novel - can't praise this enough! Beautifully written, it held me spellbound right to the very end. Can't recommend it highly enough. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Bookworm
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read
I found this a wonderful book . I enjoyed every minute . I don't think I could improve on the comments made by the others who gave it 5 stars . Read more
Published 24 days ago by Elliot Globetrotter
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
i know it's had good reviews but I couldn't get past first couple of pages
Published 29 days ago by Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Lovely book would recommend it.
Published 1 month ago by Dymphnamarie
3.0 out of 5 stars Too slow
I really wanted to like this book as the plot was harrowing and Ellory is clearly a decent writer. However I found it too indulgent in description and the pace just far too slow. Read more
Published 1 month ago by JennyB
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend
A terrific read, emotional, evocative, amazing similes and descriptions plus a plot full of twists and turns that keeps you guessing until (nearly) the end
Published 1 month ago by Coshbrew
4.0 out of 5 stars What a twist!
I have to admit at times I found the story a little slow but now realise it fitted with the style of the book and the twist at the end made it compelling reading.
Published 2 months ago by Victoria Makepeace
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I did not find it gripping until towards the very end.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshingly different book
This is not my usual reading material but I read the kindle write up and thought I'd try it. It's a great story and a real page turner. You just had to keep on reading it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kevin Foote
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What is it about Ellorys writing that makes him so uniique? 27 2 Jul 2013
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