A Quiet Belief in Angels
Wow! To use a cliche, R.J. Ellory’s A Quiet Belief in Angels is a rollercoaster of a ride. By the end of it you know ‘who did it’ just before the hero does and you’re leaving indentions in the pages because you’re gripping the book so hard and willing the pages to go faster just to get to the showdown, although R.J. Ellory isn’t in a hurry to get to the end and eeks out the tension deliciously just a little bit more. But I’m getting ahead of myself, but so does Ellory, opening the book with the aftermath of the final confrontation, you are immediately left wanting to know more as our hero Joseph takes you through his tragic life story. Growing up in small town Georgia in the 1940s, his town Augusta Falls is plagued by a series of gruesome child murders which haunt Joseph. Looking at the repercussions of those tragic events and also what it means to be a writer (Joseph’s chosen profession), the story follows him as he grows up, more murders, more family tragedy later Joseph escapes to New York and here the book becomes for a moment quite different, in a way reminiscent of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, in style at least. However tragedy catches up with Joseph and he is wrongly imprisoned, when he eventually gets out he realises he can’t escape his past and he has to confront it. I would thoroughly recommend this book.
Finally, the collective Richard and Judy list (of which A Quiet Belief in Angels is part of) are up for the British Book Awards, so here is Mrs. Lacer’s own ‘guess the winner’ list where I’ll be ranking which book on the list I think should win. So I’ve read three now, so although a short list this is what I think is the best so far;
A Quiet Belief in Angels by R.J. Ellory – every page grips you, scares you and tears at your heart.
The Rose of Sebastopol by Katherine McMahon – a very close second, it is deeply and beautifully researched invoking the sites, sounds and smells of the Crimean War.
Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann