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Bad Signs Paperback – 27 Sep 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (27 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409118592
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409118596
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 227,840 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


Set in the 1960s, the content may be dark and unforgiving but it is a beautifully and poetically planned tale that reveals itself layer by layer. (CANDIS)

Though [Ellory's] books always provide a wild and giddy ride, there is more to them than thrills, chills and spills. Bad Signs is rich, complex and nuanced, with many psychological undercurrents. It's edge-of-the-seat entertainment. (Lorne Jackson BIRMINGHAM POST)

He's one of the great British thriller writers of his generation. (Alex Gordon PETERBOROUGH EVENING TELEGRAPH)

Set in an utterly convincing 1960s rural America, this is a jaw droppingly good thriller by British writer Roger Ellory. (IRISH INDEPENDENT)

Ellory's the real deal, giving us another horrific chunk of small-town American violence, neglect and psychopathy. Institutionalised half brothers Clarence and Elliott have a startling choice to make when they are kidnapped by a convicted serial killer **** (Henry Sutton DAILY MIRROR)

Violent imagery, real pathos and a dark, dark humour. Without doubt, Bad Signs is Ellory's most disturbing book, and one that will haunt the reader (Ali Karim SHOTS)

One of the most interesting crime novelists working today. He sets his novels in the US and seems to change his style of writing from book to book - always to excellent effect. (THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN)

With this novel, Ellory has joined the stars of modern genre literature. It is a classic. (THE WEST AUSTRALIAN)

Will your fingernails ever grow back? Now, that is good writing. This is a stellar work of fiction that deserves to be on everyone's reading list. Loved it. (SHOTS)

Ellory has been compared to Mario Puzo, James Ellory and Stephen King. All descriptions are accurate, but they fail to define Ellory's unique style. He is a very special writer.


Ellory has a talent for making the detestable captivating. An intricate fictional dance whicn he pulls off expertly. (KIRKUS)

Ellory has a lovely prose style that allows his story to glide on, as events both rivet and repel. [An] excellent action thriller. (GLOBE & MAIL)

It's a cliche to praise a crime novel for its adroit marshalling of suspense, but there is no choice here (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Book Description

A superb thriller from the acclaimed author of A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kirstie 381 on 13 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
I discovered this author just befor xmas last year (2011) and since then have read, 'A Quiet Belief in Angels', 'Anniversary Man' and 'Saints of New York'...All of which I'd give 5*'s. What a fantastically amazing writer. I'm finding it hard to choose books by other authors to read in-between these master-pieces. I'm a big fan of Peter James and Mark Billingham - I love both their series and stand alone novels but they generally seem to be about the same issues and subjects. Ellory on the other hand seems to have a bottomless pit of ideas that upon first impression may risk being far-fetched but every book so far has been un-put-downable. High drama and tension courses through the pages and all his characters are created to be liked / disliked / understood...there's never a character who doesn't matter and whose story is left in the air.
Bad Signs is simply great. Full of twists, turns and tension. A seriously crazy road trip. Could easily be a big screen hit too!!
Read it...Read em all. You won't be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rowena Hoseason HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 6 May 2012
Format: Paperback
`Bad Signs' is a terrific interpretation of the American `killer on the loose' road movie, set in an expertly realised, rolling landscape of wide horizons and hidden, intimate horrors. Each sleepy small town presents itself to the travellers as the superficial embodiment of the American dream; each conceals the potential for brutality, hopelessness and despair. If that sounds too grim for you then fear not; Ellory is an optimist at heart, it seems, and throughout his tapestry of anger, abandonment, pain and aggression he has woven a subtle but supportive thread of redemption and the possibility of goodness.

Set in the 1960s, the action concerns institutionalised orphaned half-brothers on the cusp of adulthood. The younger boy has long been dependent on and protected by his robust, bullish older brother while they've survived bitter lives in young offenders' institutes. Swept up in a jailbreak they each must confront a coming-of-age initiation which carries with it the bleakest consequences possible. The boys have a straightforward choice between right and wrong: between love and hate; and, ultimately, between life and death.
The catalyst for the plot is a superb concoction of a character, an utterly reprehensible psycho-killer-scum who first takes the lads as hostages and then seemingly `adopts' them, almost as pets as much as potential protégés. Earl Sheriden stands out as one of those most memorable fictional creations - an embodiment of everything awful who is capable of any outrage. The scenes with him at their core are the most powerful in the whole novel. It is his influence which will corrupt completely -- or perhaps convince the boys to travel the path of righteousness.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Arnold Tolley Slater on 7 July 2012
Format: Paperback
First off, let me say to Mr. Ellory that this review is Long overdue! So, here we go! The book Bad Signs is the story of two brothers. The boys are born into tragedy. Their mother dies and the boys are left to fend for themselves. The two end up in a facility for boys...One bad night fate steps in and the boys are abducted by a psychotic killer. This story is really about how this event changes both boys forever....Clay and Elliott go down divergent paths one leads out of insanity and normal life, the other leads headlong into madness! Mr. Ellory is a prolific writer and poet AND musician! The words I write here cannot adequately convey the grand scale of the landscape that Mr. Ellory paints for his audience in this tale of tragedy and triumph! His stories are an eloquent feast of language that tell a story in breathtaking detail. I don't think I'm far of the mark by calling him a Shakespeare for today. I literally found myself holding my breath at the end of Bad Signs.....Amazing!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Bennett on 18 Feb. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
R.J Ellory has such a unique style of writing. He writes about the dark, seedy side of life but in such a light, eloquent way.
The characterisation is excellent, even if you despise a character, you can see how they became the way they are. The story follows the life-changing and fateful events of two teenage half-brothers, Elliott Danzinger and Clarence Luckman, over a nine day period and explores the consequences of coming face to face with evil and how that effects the two boys.

I particularly liked the character of John Cassidy, a detective who wants to know "why?" as well as "who, what & where?" A man who wants to make a difference, rather than just make a name for himself. A little touch of tv's "Criminal Minds" there, which I'm a big fan of.

There are twists in the plot that made me hold my breath and at one point I put the Kindle down, walked off to make a cup of tea, shaking my head and saying to my husband "No, that can't happen!" of course he had no idea what I was talking about :-)

It can be frustrating when you get to the end of a book and are left feeling that something is missing or not worked out right, but the ending of "Bad Signs" was just as I would have chosen it to end!!

If you like reading Crime or Thriller fiction I would urge you to try an R.J. Ellory novel, I'm confident you wont be disappointed.
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