A Quiet Belief in Angels by R J Ellory – review

A quiet belief in angels r j ellroyThe book that I had read prior to reading A Quiet Belief in Angels was an all tell thriller that frustrated me to no end. So when I read the opening lines I fell into it with ease as an antidote to that which I had just read. Sentences to swim in was what I needed right then and Ellory delivered. With that said I am of two minds about the book and feel conflicted about it.

On one hand the prose is luxuriate and provides plenty of opportunities to just swim in it and enjoy where it takes you. But on the other hand the language is self-conscience in that the protagonist uses more and bigger words then are probably necessary. But here’s the thing, I think the voice of the first person protag is true because it probably reflects his autodidactic education and small town upbringing. While it may be true and consistent it is also trying at times. Something that one character says to the other midway through the book acts as a distillation of this idea:

‘I was on my way,’ he said. ‘Sometimes like to make a journey of what I’m saying so it feels more like a destination when I get there.’

I did hit a point in the book where I thought it was starting to meander a bit and I just wanted to get on with it. Again though this may be internally consistent with the conceit that the author is also the protagonist. A Quiet Belief in Angels walks a fine line at times between eloquent writing and purple prose; between an interesting story and forgetting to tell it.

One of the more interesting things about A Quiet Belief in Angels was the different styles that were brought together under one roof. Part coming of age, part writer memoir, part serial killer, part rural, part urban, part crime, part mystery.

As far as the story proper is concerned more astute readers will have a pretty good idea of how it will end and their guess will either be right or close. The bottom line is that this an interesting book and as my first exposure to Ellory I hope to try something else by him. I do feel comfortable enough recommending the book though one should consider waiting for the paperback.

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Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

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About Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

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