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Falling Angel

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  2,567 Ratings  ·  253 Reviews
A spellbinding novel of murder, mystery, and the occult, Falling Angel pits a tough New York private eye against the most fearsome adversary a detective ever faced. For Harry Angel, a routine missing-persons case soon turns into a fiendish nightmare of voodoo and black magic, of dizzying peril and violent death. Many people feel that Falling Angel is the greatest American ...more
Hardcover, limited Edition, 302 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Millipede Press (first published 1978)
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(showing 1-30)
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Vooooodoooo...hard boiled detective mystery, and twisted loooooooove.

Thanks Jeff- just what I was in the mood for.

FALLING ANGEL...the 2nd novel I have read this month that Mickey Rourke stared in the movie...but this time, the book was sooooooooooooooo much better than the film...and it has nothing to do with the fact that Mickey is cuter in Nine and a Half Weeks- I swear.

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New York City 1959

Private investigator- Harry Angel is hired by mysterious client- Louis Cyphre to find Johnny Favorite- a cr
Jan 24, 2013 Char rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 70s-horror
4.5 stars!

There are two reasons I bought this book. 1. I bought it at my favorite brick and mortar bookstore, Bunch of Grapes(, because I wanted to contribute in some small way to their beautiful store. 2. Because my friend Marc has been hounding me to read it for a couple of years now. He was right, and I now wish I had read this book sooner.

This is a crime-noir novel, written in the 70's but actually taking place in the early 50's. As such, there are some racist comm
James Thane
Oct 27, 2016 James Thane rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
First published in 1978, this is a novel that combines a fairly traditional hard-boiled detective story with supernatural horror elements. In brief, I enjoyed the hard-boiled side of the story, the supernatural parts not so much.

The story is set in 1959. New York City P.I. Harry Angel is hired by a mysterious man named Louis Cyphre to track down a former popular singer named Johnny Favorite. As the Second World War began, Favorite was becoming a major star on the order of what Frank Sinatra woul
Mar 01, 2017 Miriam rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
An entertaining read, but very heavy on the foreshadowing. Everything that happened, I was able to predict from hints in the first couple chapters. I would not, therefore, recommend this as a mystery, but if you want a noir about doomed people in NY City you may enjoy it.

The obviousness of the plot and the literary devices did make it extra-amusing that my copy was annotated by someone who pointed out all the most obvious things:
Oct 13, 2014 Gary rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
I really liked this book. It starts out as a typical detective yarn (stereotypical even?) that spins itself into an occult tale of voodoo and satanism. The detective, Harry Angel, agrees to search for and find Johnny Favorite, a popular singer that made the circuit prior to World War II.
Angel interviews a cast of characters and the story seems to take on a run of the mill "interview and look for loopholes in the story" plot. The occasional gruesome murder that seems to dog Angel keeps the story
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
“The tomb lies at the end of every path. Only the soul is immortal. Guard this treasure well. Your decaying husk is but a temporary vessel on an endless voyage.”

I've watched Angel Heart several times over the years, having no idea until last year it was spawned from a novel. Unobservant me never noticed until it was brought up in someone else's review. Being a fan of the twisted supernatural story-line meets hard boiled detective, I instantly purchased it. Did the book hold up to the movie?

Aug 14, 2007 Peggy rated it really liked it
William Hjortsberg's Falling Angel was the basis for the movie Angel Heart, and, Mickey Rourke notwithstanding, it's a mighty fine adaptation. Even if you've seen the movie, the book is well worth a read, but those of you who haven't seen the movie are in for a special treat.

Falling Angel tells the story of Harry Angel: a P.I. hired by a mysterious stranger to find out the whereabouts of 1940's crooner Johnny Favorite. What seems fairly straightforward at first glance becomes more and more compl
Ben Loory
Oct 02, 2014 Ben Loory rated it it was amazing
on the one hand, i think it's a perfect book. on the other hand, it was ruined a little bit by the fact that i'd already seen the movie angel heart, which was based on it, and so a lot of the power was lost. on the third hand, since so much power was lost simply because i knew what was going to happen, it's probably not a 5-star book (The Maltese Falcon and The Chill, for instance, just get better with each reading/viewing). but on the fourth hand, it's fucking genius, so fuck the third hand. 5 ...more
May 17, 2013 Bill rated it really liked it
Who wouldn’t love a supernatural crime noir tale set in the 50’s with voodoo, satanic cults, brutal murders and a hard-boiled detective named Harry Angel. I can see why this one is considered a classic...because it is. Highly Recommended.
Camille Stein
Feb 24, 2014 Camille Stein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Mickey Rourke / ‘Angel Heart’ (1987) / Alan Parker & William Hjortsberg -

Por muy taimadamente que te acerques a un espejo, tu imagen siempre te mira directamente a los ojos.

—Es un título de abogado —respondí—. Perteneció al fundador de esta agencia. Ya ha muerto.
—¿Sentimental? —farfulló Sterne entre sus apretados labios de ventrílocuo.
—Pone un toque de distinción.
—¿Qué dice? —preguntó el sargento Deimos.
—Lo ignoro. No entiendo el latín.
—De modo que es eso. Latín.
—Eso es.
Oct 20, 2014 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2015
4 Stars

What a thoroughly enjoyable hard boiled detective thriller. I picked this one up thanks to recommendations from Goodreads as I normally do not veer into the straight up mystery genre. To my surprise I had a tough time putting down this noir thriller.

Hjortsberg does a fabulous job of giving this story a 1950's feel. He stays true to the noir genre. First person narrations, plenty of dark and gloomy environments, and a hero that is also flawed and more real. The plot can be some what compl
Timothy Mayer
Apr 16, 2013 Timothy Mayer rated it it was amazing
I first read Falling Angel in 1983. Right after the KEW list was published in the old Twilight Zone magazine. Naturally, I went to the public library in search of the books on the list. Wagner being the obscure literature fan, I didn’t find too much. The exception was Falling Angel, which I took home and read over a matter of days.

In preparation for this review, I read the book again. I don’t usually re-read books as there’s too much out there I haven’t read. But I felt the passage of 30 years w
Harry Angel is a private detective, hired by a mysterious client to find singer, Johnny Favourite. His investigations soon point to a man who was heavily involved in black magic, finding him will be difficult enough without all of Harry's leads turning up dead as one by one they are taken out.

I've seen the movie of this book and although there are some similarities they are vastly different. I liked the character of Angel even though he played fast and loose with the law, he was well written and
Jun 20, 2013 Harold rated it it was amazing
I was on the phone the other day with a musician friend. He recommended this to me. “You'll love it!" He told me. “It takes place in The City and it's all places you know – PLUS there's a lot of jazz references you'll catch too. I read it in two days.”

When I got off the phone I checked Kindle and there it was. I downloaded it and began reading. I read it in two days also.

Noir, Jazz, Mystery, Voodoo, The Occult, familiar locale and even a real life character I remember. That's a five star formul
Aug 06, 2012 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I had read this book before seeing the movie "Angel Heart". But, as it has been over 20 years since I have seen the movie, I had forgotten most of the details (except a pretty steamy sex scene with Lisa Bonet (We're not in "Cosby" anymore, Theo! WOW!)). And of course, I remembered the ending. That being said, it did not much detract from how damn good this book is!

5 STARS, favorited
11811 (Eleven)
Apr 01, 2015 11811 (Eleven) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought one of the fundamental aspects of storytelling involved the inclusion of at least a few boring parts. This didn't seem to have any so I'm guessing it wasn't written correctly.

Constant pacing and a more than satisfying ending. Highly recommended.

Mar 22, 2015 Marc-Antoine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was completely engrossed with this story, read it in two days, and could not put it down.
Aug 22, 2011 Sandy rated it it was amazing
At one point in William Hjortsberg's masterful horror novel "Falling Angel," Epiphany Proudfoot, 17-year-old voodoo priestess, tells our detective hero Harry Angel "you sure know a lot about the city." The city in question is the New York of 1959, and if Angel knows a lot about this crazy burg, then Hjortsberg, in the course of this tale, demonstrates that he knows even more. While much has been said of this book's scary elements--its voodoo ceremonies and Black Mass meeting and horrible murders ...more
Nancy Oakes
Sep 11, 2008 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I'm a huge fan of noir crime fiction, and someone recommended this book as one I'd like in that genre. And sure enough, it held up as a fine noir novel. There's the private detective, Harold Angel, working out of a crappy little office, dressed sloppily, with stains on his tie; places that people wouldn't go to after dark; a private hospital in the country, characters involved in the dark world of voodoo and black magic etc. etc. And Angel's been hired by someone to find a missing singer who's b ...more
Mar 07, 2012 Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Twenty-five years ago I saw the movie "Angel Heart". I remember it being a very atmospheric film. Twenty-five years later, I read the novel that would become that movie. This is one of the best, noir, hard-boiled gumshoe novel's I've read. Hjortsberg also does a wonderful job on the atmosphere of New York City in the '50's. Throw in the case Harry Angel is working that involves, black magic, voodoo, and some gruesome murders, you have a very different hard-boiled novel. Getting in to this story, ...more
Mar 22, 2015 Kimberly rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, group-read
4.5 stars. Review to come!
Tony Gleeson
Nov 21, 2008 Tony Gleeson rated it it was amazing
Hjortsberg is a difficult author to find on the shelves. IMO he's well worth searching out.
After probably twenty years or so, I decided to pick this up and read it again. It stood the test of time quite well-- possibly since I have in the interim read a lot of other authors, his literary allusions might stand out better to my mind now. The tale begins as a first-person narrative by a private detective, told in the now-familiar manner of Chandler and Ross MacDonald. The action takes place over
Jenny Twist
Jul 20, 2013 Jenny Twist rated it it was amazing
I tried to get hold of this book when I first saw ‘Angel Heart’, still the best film I have ever seen, but failed to find it. What a joy to discover it is now available for Kindle.
Like many of the previous reviewers I thought it might be spoilt for me because I already knew what happened at the end. Not so. The language is stunningly beautiful.
How’s this for an opening sentence? ‘It was Friday the thirteenth and yesterday’s snowstorm lingered in the streets like a leftover curse.’
Or this for a d
Randolph Carter
If you like your horror laced with more than a little private dick noir then Falling Angel is the novel for you. Sucker private eye Harry Angel should have brushed up on his basic satanist symbolism as his "client" Louis Cypher (get it?) has him trying to find out if missing vegetable crooner Johnny Favorite is alive or dead and where he is. See Johnny "owes" something to the not so enigmatic Mr. Cypher.

The symbolism was a little heavy handed in this one and the fact that Angel doesn't know what
Aug 21, 2011 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Until the last 30 pages, there was nothing in this that made me want to keep reading. I only managed to by taking a long break, and then forcing myself since the book was short. The last 30 pages are okay, but even they aren't enough to recommend this. If you've read any pulp horror mags or reprints from the 1930s, you could take those and combine them w/ Rosemary's Baby, and you'd have this book.

The author went overboard in his attempts to remind you that the story is set in the 1950s. If he h
Então, Harry Angel é contratado para investigar sobre o Johnny Favorite se ele tá morto ou vivo.
Até aí tudo, nós somos levados a um carrossel interminável de quem era/é esse cantor que mexia com artes negras e que tantas pessoas amavam e odiavam.

O Johnny sempre foi excêntrico e uma pessoa que era tão gananciosa desaparecer de uma hora para é estranho. Porém, eu no caso, você chega no final e dá o clique de ele foi levado aquelas pessoas; fazendo ou não parte do desaparecimento dele.

O livro em s
Jun 10, 2012 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Falling Angel is the story of Harry Angel, a private investigator in the Big Apple during the 1950s. Imagine your quintessential private eye—hardnosed, problems with authority, a little bit slovenly. That’s Harry Angel. He fought during WWII in North Africa and has the fake nose and plastic surgery scars to prove. He’s hired by a wealthy businessman named Louis Cypher to track down a once-famous crooner known as Johnny Favorite. Cypher and Favorite had some business deal back when the singer was ...more
Martyn Halm
Sep 22, 2011 Martyn Halm rated it really liked it
If a mystery gets mixed with the occult or the supernatural, the result is often disastrous for the 'willing suspension of disbelief'. Falling Angel is an exception to the rule.

Struggling private investigator Harry Angel is hired by a foreign client, Louis Cyphre, to find Johnny Favorite, a crooner from before the war. Favorite is supposed to stay at a private hospital in upstate New York, where he is treated for 'shell shock' sustained in the war, but when Cyphre tries to visit him he gets the
Ignacio Senao f
Mar 19, 2016 Ignacio Senao f rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vi la película, no me gusto. A los años que uno ya la tenía casi olvidad decidió leer la novela en que se baso, y me gusto.

Clásica investigación de detective sobre la desaparición de un famoso, poco a poco se enreda la trama e imaginamos aún menos por dónde finalizará. Lo más característico y lo que realmente ha sido decisivo que me guste: lo oscuro y sórdido de la trama, en la que los ritos satánicos es el eje de todo.

Realmente está fuera de lugar en esta colección, ¿o a caso es tan oscura que
Jose Moa
Mar 29, 2017 Jose Moa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-suspense, teror
A awesome mix of noir,satanism and terror in a sordid underground,have inspired a good movie directed by Alan Parker with Mickey Rourke,Robet De Niro and Charlotte Rampling
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William Hjortsberg was an acclaimed author of novels and screenplays. Born in New York City, he attended college at Dartmouth and spent a year at the Yale School of Drama before leaving to become a writer. For the next few years he lived in the Caribbean and Europe, writing two unpublished novels, the second of which earned him a creative writing fellowship at Stanford University.

When his fellowsh
More about William Hjortsberg...

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