Morticia Adams's Reviews > A Quiet Belief In Angels

A Quiet Belief In Angels by R.J. Ellory
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Jan 12, 12

Read in January, 2012

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 Mr Ellory put less effort into the elaboration of his style, and more into ironing out the flaws and implausibilities of his story. Of the latter there are unfortunately quite a few: no insight into the motives of the killer, no satisfactory explanation of the narrator’s obsession with and irrational feelings of responsibility for the murders; inadequate acknowledgement of the traumatic legacy a series of such horrific crimes would surely have had on a small town where nearly everyone knew each other. And too many anachronisms in the dialogue - “enough already”, “enjoy”, etc – that’s just lazy writing!

Despite this, I really think that as a story-teller, he does have some talent: I read the book to the end because I was keen to see the resolution of the mystery, and the identity of the culprit. But as a writer, sadly, he doesn’t have a great deal to say.
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James Keenley I finished this book last night, and those were my feelings exactly.


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