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A Quiet Belief in Angels

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  5,876 ratings  ·  629 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 406 pages
Published December 27th 2007 by Orion (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,876 ratings  ·  629 reviews

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Dec 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Geraldine O'Hagan
Apr 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A great big 5 STARS! Was blown away by this book, more by the style of writing than the story. Loved it!
Linda Parks
Sep 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Ethan Chapman
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
The scenes from Joseph’s childhood are vivid and immersive. The writing flows and, especially in the early parts, conjures incredible imagery. It really keeps you invested.

From the plot description, you’d think the majority of it was about a group of kids battling a serial killer, but this takes up a very brief amount of the book, strangely. It’s there and gone in a matter of pages.

As it goes on, however, things become slightly overblown. There are times when the writing becomes so purple that
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: general-fiction
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
John Herbert
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 s
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
Joe Maguire
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
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
Morticia Adams
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
4* for this audiobook edition; 3½* for the book itself

Mark Bramhall's voice was excellent for this book. It intensified the brooding Southern atmosphere significantly for me! As for the story, this isn't the type of mystery I prefer but I found it well written and the perspective of a person living in a rural area in which a serial killer of young girls is operating was interesting. However, there were a few times when the first person narration by Joseph Vaughn described things he couldn't have
Aug 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: crime, fiction
You can write a lyrical book. You can write a brutal book about girl murderers. Or one could even if one had to write a book about a oddly pretentious country boy growing up. I did not care for the combination of all three at all. It all tasted like ersatz.

Oct 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
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
Aug 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is in a class all by itself. A mixture of horror, drama, romance, mystery; I just can't catergorize it. Ellory deserves to be among the great classic authors, the one who comes to mind is Steinbeck.

The story is told through the eyes of Joseph Vaughan, a Georgia boy who grows up among the shadows of a serial killer who rapes, tortures and then tears apart little girls. Yes, it's disturbing, yes, it's gruesome and dark, but it's told with such beauty that even the most darkest of scenes
Wayne Wilson
Sep 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
A slow-paced crime novel set in rural Georgia before the First World War. Little girls are gruesomely murdered, impacting the life and future of Joseph Vaughan, precocious teenager. It is slow going. A better writer would have gotten away with it, but Ellory's prose is over-the-top and repetitive, trying too hard to be poignant and poetic. Joseph's obsession with the murders and subsequent navel gazing might have been interesting had there been som depth to it, but he remains a two-dimensional c ...more
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
First person narrator Joseph Vaughan in a small town in 1940s Georgia, believes a white feather on his father's death bed pillow was his father's angel. Not long afterwards a serial killer begins a spree of vicious murders of young women, so Joseph friends form 'the Guardians' to protect the women.
The extensive use of descriptive prose makes it feel like Ellory wants to tells the reader how smart and clever he is, in my opinion. Not as good as the book sounds, 5 out of 12.
Laurie Popovac
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Grada (BoekenTrol)
This book got 3 stars from me, because I can't realky decide what to think of it. It was nice to read (text wise), but the story was way to slow.
I like a bit of action every now and then, but in tbis book even these parts were slow. When all of the suspects were eliminated in one form or other, there was only one character left who could have done it. The way that was written down was okay, but I arrived to that conclusion before Joseph did..
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
The writing is beautiful, invoking a wealth of feelings. The story is familiar, but different enough to be intriguing. I hope the author continues to write.
Jane Long
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed it. Bit different, gripping too. Wanted to know what was going to happen next. Not predictable either. And, without giving anything away, wasn't really religious, despite the title (thank goodness!). ...more
Ian Mapp
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 12, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: librarybooks
‘In my dreams, I am a free man.’

One day in July 1939, when Joseph Vaughan was 12 years old, a white feather blew into his room. Joseph saw this as a sign of an angel’s visit. On the same day, his father died.

This angel, the Angel of Death, becomes a frequent visitor to the rural community of Augusta Falls in Georgia. And, as World War II becomes a reality in Europe, a number of young girls, classmates of Joseph, are murdered. Evil takes many different forms. Joseph wants to try to protect his co
Mar 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
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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

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