A Quiet Belief in Angels

( 19 )

Overview

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 ...

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A Quiet Belief in Angels: A Novel

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In 1939, in a poor rural town in Georgia, a young girl is raped and murdered, the first numbing thump in a succession of murders that over the next decade would eventually number 30. Young Joseph Vaughan somehow survives the slaughter of friends and classmates in Augusta Falls and grows up, moves to New York City, and attempts to elbow past the memories. Then a Brooklyn murder sends him reeling into a history he can't ignore and can only hope to survive. This is the U.S. debut of a British novelist who bears watching.
Publishers Weekly

In his American debut, British author Ellory (A Simple Act of Violence) presents an intriguing but overstuffed saga of a man haunted by a serial killer. In 1939, in rural Augusta Falls, Ga., someone brutally rapes and murders a classmate of 12-year-old Joseph Vaughn, the first in what will become more than 30 similar crimes over decades. At age 15, living alone with his mother after the death of his father and yearning to be a writer, Vaughan gathers together a group of local boys and forms the Guardians in the hope of preventing more attacks. It's the failure of the group, and himself in particular, that eventually drives Vaughan to Brooklyn, where, in an improbable twist, he gets caught up in another murder linked to the killings back home. Ellory simply tries to juggle too many narrative elements. The sheer number of characters and subplots dilute the quiet power of his prose, particularly evident in scenes of Vaughn's childhood. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781410421180
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 12/2/2009
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 695
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

R.J. Ellory is the author of five novels, soon to be published by Overlook in the U.S. A Quiet Belief in Angels was a Richard & Judy Book Club selection in 2008 and was shortlisted for the American Barry Award for Best British Crime Fiction. Two of Ellory's earlier works were shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    RICH WITH PASSION AND POWER

    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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2014

    Well written book, but very depressing, not my kind of book

    Well written book, but very depressing, not my kind of book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2014

    Wow!

    Was sent this book as a gift didn't see the end coming. Awesome book highly recommend enjoy it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 3, 2013

    Half of these reviews are fake, you can just tell. Dont now how

    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

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  • Posted June 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Quiet Belief in Angels

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 2, 2010

    Loved This Book

    This book held me from page one until the end. I am hoping for more books (soon) from this author. Highly recommended.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2010

    Hard Book to Put Down

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2009

    Excellent Book!

    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.

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  • Posted November 12, 2009

    Beautifully Written

    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.

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  • Posted September 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    What A Beautiful Book

    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.

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  • Posted September 14, 2009

    Not to be missed by fans of thrillers AND literary historical fiction!

    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.

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  • Posted July 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is a super look at a caring person struggling with his inability to prevent violence.

    In 1939 in Augusta Falls, Georgia, someone rapes and murders a twelve year old child. The classmates are stunned but especially affected is Joseph Vaughan. When he turns fifteen raised by his widow mom, he remains haunted by the incident and violent death in general. He persuades other boys his age to form the Guardians to prevent future assaults.

    Over the next few years, the Guardians fail to stop brutal attacks as kids are abducted. A depressed Vaughan leaves Georgia relocating to Brooklyn, where he hopes to make it with his other goal to become a writer. However, a murder in the Big Apple ties back to Augusta Falls bringing him full circle.

    Although there are too many minor subplots over complicating a fabulous character study of a seemingly OCD youth; A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS is a terrific tale of a Georgian fixated for decades with brutal killings especially by serial killers. Fans will appreciate how deep author RJ Ellory takes the reader inside the mind of Joseph without slowing down the narrative. He is the key holding the tale together as the focus of the story line. As a as a senior citizen he connects the deadly dots between New York and Georgia but even then Mr. Ellory continues digging through the layers of the soul of his beleaguered frustrated hero. This is a super look at a caring person struggling with his inability to prevent violence.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 25, 2011

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    Posted May 5, 2010

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    Posted March 12, 2010

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    Posted December 28, 2010

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    Posted June 15, 2011

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    Posted December 13, 2009

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    Posted January 28, 2010

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    Posted August 14, 2009

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