A Quiet Belief in Angels: A Novel

A Quiet Belief in Angels: A Novel

by R. J. Ellory

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Just a teenager, Joseph becomes determined to protect his community from the killer, but he is powerless in preventing more murders-and no one is ever caught. Ten years later one of his neighbors is found hanging from a rope, surrounded by belongings of the dead girls; the killings cease, and the nightmare appears to be over. Desperate and plagued by everything he has witnessed, Joseph sets out to forge a new life in New York. But even there the past won't leave him alone-for it seems that the murderer still lives and is killing again, and that the secret to his identity lies in Joseph's own history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590203491
Publisher: ABRAMS
Publication date: 08/03/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 660,230
File size: 751 KB

About the Author

R.J. Ellory is the author of twelve novels, including the bestselling A Quiet Belief in Angels, which was Strand Magazine's Thriller of the Year, shortlisted for the Barry Award, and a finalist for the SIBA Award. He is also the author of City of Lies, Candlemoth, A Quiet Vendetta, A Simple Act of Violence, and the e-book original series Three Days in Chicagoland.

What People are Saying About This

Clive Cussler

"A mesmerizing tale whose intrigue will pull you from one page to the next without pause...R.J. Ellory's remarkable talent for probing the unknown establishes him as the master of the genre. The perfect author to read late into the night."

Otto Penzler

"I read A Quiet Belief in Angels breathlessly as this is one of those rare authors who is able to combine a poetic literary style with a stunning mystery story. R.J. Ellory will quickly rank with the best crime writers working today."

Jonathan Kellerman

"A Quiet Belief in Angels is a rich, powerful, evocative novel of great psychological depth."

Alan Furst

"R.J. Ellory is a uniquely gifted, passionate, and powerful writer, and the quality of his prose-every word, every sentence-lifts A Quiet Belief in Angels far above genre."

Ken Bruen

"A Quiet Belief in Angels is a riveting mystery, as compelling as it is moving. Joseph is destined to become one of those seminal characters of literature. Here is a book that restores not only a quiet belief in the redemptive power of literature, but is a novel that you will read over and over again."

Customer Reviews

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A Quiet Belief in Angels 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
With his impressive training, deft vocal execution, on spot elocution we might almost call Mark Bramhall a scholarly actor. He studied acting at Harvard, the University of California, the American Conservatory Theater, and as a Fulbright scholar at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Yet, the term scholarly doesn't do him justice as his voice is not only superbly trained but quietly dramatic, compelling as it carries readers along in this extraordinary story, A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS. We hear, "I look back across the span of my life, and I try to see it for what it was. Amidst the madness that I encountered, amidst the rush and smash and brutality of the collisions of humanity I have witnessed, there have been moments...." Yes, there were many moments in Joseph Vaughan's life but overshadowing all is what occurred in 1939 when he was living in a small town in Georgia - a heinous crime, the murder of a young girl. However, that's not the end of it as other young girls are slain. Joseph forms a group called "The Guardians" to keep their small community safe. But they're unable to stop the killings, which do eventually appear to end. A man is discovered dead, hung and he's believed to have been the killer. We flash forward to 1952 when Joseph is living in Brooklyn and has found not only success as a writer but also love. Yet strangely death once again follows Joseph and his pregnant soon to be bride is murdered. Joseph is believed to be the killer and is imprisoned only to be released some 13 years later. He returns to his small Georgia town determined to find the real killer of those young girls so many years ago. He finds that the tally of dead girls has risen and discovers who the murderer is. What follows is an unbelievable scenario, powerful and unforgettable. R. J. Ellroy has crafted a crime story unlike any other, beautifully written, one might almost say poetic, rich with passion and power. - Gail Cooke
maneekuhi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Two stars, completed 5/26/11. I've enjoyed other Ellory books, but this one disappointed me. It has the same emotional makeup as "The Grapes of Wrath" and "The Book of Job", but without their humor and uplifting moments. But "Angels" did have some happy times - I think there was one about 2/3 of the way through: it lasted for a page and a half. The other was the one-page epilogue, and "happy" is a bit of a stretch. I wouldn't classify this as crime fiction, even though a lot of pre-teen girls die, and I mean a lot. Our hero, Job, sorry meant to say Joseph believes that people are basically good, and that most of peoples' lives are about doing good things, and as a consequence they become angels when they pass. Oh, and Job sees angel's feathers every so often. I don't recommend this (some of the sex was good and that elevated this from what otherwise would have been 1-1 1/2 stars)
vkb1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although I was invested in discovering the identity of the killer, I was not invested in the main character or any of the peripheral characters. A good chunk of the book is somewhat muddy and repetitive; the author has a penchant for tautology. The plot of the book has great potential, and I was torn about giving it 2.5 stars.
miyurose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was a wonderful surprise. It had me from the open:'Rumor, hearsay, folklore. Whichever way it laid down to rest or came up for air, rumor had it that a white feather indicated the visitation of an angel.On the morning of Wednesday, July twelfth, 1939, I saw one, long and slender and unlike any kind of feather I¿d seen before. It skirted the edge of the door as I opened it, almost as if it had waited patiently to enter, and the draft from the hallway carried it into my room.'And kept me reading with beautiful passages like this:'Love, I would later conclude, was all things to all people. Love was the breaking and healing of hearts. Love was misunderstood, love was faith, love was the promise of now that became hope for the future. Love was a rhythm, a resonance, a reverberation. Love was awkward and foolish, it was aggressive and simple and possessed of so many indefinable qualities that it could never be conveyed in language. Love was being.'Joseph Vaughn¿s childhood is marred by murder of several local girls, all presumably at the hands of a single serial killer. These events color not only his childhood, but his entire life as he becomes obsessed with the crimes. He can¿t seem to catch a break, his life rocked time after time by tragedy. A gifted writer, Joseph eventually moves to New York City in an attempt to leave it all behind, but it¿s not that easy. This was a really sneaky mystery. Ellory drops little breadcrumbs every so often, and just when you think you know what¿s going on, things take a turn. I was wrong about who the killer was, yet it all made sense in the end. The setting is also worked into the story very well¿ the attitudes of people due to World War II play a significant part, as well as the small town southern setting. This is Ellory¿s fifth book, and I can¿t wait to track down the others. I am a new fan.
grigoro on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this haunting, lovely story of child killers and revenge in 1940's Georgia. Really, the writing is beautiful even though the storyline is wicked. Give it 50 pages or so and you won't want to put the book down, even though you will want to read some passages over because the language is really beautiful.
delphica on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very well-written, atmospheric crime novel, and my only complaint is that it's so atmospheric that at times I couldn't see the story through the atmosphere. People, we need to focus. Overall, though, it's nifty. Small rural town, Georgia, 1940s, young girls are being murdered. One of their classmates, Joseph Vaughn, has his entire life impacted by these events even though he would seem to be only peripherally involved, at least at first. The writing is moody and pleasantly drawling, the pacing is a little weird but manageable, it's populated by archetypal characters that are solid - I mean, you get that they're archetypes but it all comes together well - and I really liked that the crime was both terrible, it's child murders but also mundane, there isn't any of that serial killer mystique going on. Plus, a love interest so steamy that it's probably for the best that most of the action happened off-page otherwise the book might have burst into actual flame.In fairness, I do have to add that plot-wise, it falls apart a little but not until after you're already hooked so that has less of an impact than one might expect. Grade: A- (you would think that the plot going off the rails, generally considered a massive failure, would lower this grade, but it doesn't)Recommended: This is really good. There's like a little hint of Tana French in that it's ostensibly a crime thriller but the big win is that it is such good story-telling that it doesn't have to be about anything in particular.
pharrm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bautifully written, tough topic. Haunted drom childhood by the killings of local girls, the protagonist tries everything in his young life to help protect the girls and especially his friend, Elena. She too is killed. His mother, who is his support finds her mind failing; troubles continue to follow Joseph Vaughn as he marries and falls in love. Continually haunted he seeks the root of the problem.
sogamonk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Superb writing. A disquieting story with a somewhat surprising ending. Childhood memories never quite go away.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was sent this book as a gift didn't see the end coming. Awesome book highly recommend enjoy it!
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grumpydan More than 1 year ago
A Quiet Belief in Angels by R.J. Ellory is a strikingly memorable story about Joseph Vaughan who has a child in rural Georgia in the forties, loses his dad, and finds the body of a murdered young girl and watches as his mother succumbs to a mental disease. When more girls are killed, Joseph forms a group with his friends to protect their community but yet another one is killed. The killings going sporadically, Joseph grows to a young adult and finds true love with his one-time teacher. After she dies from a fall, he leaves Georgia and goes to Brooklyn to live his dream of becoming a writer. He becomes published, falls in love and she dies in the same fashion as the young girls from his past. Is it Joseph or is the murder tracking him down? This novel is riveting and made me feel for Joseph and the lousy life that was dealt him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
rnoncology More than 1 year ago
This book held me from page one until the end. I am hoping for more books (soon) from this author. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was very well written. At times I was sure it must be based on a true story. Certainly not your run of the mill "who done it", it kept me guessing until the end. Highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book kept me wondering right up to the end. It is the type of book that keeps you reading because you want to know what happens to the characters.
Glendathegood More than 1 year ago
This writer captures the period & the intimacy of the characters. The childhood chapters remind one of Harper Lee & the novel as a whole has a sense of forboding as well as hope. It certainly ranks as one the best novels of the year in my mind & just not in the mystery category. The blurbs on the front cover,which unusual,are absolutely on the mark.I will reccomend this to all my friends.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
It's been quite a while since I read a novel as beautifully written as A Quiet Belief in Angels. The melancholy that pervades the book could have been overwhelming in the absence of this artistry. One might wonder why the main character could not let go of the depravity he had witnessed. Instead he became another lost soul trying to make sense of the senseless. That search becomes almost poetic as we follow him through the years, relentless, searching, yet still very lost. A highly recommended book.
DaviStrand More than 1 year ago
I was blown away by this novel. Thrillers are not my favorite genre and honestly, I picked up this book just because I had heard so much buzz about it. I expected to read maybe 15 pages only so I could say I tried, but before I knew it, I was 50 pages deep and couldn't put it down! Alan Furst has a blurb on the back saying "RJ Ellory is a uniquely gifted, passionate and powerful writer, and the quality of his prose- every word, every sentence - lifts A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS far above genre." I couldn't agree more! Although this book does have a compulsively readable mystery plot, I feel like it's just as much a very literary historical fiction novel. The voices, the time and place, the details - all were just stunning.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
joy79 More than 1 year ago
Well written book, but very depressing, not my kind of book
SpeakTruthOrDontSpeak More than 1 year ago
Half of these reviews are fake, you can just tell. Dont now how i can always spot fakes but when i rarely come across fake reviews, i just know it. cOINCIDENCE, THIS AUTHOR WAS CAUGHT MAKING FAKE USER NAMES TO WRITE REVIEWS PRAISING HIS BOOKS, ALOT LIKE SOME DID HERE