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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Story telling at it's best
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,...
Published on 18 Feb 2012 by S. Bennett

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad
I have been an avid fan of Ellory since reading Candlemoth and believe I have managed to read all his books. In my opinion he is one of the best thriller writers around with an ability to create deep and profound characters. With the exception of Det john Cassidy all other characters seem one dimensional caricatures . The main character Elliot goes from being slow and...
Published 1 month ago by H. BROLLY


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Story telling at it's best, 18 Feb 2012
By 
S. Bennett (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Bad Signs (Kindle Edition)
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Bad Signs Here!!!!, 13 Feb 2012
This review is from: Bad Signs (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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars `Eldorado. Where kids have moms and dads.', 15 Mar 2012
By 
Jennifer Cameron-Smith "Expect the Unexpected" (ACT, Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bad Signs (Paperback)
When Clarence Luckman's father kills their mother, Clarence and his half-brother Elliott Danziger , spend their childhood in various state institutions. By the time they are teenagers, housed in a juvenile detention facility, Clarence (known as Clay) and Elliott (known as Digger) are well acquainted with violence and the darker side of life in institutions. And things are about to get a whole lot worse when they are taken hostage by Earl Sheridan. Earl Sheridan, a man en route to death row with nothing left to lose, kills his way out of imprisonment and takes the brothers with him as hostages.

Set in the 1960s, in Texas, the balance of the story plays out over the next nine days. Earl Sheridan is a psychopath who takes the boys on a killing spree. Digger is fascinated, and sees Earl as a hero and someone that he wants to emulate. And so he does. Clay manages to escape, but is caught in a different tragedy as a consequence of mistaken identity.

This novel is both thriller and epic tragedy. Who will survive, and how? Are the fates determining who will live and die? Will the guilty be punished, and can the innocent survive? Both boys are seeking a happier life, both seem set on reaching their own Eldorado but each has chosen (or is drawn to) a different path. Other people, whose paths cross theirs, will have their lives changed. Or ended. Is it chance, or fate? Pre-destined, or self-determined? If self-determined, what factors determine the choices?

I could not put this novel down. I was caught up in an atmosphere of dreadful expectation and fearful hope - of a brighter future for one of the brothers and his new-found friend. There are some horrific scenes in this novel, but none of them seemed gratuitous within the context of the story. `Bad Signs' is disturbing but never entirely without hope. And the ending? Somehow it seemed appropriate. If you want to know why, you'll need to read it yourself. Be prepared to be shocked and moved, and then haunted.

`Doesn't matter where you are in the world, you're always looking at the same sky.'

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic story telling at it's best!, 7 July 2012
This review is from: Bad Signs (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If it wasn't for bad luck, they wouldn't have no luck at all, 6 May 2012
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bad Signs (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.
And it is the moral choices of the two brothers which form the backbone of the story as the action travels along dusty highways through California and Texas, hauling ass between all-day diners and gas stations and leaving a trail of corpses and shattered families in its wake. Ellory explores how two similar people can diverge at a critical point; how people can choose to become good, or choose the alternative. `Bad Signs' is all about becoming: becoming a man, becoming a good man... or becoming something else.

This isn't a ripping, rapid read or a quick thriller with a cut-price payoff. It rewards those readers who can become absorbed by the story, who are happy to spend a few days disappearing into this reality. `Bad Signs' is packed with dense description and careful character development set in a credible environment: you can almost smell the coffee brewing (...although a couple of chapters did feel as if they were written from a road map!).
The atmosphere overwhelmingly reminded me of Natural Born Killers, and `Bad Signs' is every bit as violent in places as the mayhem created by Micky and Mallory. But `Bad Signs' doesn't succumb to the nihilistic sentiment which underpins NBK. Instead it holds out hope, even for those individuals who are most sorely abused by society and circumstance.
And it would make a cracking road movie, too.

8/10
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eloquent and powerful crime novel, 8 April 2012
By 
J. H. Bretts "jerard1" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bad Signs (Kindle Edition)
Set in a vividly imagined American south west in November 1964 Bad Signs is a very powerful novel about two half-brothers - both born under a very bad sign - on the run from the authorities. While reminding me of great storytellers like Stephen King and John Steinbeck, Ellory writes in a tough yet poetic prose style all his own, creating a succession of memorable characters who transcend cliche, and the novel powerfully broods on fate and destiny as the Feds close in. Harrowing in places,completely gripping, it draws to a very satisfactory conclusion. Highly recommended.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, 14 Oct 2014
By 
H. BROLLY "western man" (N Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bad Signs (Kindle Edition)
I have been an avid fan of Ellory since reading Candlemoth and believe I have managed to read all his books. In my opinion he is one of the best thriller writers around with an ability to create deep and profound characters. With the exception of Det john Cassidy all other characters seem one dimensional caricatures . The main character Elliot goes from being slow and dull witted to being a psychopath managing to evade capture as he embarks on a murderous campaign across Arizona. Due to an identity fault his half brother Clay also follows the same journey managing to be in the same vicinity of each slaying. Each incident seems contrived with only Det Cassidy beginning to cast doubts on Clay's guilt.
One of my main criticisms is the detailed description given to each execution and in particular the brutal rape of Candace is not easy to read. Does it add to the story - I don't think so - just gratuitous.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A story well written, 25 Aug 2014
This review is from: Bad Signs (Kindle Edition)
The first R J Ellory book I read was "A quiet belief in Angels" which I liked.This book for me is even better as there is a lot more depth in the characters and the dramatic story unfolds at a good pace . Every innocent family or bystander who gets dragged into the story line always gets tortured and killed .The author introduces you to their everyday lives and background and you just know its all about to end for them. The killing of Bailey's father after getting to know him well is very brutal and heart-rendering . The half brothers in the story have had a rough upbringing and it was interesting to see how they both reacted after being kidnapped by the killer. One in awe and admiration the other horrified at what was unfolding. Overall this book was one of those that is hard to put down as the reader gets drawn in and is intrigued to find out where it all ends.A good fast paced dark thriller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If it wasn't for bad luck, they wouldn't have no luck at all, 20 Dec 2012
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
'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.
And it is the moral choices of the two brothers which form the backbone of the story as the action travels along dusty highways through California and Texas, hauling ass between all-day diners and gas stations and leaving a trail of corpses and shattered families in its wake. Ellory explores how two similar people can diverge at a critical point; how people can choose to become good, or choose the alternative. `Bad Signs' is all about becoming: becoming a man, becoming a good man... or becoming something else.

This isn't a ripping, rapid read or a quick thriller with a cut-price payoff. It rewards those readers who can become absorbed by the story, who are happy to spend a few days disappearing into this reality. `Bad Signs' is packed with dense description and careful character development set in a credible environment: you can almost smell the coffee brewing (...although a couple of chapters did feel as if they were written from a road map!).
The atmosphere overwhelmingly reminded me of Natural Born Killers, and `Bad Signs' is every bit as violent in places as the mayhem created by Micky and Mallory. But `Bad Signs' doesn't succumb to the nihilistic sentiment which underpins NBK. Instead it holds out hope, even for those individuals who are most sorely abused by society and circumstance.
And it would make a cracking road movie, too.

8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, violent and very readable, 30 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bad Signs (Paperback)
This tale of colliding forces showcases all that I enjoy most in the books of RJ Ellory. He brings the characters to life with detailed histories and can just as quickly reduce this character to a bloody mess on the floor. The descriptive details Ellory uses to make us care about these characters makes the violence so much more shocking. Two half-brothers, kidnapped from a care institution by an escaped murderer. The tale follows the different paths these boys take and the inevitable convergence of these paths. Ellory racks up the tension with frequent hints at what could be waiting around the corner for the more innocent characters whilst delving into the workings of the more twisted and bitter minds. I recommend this book as it is so well written but would warn you that there are some nasty scenes. The story has a sense of completeness once the final pages are read... If i close a book when i have finished and simply replay moments from it for a while before i put it down then i know i have enjoyed it. This is very much the case with Bad Signs by RJ Ellory
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Bad Signs
Bad Signs by R.J. Ellory (Paperback - 27 Sep 2012)
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