Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Quiet Belief in Angels” as Want to Read:
A Quiet Belief in Angels
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Quiet Belief in Angels

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  3,816 ratings  ·  455 reviews
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 witne
Hardcover, 396 pages
Published September 8th 2009 by The Overlook Press (first published 2007)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Quiet Belief in Angels, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Quiet Belief in Angels

The Forgotten Garden by Kate MortonThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe House at Riverton by Kate MortonThe Distant Hours by Kate MortonThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Best Past-Present Books
141st out of 277 books — 420 voters
The Quiet American by Graham GreeneAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraMoby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman MelvilleQuo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
Q is for quality
205th out of 280 books — 28 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Finally! I have finished this book. I thought I never would. It's SOOO slow-moving, but the prose is just brilliant. It reads like an enchanting, on-going poem. Don't read it for the story, read it for the words, because the latter far surpasses the former.
However it is a good story as well, slightly marred by the fact that there was no mystery in it for me as two of my relatives let slip the murderer's name in front of me before I started reading. People like that should be hanged.
But even th
A great big 5 STARS! Was blown away by this book, more by the style of writing than the story. Loved it!
Geraldine O'Hagan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A book with a lot of promise that fails miserably. What captured my attention in the beginning was the prose was very evocative but then it came to drown in its over reliance on similes...that repeat themselves over and over and over.
The story itself started good but became unendingly episodic and cliche. The serial killer narrative and coming of age narratives never gelled. Characterizations were a little interesting but this was lost in a story that went nowhere, I stopped reading w
Linda Parks
How exactly does a person move beyond a childhood filled with death? Death that seems to take form and follow... yet stay in front all the while, taunting with it's ability to control the very life one tries to escape?
This story begins in early 1900's with the death of a young boy's father - and what follows is a not so sweet serial killer mystery in surrounding Georgia country where everyone is suspect and one boy is destined to be haunted - if not hunted - forever.
I'll admit, I do like for s
I’ve been too busy to review the last few books I’ve read, but I want to make the effort and start again.

OK, so I picked this off the shelf mostly because of the title. It’s a nice, lyrical title and the backcopy said it was about a young group of boys who band together to discover who is killing little girls in their home town.

Sounds exciting, right?

I’m really torn about this book. On the one hand I think it’s really well written, even if the prose does get a little purple and overly descriptiv
Joe Maguire
This is a somewhat difficult review to begin as I have quite mixed feelings having just finished the book. My conclusion is probably best summarised by saying that I really enjoyed the novel and am glad to have read it, despite some flaws that became more evident as the story developed.

The prose was excellent, with some descriptive passages that are pure poetry. This rich prose became a little formulaic as the book went on, and there was a noticeable increase in repetition of similes later in th
Ellory, R. J. A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS. (2009). *****. I believe that this is one of the best-written books I have read in years. Although it is a crime novel, it reads as much like a family saga as anything else. It is set in a small town in Georgia, where a young boy, Joseph Vaughan, grows up as most other boys in such a setting, until a tragedy strikes and a young girl is found murdered and violated on the outskirts of town. The townspeople are aghast at such an event, and begin to look at ea ...more
John Herbert
Read it and WEEP!!!!!!!!
Maybe or maybe not physically, but sure enough you'll weep inside at Joseph Vaughan's life in Augusta Falls and beyond.

Such a damaging life, as fear and outrageous violence takes away a normal upbringing, surrounding him with the ghosts of lost children, forever haunting his nightmares, as this beautifully crafted novel progresses.

You find yourself not so much identifying with the various characters in Augusta Falls, as becoming one of the townsfolk yourself, sharing thei
Apr 29, 2008 Carrie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Eveyone who loves a thriller
Recommended to Carrie by: Roger Ellory
When I first started reading R.J.Ellory’s, A Quiet Belief in Angels, I thought,

"This is a con.....this can't be right.....this is a joke!"

I was convinced I was reading the works of the Master, Steinbeck.

Right from the opening lines, Ellory had me drawn in, taken under the influence of, and then totally intoxicated by his verbal skills and mastery over phrase, paragraph and perfect prose.

‘Sat at my window, chin almost touching the sill, and looked out into the night. Sky as hard as flint, the scu
Oct 29, 2015 Karine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: jessica
Shelves: fictie
Mooi geschreven.
Deed me qua inhoud een beetje denken aan 'De kraaien zullen het zeggen' van Ann-Marie MacDonald en ook aan 'De kleine vriend' van Donna Tart. Denk dat ik deze kortelings nog eens ga lezen.

quote over lezen:
Mijn vader zei altijd tegen me dat het een van de belangrijkste dingen was die je kon doen. Hij zei dat je je hele leven in een hutje kon wonen in een dorpje van anderhalve man en een paardenkop, maar als je kon lezen, kon je in gedachten de hele wereld over reizen. (p26)

over r
Here is a man with “a quiet belief in angels” a man who is both persistent and intrepid; I found this book hard to put down, a beautifully written book, the prose illuminating and the story startling. Never once was I tempted to skip the long passages so confidently written. The author writes an Incredible and disturbing account of the long, long hunt for a child killer, and in so doing relates the poignant, heart wrenching story of the boy who became that man. Brilliant.
I do not have the right words to describe my absolute love of this amazing and wonderful book. It is simply stunning. I have not been able to put it down and just loved Joseph Calvin Vaughan: I just wanted to hug him and take away all his pain and the terrible tragedies that dogged his life from an early age.

I have read some amazing books this year and had just finished a terrific book before moving onto one of my favourite authors, R J Ellory and this heartbreaking novel.

All I can describe it
Crystal Craig
mysterious, well-written, why?

When I got to the half-way point reading, R.J. Ellory's, A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS, something tragic happened. My chaotic outside life, the life I live away from reading got in the way. Nothing irritates me more. I kept thinking about the book, wondering what sick SOB was killing young girls, but be darned if I could clear my head five minutes to read. Finally, after having to abandon the book for a week, I finished today (Thursday, June twelfth, 2014).

This is my fi
Morticia Adams
This wouldn’t have been a bad crime thriller, had it not been ruined by the author’s apparent belief that he’s a much better writer than he actually is. He aims for the lyrical and poetic and falls flat because he doesn’t apparently understand the value of restraint or economy, and that constant repetition of an idea will diminish its impact.

I suspect that many editors today aren’t ruthless enough, and are too ready to swallow their authors’ self-hyping. A good editor might have suggested that
This book starts when Joseph Vaughan's father dies. Joseph is 12 and hopes that his father has become an angel. That year the first little girl in his community is murdered. The book follows Joseph's life as he is touched by the horror of Hitler's war in Europe and the more local horror of the murders of young girls.

I have to say the plot was nothing like I anticipated. From the book jacket you are given to believe that the first part of the book will be about Joseph's childhood and the local mu
Wayne Wilson
Wow! This was totally unexpected. This felt like true literature. A very dark book. A murder mystery but not like any murder mystery book I have ever read. From the title I was sort of hoping or expecting super natural events but it was not that kind of book.

We start out with a young man whose father just passed away, I think he is the 4th grade. He has a great teacher who challenges him and she see's in Joe (our protagonist) a writer to be. Well Joe has a girl class mate who is brutally raped a
This book was recommended to me by a friend and I'm SO glad I listened and read this one. This was such a good story I didn't want to quit reading it. Could one person's life be just one tragedy after another as in this story? Joseph Vaughan lives in a town where a serial killer is killing young girls and he becomes engrossed with wanting to find out who the murderer is. All the while, he seems to suffer so many losses in his own life. The writing in this book is beautiful. I never guessed who t ...more
Een mooi geschreven boek, maar toch enkele grote hiaten in het verhaal en het plot...

Het hoofdpersonage leeft zijn leven, getroubleerd door wat er in zijn leven gebeurd is... maar eigenlijk doet hij helemaal niets om de moordenaar te zoeken, buiten wat naar artikels staren die hij in de loop van de tijd verzameld heeft...

Na veertig jaar zoekt hij de oude guardians terug op, om hen te herinneren aan hun eed, maar in het ganse boek wordt 'de zoektocht van de guardians' herleid tot 2 momenten: het
É um livro interessante e com uma excelente narrativa, no entanto, creio que promete demais como thriller/policial e no fim não se aproxima disso. Breves descrições das meninas assassinadas e quase no final um momento ou outro que nos prende mas pouco mais que isso.
A história de vida da personagem principal é realmente surpreendente.
Laurie Popovac
overall a beautifully written novel. took me a bit to get through. a little long and slow to get going, but about halfway the pace picks up and is really interesting with twists and turns along the way.
From the blurb: "Joseph Vaughan's life has been dogged by tragedy. Growing up in the 1950s, 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. Despite banding together with his friends as ' The Guardians', he was powerless to prevent more murders - and no one was eve ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ian Mapp
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
My Inner Shelf
J’avais adoré Les Anonymes en octobre dernier, mais là c’est un cran au-dessus !
Encore plus sombre, Seul le silence est un roman avant tout psychologique, un genre de thriller sans réel suspens ni enquête. L’enquête menée pas Joseph Vaughan est principalement intérieure. Traumatisé par la Mort en général et celle de son père et des premières victimes en particulier, Joseph restera lié à une fatalité qui le hante depuis l’enfance. On est fasciné par l’enchainement des événements, on assiste au dé
Veramente sarebbero due stelline e mezzo.

Avvincente non c'é che dire.

Ma il troppo stroppia.

Ad un certo punto pensi: "ma ancora?" perché al protagonista gliene capitano di tutti i colori, e non belli.

Partiamo con la morte del padre e poi decisamente ho perso il conto delle bambine morte, il vicino che si impicca, la madre che da fuori di matto, la compagna incinta che muore, poi un'altra compagna incinta anche lei che viene trucemente ammazzata, lui che finisce in galera per 13 anni e poi si sco
British author R.J. Ellory’s crime novel, A Quiet Belief In Angels, seems from another time. He was born in 1965 and he writes about fictional events that begin in 1939 and continue through the 1960’s and finally culminates in a short epilogue, in 2005; but that is not the other time I mean. The pace of the novel seems like something that was written in the late 1950’s. It is blissfully deliberate and some patience is needed, but only a little and only for a short while. I fell right back into ...more
Joseph Vaughan's life has been dogged by tragedy. Growing up in the 1950s, 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. Despite banding together with his friends as ' The Guardians', he was powerless to prevent more murders - and no one was ever caught.
It's been awhile since I've encountered a narrator as tightly controlled by his author as Joseph Vaughan is in R.J. Ellory's "A Quiet Belief in Angels." There's a part of Joseph we can't quite get to, hidden by the cloak of enigma or numbness, and Ellory holds the reins relentlessly. But it's no wonder. In his story, spanning decades, Joseph is haunted by the brutal deaths of young girls in his small Georgia town. As the bodies of murdered and mutilated girls pile up in Augusta Falls and in surr ...more
This is a truly beautiful and intriguing book. False impressions may be created because this book is earmarked as a crime novel. And it is so much more than that. It is the growing up story of a young boy Joseph, who looses his father at early age, grows up with his mother, and when she is taken to a mental institution, alone, in Augusta Falls, Georgia. The core of the story is crime, little girls being molested and killed in the area.Meanwhile, Joseph grows up, with several tragic events in his ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dirty Tricks
  • Hard Revolution
  • The Madman of Bergerac
  • The Great Impersonation
  • Death at the President's Lodging (Sir John Appleby, #1)
  • The Four Just Men  (The Four Just Men #1)
  • The Visible World
  • Malice Aforethought
  • Berättelse om herr Roos (Barbarotti #3)
  • La Forêt des ombres
  • The Beast Must Die (Nigel Strangeways, #4)
  • The Poisoned Chocolates Case (Roger Sheringham Cases, #5)
  • Poetic Justice (A Kate Fansler Mystery #3)
  • Nineteen Seventy Seven (Red Riding, #2)
  • Les Arcanes du chaos (Le Cycle de l'homme, #1)
  • Nightmares & Dreamscapes, Volume III
  • Relentless (Tina Boyd #2)
  • The Pledge
Roger began his first novel on November 4th, 1987 and did not stop, except for three days when he was going through a divorce from his first wife, until July of 1993. During this time he completed twenty-two novels, most of them in longhand, and accumulated several hundred polite and complimentary rejection letters from many different and varied publishers.

He stopped writing out of sheer frustrat
More about R.J. Ellory...

Share This Book

“Let the past be what it was, the present what it is, the future the best it can be.” 27 likes
“Love was the breaking and healing of hearts. Love was the 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, possessed of so many indefinable qualities that it could never be conveyed in language. Love was being.” 13 likes
More quotes…