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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting
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...
Published on 18 Mar 2008 by BookWorm

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126 of 139 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A very good read by a great storyteller, but not without its irritations!
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...
Published on 22 Jan 2008 by H. Eaton


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Quiet Belief in Angels, 20 May 2008
By 
Mink (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Quiet Belief In Angels (Paperback)
I've read other books by this author - Candle Moth and Ghostheart - and I really liked this one as well, A Quiet Belief in Angels.

I would not suggest reading it if you've had a recent bereavement in your life; this is a harrowing tale. I just wanted to take the lead character home, give him a good dinner and tell him everything would be okay.

I couldn't put the book down once I started and I found it emotionally evocative and absorbing. I've always like this author's ability to submerge you in scene which he writes about and the details of the location and time are all very accurate.

And I have to say, the ending was great. I normally figure out psychological thriller movies/books from the beginning but I didn't see that ending coming and that is very satisfying, from a reader's viewpoint.

I highly recommend this book!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully bleak, 3 Aug 2008
By 
This review is from: A Quiet Belief In Angels (Paperback)
Finished this magnificent book today and the word that comes to mind is 'wow'.
It is certainly not an 'easy' or 'light' read and during the first few pages I almost gave up. Something made me carry on though, and by about page 20 I knew it was probably going to be something special.

To me, is it a smorgasboard of many other great novels. I was interested to read that another reviewer compared it to 'The Secret History - a comparison I would definetly agree with in terms of quality and style of writing (SH is a benchmark for me against which all novels are measured).
It is, at times, very depressing BUT don't let that put you off. No pain, no gain.

I had kind of guessed the twist about 3/4 through the book.

Brilliant
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother, 12 Feb 2012
By 
JD Hulme "Jonathan" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Quiet Belief In Angels (Paperback)
Slop. Dull, pointless, unoriginal; very difficult to believe in any of the characters or events; ludicrous splatter murders, stock types everywhere, ridiculous narrator and not enough sex to win the author the Bad Sex In Fiction Award. No wonder Richard and Judy went for it.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic, 2 April 2008
By 
Dr Evil (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Quiet Belief In Angels (Paperback)
Spanning over nearly 50 years, A Quiet Belief in Angels tells the story of Joseph Vaughan, whose life has always been a tragedy. Growing up in the 1940s, he was at the centre of series of killings of young girls in his small rural community of Augusta Falls. 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 killer.

How do I review such a beautifully written and completely engrossing book, with such powerful storytelling and truly haunting imagination? I read a lot of crime thillers and this one is one of the best and much more. There's no troubled cop as the main character, just a innocent twelve year old boy who's story bgins with the death of his father, followed by his community being terrorised by a mysterious and faceless killer who preys on young girls and shocks Joseph beyond any fear he could ever imagine.

Although the story is told from the present with Joseph as a middle-aged man, the narrative changes throughout the whole story, ranging from the innocent and unknowning thoughts of the young Joseph to the experienced and troubled mind of his older self. There are many hints and clues to the story's outcomes through the book too, many of which that I noticed when reading are highlighted in the Reading Group Notes at the back of the book, so I recommend not reading these until afterwards. The killer is fairly obvious once you get near the end but the way it is written is pure genius. I literally didn't see the ending rolling itself out until I was reading it when all of the pieces were fitting into place.

With so many important world events from the time the book is based, Ellory must have done his research on the subjects he touched on, from World War II to the Kennedy assassination to the Moon landing, which are all extremely accurate and give a lot more realism to the story. A lot of 20th Century American history is also covered so when I found out that Ellory is an author who lives in the UK I was very surprised.

I do have a couple of niggles about this book - in particular, in the second half of the book, when Joseph moves on to New York, a lot of new characters were introduced in rapid succession, which was very different to the beginning where each character was discribed in some depth when introduced to the story. It also jumps quite a few years when he is in prison and didn't go into much detail about what his experiences were there and the people he met (other than the brothers), which I would have thought would have really been good to add to the story. I can only think that Ellory didn't want to introduce anymore unneccessary characters or make the book any longer than it was.

Overall this is one of the greatest works of fiction I have ever read and I will definitely give R.J. Ellory's other novels a read in the near future. This is a shocking yet beautiful story that is one I will most certainly read again and one that I will remember for a long time and one that I am going to recommend to everyone. A real "must buy"!
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35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Probably its me....but....., 25 Feb 2008
By 
Four Violets (Hertford UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Quiet Belief In Angels (Paperback)
I am perfectly well aware from seeing other reviews, how popular this book is. Which just goes to show how individual a reaction to a book can be, because I just didn't and couldn't relate to this one in any way. The only reason I continued reading was because the book and I were stuck together - not through choice.

If you don't want to know what I found really, really irritating about it, look away now so you don't catch the awareness of it.

Each character addresses each other by name, repeatedly. Many times even on the same page. The main character Joseph Calvin Vaughan is addressed as such, using his full name, repeatedly, by his irritating mother and his irritating teacher. One page has it 6 times and on the same page he addresses someone as Reilly 7 times. I could have sobbed.

And the prose: "she stood motionless, motionless but for the circuitous convolutions of her mind". By about page 202 I was resigned to getting through to the end, after which I joyfully consigned it to the shelves of a hostel in a far flung corner of South America where I am sure a delighted traveller will count himself fortunate to find it.

While minds were circuitously convoluting I was wondering WHY the murders of over 30 young girls, and lingering details of the deaths of 10 of them, would be so interesting. I didn't care about a single one of the characters and was left unmoved by the deaths of any of them.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Lifetime's Work, 23 April 2008
By 
G. M. Buchanan "Page marker" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Quiet Belief In Angels (Paperback)
Ellory has written this book in such a manner that, if you didn't know better, you may think that he is telling us his life story. The story starts in the small community of Augusta Falls and is based on the life of Joseph Vaughan.When the story starts Joseph is still at the one class primary school and the first young girl is murdered when Joseph is twelve.These killings go on throughout Joseph's life. His own personal life is full of grief.At the start of the story his father has died,later he finds his mother in bed with their nearest neighbour, his mother then has a breakdown and ends up in the local mental hospital.Joseph eventually marries his ex-school teacher who,when pregnant, falls down the stairs and dies.Or did she fall? And who set fire to their neighbours house? Meanwhile the murders continue. Joseph leaves Augusta Falls and goes to New York.He falls in love again,has his first book published and comes home one day to find his girlfriend has been murdered,in his flat,in the same manner as all the young girls had been murdered.Joseph is charged with murder, goes to trial and is found guilty. I wont tell you the end of the story here that would spoil it for you.I read Candlemoth,another story by R.J.Ellory,a few years ago and I thought at that time there was no way he (Ellory) could keep up such a high standard of story telling.I was wrong 'A Quiet Belief in Angels'is up to that standard and if you have still to read it then go out and buy it along with a bottle of you favourite tipple.Go home,bolt the door, get the crystal glass,unplug the telephone,get down into your favourite chair and spoil yourself. Enjoy.
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85 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the destination, but the journey., 8 Jan 2008
This review is from: A Quiet Belief In Angels (Paperback)
There's a scene in this book where one character is reminiscing about the death of his father, and he talks about how long it took for the old man to die. He makes some comment about how the old man has taken the long way round to enjoy the scenery on the way to the graveyard. That's not word-for-word, by the way, but it does say something very relevant about this book. In my opinion, the enjoyment of a book is not only the end, but how the author gets you there. There's a twist at the end of this book, but that's not the point! It's a good twist, as good as any I could think of, but how we got there is so, so, so much more important than anything else. With this book (which I just finished about two hours ago) I felt like the author had taken me back seventy years to Georgia, told me what it was like to grow up in poverty, what it was like to fall in love, to lose people who were important to you, to leave your home for a strange city, to be accused of a crime, to do so many things that I have never done, and I hope never will! And that makes so much sense to me as a literature teacher. Isn't it the job of an author to give you a journey that you would never otherwise take? It's not a heavy book at all. It's passionate, dark, funny, beautiful, moving, heartfelt, expertly constructed, even magical in its use of language sometimes. There's one review I read somewhere where the reviewer said that 'Ellory's use of language is dizzying and delightful'. It is! And it's not a girl's book, and nor is it a guy's book. It's just a book for Christ's sake. But it's a great book. Really, really great. If you like really good stories told really well then read it. I kind of feel as passionate in my support of this book as I'm sure the author felt when he wrote it. Bloody marvellous when all is said and done, and isn't that all that a book really needs to be?
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning!, 2 May 2008
By 
Mr. RJK Bateman (Cheshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Quiet Belief In Angels (Paperback)
This is the first book I have read by R.J. Ellory, upon completion I ordered another of his titles. A beautifully written novel, the detail of surroundings and essence of character are portrayed in such vivid and meaningful ways that you cannot help but fall into the landscape. This novel, classified as crime fiction, is however, concentrated more fully on the impact events have on the main characters and less emphasis placed on the detail of the events themselves. A colourful page-turner with a winding plot and an autobiographical approach - highly recommended reading.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Belief in RJ Ellory!, 4 May 2008
By 
Mrs. K. Venables "Kellie" (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Quiet Belief In Angels (Paperback)
This is one of the most beautifully tragic novels I have ever read. The author took me to another world, from which it was hard to return. The haunting prose and magnificent imagery stayed with me for days afterwards.
This is not a typical murder mystery but a tale of a life, from childhood to adulthood, and the affect the murders had on that life. Reminiscent of Truman Capote and Harper Lee and the worlds they created, RJ Ellory is a master of his craft, and anyone would enjoy reading this novel.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loved and hated this book in equal measure, 24 Jan 2008
By 
Brida "izumi" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Quiet Belief In Angels (Paperback)
I read this book as part of this season's Richard & Judy's bookclub. Before I started it, I read all the positive reviews posted on Amazon, and from these felt as though I was in for a real treat. Everyone seemed to be saying that the book was amazing, so I was eager to get into it. Yet I have to say that I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would.

The story begins in 1939 in a small rural towm, Augusta Falls. The main charcater of the book, Joseph Vaughn is a young boy. Joseph's world is turned upside down by the start of a serial killer, preying upon young girls. The murders are horrendous - each one seemingly escalating in violence. As more and more young girls are taken, Joseph persuades a small group of his friends to join him in creating The Guardians - a way of them to take care for their community and to try and prevent these killings continuing. However, the killer eludes them and the murders continue. As Joseph grows up, the murders seem to become an obsession for him; they haunt him and taunt him for failing in his promise of protection for the town. Even when the killings are in the past, Joseph cannot escape the fear of them.

Although the book began well, and there are quite brilliant pieces of wiritng, A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS did not hold my attention as I expected it would. I felt that there were times when I could not pull myself away from its pages, but there were also numerous times when I felt I could not bring myself to open them. While others have described this book as a page turner, I would have to disagree.
This is just my personal opinion but I feel that Ellory's writing style can be too much sometimes. The dense amount of information, with little dialogue, can become slightly stiffling and tedious. While I am not saying that I think the book is poorly written, I am merely saying it was not completely to my taste.
Having said that, what I did love about the book was how Ellory explored the issue of mental deterioration, through Joseph's mum. The writing about this part of his life was fantastic - although it was a difficult subject to approach, I think Ellory did it in a way that showed great humanity, compassion and honesty.

If you love crime writing, this book would undoubtedly be a hit for you. If you prefer your neovels to be a little less intense, perhaps you may want to pass this one by.
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A Quiet Belief In Angels
A Quiet Belief In Angels by R.J. Ellory (Paperback - 27 Dec 2007)
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