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Bekraste zielen

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De halfbroertjes Clarence en Elliot wonen in een weeshuis sinds hun moeder door geweld omkwam. Hun veilige leven neemt een bizarre wending wanneer ze gegijzeld worden door Earl Sheridan, een veroordeelde moordenaar en psychopaat van het ergste soort. Het trio trekt door Californië en Texas, op de vlucht voor de autoriteiten. De jongens worden geconfronteerd met een groeiende stroom van geweld waar ze beiden totaal anders mee omgaan. De keuzes die ze maken zullen hun levens voor altijd veranderen, evenals hun onderlinge relatie. Bekraste zielen is een thriller over de gevolgen van geweld, loyaliteit en de hoop op redding.

430 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2011

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About the author

R.J. Ellory

50 books417 followers
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 frustration and did not start again for eight years.

In the early part of September 2001 he decided to start writing again. This decision was based on the realization that it was the only thing he had ever really wanted to do.

Between August 2001 and January 2002 he wrote three books, the second of which was called ‘Candlemoth’. This was purchased by Orion and published in 2003. ‘Candlemoth’ was translated into German, Dutch and Italian, and has now also been purchased for translation in numerous other languages. The book also secured a nomination on the shortlist for the Crime Writers’ Association Steel Dagger for Best Thriller 2003. His second book, ‘Ghostheart’, was released in 2004, and his third book, ‘A Quiet Vendetta’, was released in August 2005. In 2006 he published ‘City of Lies’, and once again secured a nomination for the CWA Steel Dagger for Best Thriller of that year. His fifth book – ‘A Quiet Belief In Angels’ - was published in August 2006, and in the latter part of the year it was selected for the phenomenally successful British TV equivalent of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, the Richard and Judy Book Club.

‘A Quiet Belief In Angels’ went on to be shortlisted for the Barry Award for Best British Crime Fiction, the 813 Trophy, the Quebec Booksellers’ Prize, The Europeen Du Point Crime Fiction Prize, and was winner of the Inaugural Prix Roman Noir Nouvel Observateur. It has since been voted Best Thriller of 2009 in The Strand Magazine. The book was also optioned for film, and Roger has recently completed the screenplay for Oscar-winning French director, Olivier Dahan.

Following on from ‘A Quiet Belief In Angels’, Roger released ‘A Simple Act of Violence’, again securing a nomination for Best British Crime Fiction of 2008. In late 2009 he released ‘The Anniversary Man’ to rave reviews.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 138 reviews
Profile Image for Gail.
398 reviews
October 21, 2016
Every once in a while a book comes along that you know, without question, you will never forget. Beautifully written, incredibly descriptive and you actually feel like you are watching a film; this is one such book. It's simply breathtaking. I actually cried so hard at the end; I felt like I was mourning a loved one; I had come to love and care for most of the characters that much.

This is an incredibly violent and gruesome story of a serial killer and it's very disturbing but the violence and cold bloodied murders are essential for the depth of the plot.

The story is mostly set in and around the 1960s. Elliot Danzinger and Clay Luckman are half brothers who, as small children, witness their mother being brutally murdered by her husband and father of one of the boys. Elliot becomes hugely protective of Clay as they're are put into a home for orphans and then later a juvenile facility for a petty crime. Fate plays a hand when an escaped convicted murderer, Earl Sheridan, takes the boys (when they are teenagers) hostage. Things take a turn for the worse and the story rockets into space in an incredible way with the pieces all fitting into the jigsaw at the end.

Detective John Cassidy, one of my very favourite characters, becomes involved in the case and sets out to investigate.

The final quarter of the book I actually couldn't read as I realised I wasn't breathing so had to walk away from it for a time, even though I was anxious to finish it.

I will never forget this incredible book. Massively recommended but be warned, as I've said above, it's very violent and disturbing.

I am coming back down to earth slowly now :-)

Profile Image for Karen.
1,794 reviews107 followers
November 25, 2011
Every now and then, along comes one of those books. The sort that makes you look at people who make statements like "I NEVER read genre fiction" with just that little bit of sadness for what they are missing. That's not to say that BAD SIGNS is the sort of book that everyone is going to enjoy, but for any readers looking for something that will really make you think, take you into some very uncomfortable places, and be profoundly challenged, then it will be an outstanding book.

Strange as it may seem from the blurb, this is a book about hope. Albeit brutally wrapped up in human frailty. Returning to themes that Ellory has explored in earlier books - this is the story of young men confronted with an impossible situation, informed only by a deprived and desperate background, and the choices that they make. BAD SIGNS gives us two young boys, half-brothers, raised by the same mother, witnesses to the same violence and experiencing the desperation and degradation of State Care together, who make independent choices when pushed to the extreme. Fuelled by their respective ages, tempered undoubtedly by their allotted "roles" in their relationship, Clarence (Clay) Luckman and Elliott Danziger fight their dark stars in their own particular ways.

BAD SIGNS is populated by difficult people to read about - be it because of who they are, what they become, or what could happen to them. Psychopathic serial killer Earl Sheridan is a violent, out of control madman, who for some reason chooses not to kill the brothers in the aftermath of his escape. Which makes reading about their present in his thrall terrifying. What happens to those two boys while they are dragged across the country by this lunatic, violently killing just about everybody he encounters is profoundly discomforting reading. As each of the early chapters end by flagging the horror that is about to occur, it's really difficult to see where any hope is going to come from. Until the boys make their own choices, and the affects of that start to play out. Even then, the tension remains as you worry about how this will play out for the boys. The story remains disturbing and confronting, and the tension is ramped up even more as the reader is dragged, kicking and screaming into the minds of these two boys. Somehow, it's not long before a sense of hope does rise, and with that the tension gets even worse as the reader is left fighting a range of emotions - identification, terror, worry for the future, nervous about the potential resolutions.

It's clever this BAD SIGNS. It's incredibly clever. It's dark and dire, and frightening, disturbing and hypnotic. It's only when you've finished reading, when the resolution is known and the tension can finally abate, that there's a chance for this reader to look back and consider. What the book has done is take two characters from the same mother and childhood, with that slightly different genetic background, put them in dire circumstances and look closely, forensically at what becomes of each person. Whilst not everything is completely hopeless, and there are glimpses of bravery, belief, care, love, defiance and empathy, it is a careful study in human frailty, in madness, mistakes and the power of connections. It's a sobering reminder of how a single encounter can twist a life forever - good or bad, it just depends on how each individual plays the cards they are handed.

There were points where I had to step away for a little while. The violence, the psychopathy of Earl Sheridan, the circumstances of these two young boys, it's in your face. It's pointed, almost grotesque. It's frequently overwhelming. But it's not gratuitous, it draws a very clear picture of the peril of Clay and Elliott, as well as anyone who innocently comes across the worst of them.

Make no mistake, BAD SIGNS is not an easy book to read, it is, however, one hell of a very very very good book.
Profile Image for Mike Van Barneveld.
76 reviews3 followers
February 19, 2013
Als je van boeken houdt die je ziel op velerlei verschillende manieren weten te raken, dan heb je met ‘Bekraste Zielen’ van R.J. Ellory goud in handen. De auteur heeft een verhaal weten neer te zetten dat je haast met ingehouden adem leest. Ellory heeft een hele eigen manier van schrijven ontwikkeld waardoor zijn boeken lastig in een bepaalde categorie in te delen zijn. Zelf duidt hij zijn boeken graag aan als ‘slow motion thrillers’, en beter kan hij de spijker niet op zijn kop slaan. Over elk woord dat in het boek staat is nagedacht en uiteindelijk met de uiterste zorg gekozen. Doordat elk woord er toe doet ga je automatisch langzamer lezen, wat zeker niet onverdienstelijk is. Het verhaal is zó mooi dat je er als lezer zo lang mogelijk ‘in wilt blijven zitten’. Het is eigenlijk jammer als je het boek uit hebt.

Het hele verhaal draait om de halfbroers ‘Clay’ (Clarence Luckman) en ‘Digger’ (Elliot Danziger). Twee jongens die niet voor het geluk geboren lijken te zijn. Hun vaders hebben ze nooit gekend en als ze respectievelijk vijf en zes jaar zijn wordt hun moeder voor hun ogen doodgeslagen. Vanaf dat moment zijn ze op elkaar aangewezen. Anders dan hun ogen lijken ze in geen enkel opzicht op elkaar, maar vullen elkaar wel perfect aan. Ze zijn in hun jeugd dan ook onafscheidelijk. Een erg leuke jeugd hebben ze niet. Ze verblijven voornamelijk in weeshuizen en gevangenissen. Wat ze tijdens deze periode op de been houdt, is een folder die ze gevonden hebben. Hierin wordt vermeld dat het leven in Eldorado Texas als een hemel op aarde moet zijn. Als ze daar een konden komen...

Ze raken langzaam gewend aan hun onfortuinlijke leven en leggen zich er bij neer dat ze onder een donker gesternte geboren lijken te zijn. Het leven van de jongens neemt echter een drastische wending als ze door de ontsnapte gevangene Earl Sheridan als gijzelaars gebruikt worden. Hij neemt ze mee in een tocht door Amerika die voornamelijk bestaat uit het plegen van moorden en verkrachtingen.

Hoe langer ze samen zijn, hoe meer Digger in Earl een ‘role model’ gaat zien. Clay daarentegen is doodsbang en gaat zich juist steeds meer tegen de twee afzetten. Bij een mislukte bankoverval, scheiden de wegen van de broers elkaar. Clay weet samen met de beeldschone Bailey, te vluchten en besluit zijn droom te volgen en naar Eldorado te reizen. Digger besluit echter in de voetsporen van Earl te treden en vervolgt zijn weg in de misdaad. Een laatste smerige streek van de psychopaat Earl, die bij de mislukte bankoverval dodelijk gewond is geraakt, zorgt er voor dat Clay buiten zijn schuld om verantwoordelijk gesteld wordt voor het spoor van dood en verderf dat zijn broer zaait. De jacht op Clay wordt door de FBI geopend. Hij moet gevonden worden en wel ‘dead or alive’.

Hoe de wegen van de beide broers zullen lopen zal ik niet verklappen en of ze ooit in Eldorado aan zullen komen dat laat ik ook nog even open. Ik daag je uit het zelf uit te vinden. Maar hou je vast voor een psychologisch achtbaan waar je in terecht zult komen. Ondanks dat ik dit boek iets minder vind dan ‘Een stil geloof in engelen’, is dit wederom een verhaal van een zeer hoog niveau. Bij dit boek hoort maar één advies: ‘lezen’.
Profile Image for Stephen.
520 reviews152 followers
November 7, 2011
Tremendous book. Had all the usual attributes that I like in RJ Ellory books - the clever way that two stories come together as one; the references to true life events; the way that emotions/feelings are described which so brilliantly describe how the characters are thinking and make them seem so real; and the twist in the ending.
But this one was different from the others and more ambitious and risky - it was told from the perspective of the criminals rather than from that of the good guys that were chasing them and there was a twist early on (page 108) that was completely unexpected and which I almost had to reread to check that it had really happened. The way that the characters develop from then on is what really makes the book such a great read. Can't say much more without giving the story away but suffice to say that this is one of my all time favourites.
Profile Image for Anne.
2,097 reviews1,035 followers
April 17, 2011
Bad Signs is set in the 1960s, in Texas in the USA and takes place during one week - only seven days, but an exhausting seven days, for the characters and for the reader. Elliot and Clarence are two half-brothers, better known as Digger and Clay, they were orphaned at an early age and have spent their time in 'juvy'. Life has not been good for them - were they born under a 'bad sign', will the dark star that has followed them through life always make life this bad? It certainly seems that way when they are taken hostage by a convicted murderer, Earl Sheridan - a mad, bad man with nothing to lose and who lets nothing get in his way.
And so follows a fast-paced story, as the fugitives set off across Texas, in the hope of finding their own Eldorado.
Earl Sheridan is possibly one of the meanest, psychopathic individuals that I have ever read about and it is these traits that are welcomed by one of the brothers. Not for him, the horror of murder and torture and totally meaningless death, instead it sparks something inside him that reveals the darkness within and soon he too starts to cause his own kind of havoc - leaving a shocking trail of misery and in his wake.
The other brother finds himself caught up in a chase that he doesn't understand and is not really aware of whilst finding his first real friend of his life.
There were times when I just had to stop reading. As much as I was desperate to know which way the story was going to turn next, the full-on details of some horrific murders, the sense of horror and the shock of some of the decisions made by the characters almost took away my breath, and stopping for breath was all I could do.
There are some scenes in Bad Signs that shock, yet none of them are unnecessary to the story, and despite the horror they just add more depth to the story. This is no ordinary crime novel, this is a story of the evil that is hidden away inside some human beings and the depths that some people will go. The characters are flawed inside but brilliantly portrayed. The small-town image, the sleepy countryside, awoken by the terror that comes amongst them, and the unrelenting sense of not really knowing if justice will be done makes this another thrilling read from Ellory. Who knows just where he will go to next?
Profile Image for Jennifer (JC-S).
2,877 reviews197 followers
March 15, 2012
‘Eldorado. Where kids have moms and dads.’

When Clarence Luckman’s father kills their mother, Clarence and his half-brother Elliott Danziger , spend their childhood in various state institutions. By the time they are teenagers, housed in a juvenile detention facility, Clarence (known as Clay) and Elliott (known as Digger) are well acquainted with violence and the darker side of life in institutions. And things are about to get a whole lot worse when they are taken hostage by Earl Sheridan. Earl Sheridan, a man en route to death row with nothing left to lose, kills his way out of imprisonment and takes the brothers with him as hostages.

Set in the 1960s, in Texas, the balance of the story plays out over the next nine days. Earl Sheridan is a psychopath who takes the boys on a killing spree. Digger is fascinated, and sees Earl as a hero and someone that he wants to emulate. And so he does. Clay manages to escape, but is caught in a different tragedy as a consequence of mistaken identity.

This novel is both thriller and epic tragedy. Who will survive, and how? Are the fates determining who will live and die? Will the guilty be punished, and can the innocent survive? Both boys are seeking a happier life, both seem set on reaching their own Eldorado but each has chosen (or is drawn to) a different path. Other people, whose paths cross theirs, will have their lives changed. Or ended. Is it chance, or fate? Pre-destined, or self-determined? If self-determined, what factors determine the choices?

I could not put this novel down. I was caught up in an atmosphere of dreadful expectation and fearful hope – of a brighter future for one of the brothers and his new-found friend. There are some horrific scenes in this novel, but none of them seemed gratuitous within the context of the story. ‘Bad Signs’ is disturbing but never entirely without hope. And the ending? Somehow it seemed appropriate. If you want to know why, you’ll need to read it yourself. Be prepared to be shocked and moved, and then haunted.

‘Doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you’re always looking at the same sky.’

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
Profile Image for James.
781 reviews26 followers
July 10, 2015
Clarence Luckman and Elliott Danziger are orphaned half-brothers that started life rough, two teenagers who know little about the world except the unpleasant state institutions in which they grew up. Their lives change forever when they are taken as hostages by a convicted killer on his way to death row.

Ellory's novel is a brilliant thriller that keeps you reading as you feel for his characters in the midst of desperation on the highways and small towns of south-west United States in the mid-1960s. The violence is sparing but graphic, and because the writer is British, he doesn't follow the American formula precisely, so it's quite hard to predict what will happen next: the looming threat edging into the mind of the reader not only has you guessing but actually makes you nervous as you turn the page. I enjoyed this book a lot. It's part thriller, part police procedural, part teenage philosophy. Despite all this, it's still missing something I can't quite put my finger on - that X-factor that makes a story as easy and sensual as running your finger along a swatch of velvet. But even his bad books are good - Ellory is a talented writer and I will be reading more of his work.
Profile Image for Sarah.
2 reviews
August 3, 2012

My other half put me onto this book, as he so often does. We both usually enjoy the same authors.

This book had me hanging on each character's story as the author rotates their experiences chapter by chapter. You really want to know where each cliff hanger leads! The violence is described in enough detail without being gratuitous & leaves your imagination processing the rest.

All together an enjoyable read with some lovely twists that keep you guessing.
Profile Image for Bernd.
119 reviews11 followers
February 11, 2018
Heel sterk verhaal, gruwelijk mooi. Meeslepend geschreven, heel filmisch ook. Een boek dat je met spijt weglegt als je moet stoppen met lezen en waarbij je op het einde het boek sluit en zo eventjes dromerig in de verte kijkt en nog nageniet.
180 reviews1 follower
September 23, 2018
Highly recommend this book.
Lots of violence which I found quite upsetting many times throughout the book, but this intense story is so very well written. Absolutely loved this brilliant book...which did surprise me. Now to read more of this author.
Profile Image for Annabee.
452 reviews17 followers
March 26, 2013
R.J. Ellory weet uitstekend te verwoorden wat er in de halfbroers Digger en Clay omgaat. Digger is hard, kil, licht beïnvloedbaar en instabiel, Clay is de softie met een degelijk karakter. De jongens slaan totaal verschillende wegen in, de lezer volgt hen op de voet. Daarnaast speelt de verhaallijn van het politieonderzoek naar een reeks van geweldsmisdrijven. Het spreekt vanzelf dat de diverse lijnen elkaar op zeker moment kruisen.

‘Bekraste zielen’ is geschreven in een stijl die doet denken aan de rapportage van een serie gebeurtenissen. De auteur gaat gedetailleerd en breedvoerig te werk en lijkt van geen ophouden te weten bij het opvoeren van steeds weer nieuwe personages. Ellory’s vertelstijl is uniek, ongeacht of deze al dan niet je smaak is. Ik heb bewondering voor zijn psychologisch inzicht en voor het schijnbare gemak waarmee hij alles kloppend maakt, hoe complex ook. Er zit vaart in het verhaal, maar het bevat ook dode momenten die de vaart eruit halen. Over zijn boek ‘De helden van New York’ schreef ik: “Minpunt is de plot: de auteur gaat recht op het doel af, er valt voor de lezer weinig te puzzelen of te raden. Desondanks blijft er een zekere spanning tot het einde, knap gedaan, maar toch ...” Datzelfde gevoel heb ik na lezing van ‘Bekraste zielen’. Ik mis iets, het is allemaal erg afstandelijk; ik mis warmte en oprechte betrokkenheid en dat maakt dat ik niet volledig meegezogen wordt in het verhaal.

‘Bekraste zielen’ heeft veel weg van een roadmovie en zou het als jaren-zestig-film ongetwijfeld goed doen. Rauw, realistisch en met (te?) veel geweldsscènes, waar dan weer een psychologische benadering tegenover staat.
Alle plussen en minnen bij elkaar geteld kom ik tussen de drie en vier sterren uit. Ik rond af naar vier, op grond van de perfectie van Ellory en het feit dat hij zich met zijn typerende stijl weet te onderscheiden van collega-thrillerauteurs.
Profile Image for Big Bertha.
286 reviews21 followers
September 3, 2016
On finishing this book I have to say "That was probably one of the best books I've ever read"

Digger Danzinger and Clay Luckman were half brothers who never got a break, growing up in a Juvenile Detention Centre things weren't going to change. Then a freak storm bought killer Earl Sheridan to their door, en-route to his hanging it was the only suitable place for his guards to stop off for the night and when he makes a break for freedom, he needs hostages and Digger and Clay are the chosen ones.

This book is set over just 9 days. As Earl Sheridan and his hostages flee across country, they leave a trail of death and destruction behind them. Maybe not for the squeamish, there's a lot of violence and bloodshed in this book and parts of it are graphic and truly shocking as the evil in one individual is let loose on the community. The characterisation is what makes this book, each and every one of them are well written, believable and had depth. I found this book had a sort of 'car-crash fascination' for me, horrific but unable to stop reading until I reached the end.

Whilst I'm very definitely a fan of RJ Ellory's I don't love everything he's done, this however is probably in my opinion one of his best. I really could not put it down.
Profile Image for Els Baert.
27 reviews11 followers
February 21, 2013
Bekraste zielen is een zeer innemend en beklijvend boek dat hoofdzakelijk gaat over de levens van de twee halfbroers Clay en Elliot.
Reeds op jonge leeftijd krijgt hun leven plots een andere wending wanneer hun moeder komt te sterven.
Vanop dat moment lijken ze voor het ongeluk geboren. Aanvankelijk worden ze ondergebracht in een weeshuis, maar door het ondeugend gedrag van Elliot worden ze overgeplaatst naar de jeugdgevangenis.
Wanneer ze ook nog gegijzeld worden door een voortvluchtende terdoodveroordeelde, lijkt het of ze helemaal voor het ongeluk geboren zijn.
Bekraste zielen gaat over liefde en haat, het maken van keuzes en de gevolgen ervan.
Als lezer wordt je meegetrokken in een innemend en levensecht verhaal, dat vlot en spannend gebracht wordt. Je ondergaat tijdens het lezen een mix van emoties en op het eind moet je echt even bekomen.
R.J. Ellory begrijpt de kunst van het schrijven en zet zijn personages levensecht neer.
Bekraste zielen is zonder twijfel een absolute aanrader.
Eigenlijk 4 1/2 *
Profile Image for Bogdan.
102 reviews5 followers
June 4, 2019
This was probably one of the most violent and bloody books I've ever read. A Song of Ice and Fire does not have this many notable/heart wrenching deaths throughout a series of volumes.

My opinion of this novel has changed as I carried on reading it. It became easier to read and started to flow more, the more I acquainted myself with the style. There are plenty of typos and grammatical errors, but the author definitely has a gift for building up the suspense. There were moments when I just knew something bad was about to happen... AND IT DID! And I punched my desk once because of it. But this is part of the book's charm.

There are some lovely paragraphs and some very deep and philosophical thoughts, some real gems of wisdom hidden there if you have the eye to look for them. They contrast quite well with the delusions of the mad man and with the ones belonging to one who always sees oneself as a victim.

The concept of a road trip, which sets the scene, contributes really well to the overall impact of the book.

I would recommend this book!
Profile Image for Claude.
192 reviews28 followers
February 9, 2014
An unforgettable thriller. Perhaps the best one, in this genre, I have ever read. It's a hell (of a) ride. The tension is practically unbearable and despite the gruesome murders, there is so much tenderness to be found. Excellent!

The most dangerous thing about Earl Sheridan was his confidence. Confidence was nothing more than certainty. Confidence was simply saying something you believed in. Trouble was that those with impressionable minds took certainty and self-belief as truth.

Ever attempting to maintain an optimistic slant on things, he could not help but be aware of the fact that the social order was slipping… there seemed to be a brashness and superficiality appearing in society. Television was consuming people’s lives. The quality of things seemed to be deteriorating. People had less time for others.
Profile Image for Verity.
193 reviews85 followers
June 8, 2012
From beginning to end this story had me gripped and I simply could not stop reading.
The pace of the book is relentless and you really get caught up in the danger and suspense of it all- at times I realised I was even holding my breath waiting to see what was going to happen.
The relationship between the two half-brothers that this story centers around is beautifully described, and the people that they meet along the way equally add to the beauty of the story.
The way that this beauty is juxtaposed against the horror and the depravity of the main action within the story will leave you breathless.
This book is a must read!
18 reviews
August 7, 2012
I wasn't expecting much from this book after reading the synopsis but, boy, was I wrong! It is one of the best books I have ever read - and that is many. It is beautifully written and Ellory does a wonderful job in exploring the nature of human beings and how growing up and the building of character can go tragically wrong in an instant and with the added ingredients of further adversity can create a human monster, on one hand, and a caring good person on the other; in fact, mirror image personalities. This is a book I need to reflect on for a while, and enjoy, before taking another from my growing pile.
Profile Image for Ruth.
116 reviews4 followers
March 23, 2016
Een heel mooi geschreven boek. Grondig uitgewerkte hoofdpersonages.
De eerste twintig bladzijden vond ik aanvankelijk maar niets, maar toen het verhaal echt goed op gang kwam, zag ik ook het nut van de beginfase in.
Wat me gestoord heeft, is dat de personages bijna constant ronddwalen en af en toe halt houden om te eten. Een gegeven dat iets te vaak herhaald wordt.
Vanaf de helft van het boek zag ik ook al hoe het verhaal zou aflopen, waardoor de spanning grotendeels wegviel...
Profile Image for Coenraad.
187 reviews4 followers
February 11, 2013
Ik ben inmiddels halverwege het boek . Het is spannend vanaf de eerste blz. Veel karakters die allemaal ieder op een eigen een bijdrage leveren aan dit verhaal. Als je begint in dit boek wil je weten waar het verhaal naar toe gaa en welke wendingen het aanneemt. Top tot nu toe.
146 reviews1 follower
July 18, 2019
De halfbroertjes Clarence en Elliot wonen in een weeshuis sinds hun moeder door geweld omkwam. Hun veilige leven neemt een bizarre wending wanneer ze gegijzeld worden door Earl Sheridan, een veroordeelde moordenaar en psychopaat van het ergste soort. Het trio trekt door Californië en Texas, op de vlucht voor de autoriteiten. De jongens worden geconfronteerd met een groeiende stroom van geweld waar ze beiden totaal anders mee omgaan. De keuzes die ze maken zullen hun levens voor altijd veranderen, evenals hun onderlinge relatie. Bekraste zielen is een thriller over de gevolgen van geweld, loyaliteit en de hoop op redding.
Digger Danzinger en Clay Luckman zijn halfbroers. Vaders hebben ze nooit gekend en hun moeder sterft als ze 9 en 11 jaar zijn. Ze groeien op in een weeshuis en in een jeugdgevangenis waar Digger heen gestuurd werd. Clay vergezelt hem, want ze staan elkaar nabij. Op een dag ontsnapt een ter dood veroordeelde gevangene en neemt de jongens als gijzelaars mee. Een spoor van moord trekt van west naar oost door Amerika. Als de moordenaar omkomt in een vuurgevecht, neemt Digger zijn rol over. Clay vlucht weg met een meisje wier vader zojuist vermoord is, maar juist op hem maakt de politie jacht. De verschillende keuzes die de jongens maken, staan centraal in een serie gebeurtenissen die negen dagen in beslag nemen. Het verhaal wordt verteld in dezelfde journalistieke stijl als 'In cold blood' van Truman Capote en maakt dus de indruk een waargebeurd verhaal te zijn waarnaar de schrijver uitgebreid onderzoek heeft gedaan, getuige ook de vele details, nauwkeurige cijfers en andere gegevens. Het is een indrukwekkende thriller, maar meer nog een haarscherpe psychologische ontleding van karakters. Veel korte hoofdstukken. Kleine druk.

R.J. Ellory (1965) is de veelbekroonde auteur van thrillers die wereldwijd vertaald worden. Meest recent verschenen van hem in het Nederlands Het kwaad en de rivieren Een circus van schimmen. R.J. Ellory woont en werkt in Birmingham.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
150 reviews
June 25, 2019
Bekraste zielen of "Bad Signs" is een zeer aangrijpend verhaal waar het contrast tussen goed en kwaad (in de denkwijze van twee halfbroers) centraal staat in dit verhaal. Het boek is opgevat als een road movie waar beide broers door de loop van omstandigheden gescheiden geraken en elk op hun manier doorheen een deel van de VS trekken anno jaren 60. Waar de ene broer gebukt onder een slecht gesternte toch tracht te overleven en op zoek gaat naar een beter leven, brengt de andere broer op gruwelijke wijze dood en vernieling. Het contrast kan niet groter zijn. Er onstaat een klopjacht opgezet door de lokale en de federale politie. Helaas zorgt de gebrekkige communicatie in de jaren 60 van de vorige eeuw en de klassieke vooroordelenen en gemakzucht voor misverstanden die nefast lijken te worden voor de 'good guys'.
Het verhaal wordt verteld vanuit diverse standpunten (halfbroers, slachtoffers, politie, medestanders). Hierdoor wordt je als lezer nauw betrokken in het verhaal. Een welverdiende 9/10.
Profile Image for Telys.
54 reviews3 followers
October 3, 2017
Wow, wow, wow.
J'ai retrouvé dans "Mauvaise étoile" tout ce que j'avais aimé dans "Seul le silence" : un jeune homme résolument combattif, qui se débat à travers les mauvais sorts que la vie lui réserve.

Il y a de meilleurs départs dans la vie que d'assister au meurtre de sa mère par son second mari, mais c'est pourtant ce qui arrive à Elliott Danziger et Clarence Luckman. Leur vie se résumera ensuite à l'orphelinat et aux maisons de correction, jusqu'à ce qu'un condamné à mort s'évade en leur compagnie.
À partir de là, on suit leur road-trip sanglant et haletant.

Après plusieurs romans en demi-teinte, à mon goût, R.J Ellory renoue avec un récit passionnant, trépidant et envoûtant. L'écriture est fluide, précise mais jamais trop détaillée. Les personnages, même secondaires, prennent vie en quelques lignes et on s'attache immédiatement à eux.
Je déplore quelques facilités dans le scénario pour permettre la poursuite du récit mais soit. Après tout c'est de la fiction :)
Profile Image for Esther.
555 reviews108 followers
September 7, 2022
Thanks to Arjen for reading this book together with me! This book was a RIDE. If you're into crime/thrillers, this is definitely one to pick up. I was a bit surprised that it doesn't even have 1000 ratings on Goodreads. I thought it was a bit more well known. So I would definitely understand if you have not heard of this one!

Full review can be found at BiteIntoBooks

A very unique thriller with an author voice that is so unique. The story is fast paced, and because of all the horrible things that happen in this book, I had no idea how this would end. It's definitely one of the darker books, so if that's not your thing, I wouldn't pick it up! It didn't cross my gross-line, so I definitely enjoyed reading this one!
Profile Image for Wayne Haroutunian.
Author 5 books7 followers
July 8, 2018
Amazing writing, amazing story! Ellory builds a world and a depth of character unlike any other. Unexpected twists occur along the way and you’re taken along to the perfect ending — there could be no other ending than this one.

This book ISN’T for the faint of heart. But at the same time, the darkness is balanced with the light and with some of the most beautiful scenes and words of all. Reminds me of Cormac McCarthy, but with a different touch of magic added to the darkness. For me, it’s McCarthy with a touch of Nowhere Man and Orange Girl.

Highly recommended. I look forward to reading other works by the author.

95 reviews
October 16, 2022
Snap de recensies hier weer niet, maar zal weer aan mij liggen.

Het aantal moorden en gewelddaden opsommen in de juiste volgorde zou een goede kwisvraag zijn bij de lezers die dit boek zo geweldig vinden....

Natuurlijk mag ook de "superchampetter" niet ontbreken als tegengewicht tegen al dat geweld.

Wat ik Ellory wel moet nageven is dat hij er voor zorgt dat je door de vele namen en gebeurtenissen de draad niet kwijtraakt doordat hij af en toe en vrij onopvallend een korte resumé in het verhaal weet te stoppen. Zo kon ik het zelfs nog volgen na het vaak te hebben weg gelegd.

Hij heeft ook een boek geschreven over de doodstraf, en ik neem mij voor hem nog een kans te geven.
Profile Image for Lisa .
702 reviews27 followers
October 28, 2018
This book. It was so amazing. But oh my wordddddddd. It was one of the most (gratituously) violent books with graphic sexual attacks that I have ever read.

This was completely plot driven, bu the characters -- including most of the victims -- were very well defined. The reader connected with the characters and engaged with them throughout.

I loved Bailey and Clay. But I think the heroes of the novel were John Cassidy and his amazing wife. If you can get past the violence, grab this. It was a bit much for me, so 4/5 stars.
Profile Image for Ginny.
1,129 reviews
January 9, 2021
Half brothers Clarence (Clay) and Elliot (Digger) are orphaned when their mother was killed and are raised in an institution. On his way to Death Row, a convicted killer is temporarily housed there but manages to escape taking Clay and Digger as hostages. Clay sees Earl Sheridan for what he is--a psychopath. Digger is mesmerized by Sheridan and wants to follow in his footsteps. As all of this plays out the book gets brutal and tense and thrilling. You'll be glued to the book as it comes to its conclusion. Great writer.
Profile Image for Shawn.
209 reviews
December 7, 2017
I was so disappointed with this. I've read seven other Ellory books, and this is the only one I haven't liked. The plot was driven so much by coincidence, with such stereotypes, that I just couldn't enjoy it. A main character that seems to change with no reason to do so, and a plot that depends mainly on taking for granted that a criminal is telling the truth to the cops don't make this as compelling as it could and should have been.
Profile Image for Alison.
360 reviews2 followers
July 21, 2021
One of my favourite authors. I read this book with my heart either in my mouth or banging against my chest, the suspense waiting for the hammer to fall was that bad! Loved every word, a novel peopled with great characters and also a couple of downright evil ones. I’ve noticed that novels with the absolute worst, most violent criminals are almost always set in America, I’m not sure why this is so, lax gun laws maybe?
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