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3rd September
written by Steph
My September selection for BookPage

My September selection for BookPage

My third review for BookPage can now be read online (at this page, to be precise)!  For September, I reviewed R.J. Ellory's A Quiet Belief in Angels.  Ellory is a Brit by birth, though he has a penchant for setting his books in the good old U.S. of A.  He's a well established crime thriller powerhouse overseas, but this marks his American publishing debut.  Y'all know I love a good mystery, but A Quiet Belief in Angels was an unexpected delight as it really strove to surpass the traditional conventions and boundaries of its dreaded "genre" fiction label.  The writing was pretty magnificent, doubly so because you keep remembering the pitch-perfect dialogue is written by someone who didn't grow up in the South.  I found this novel to be more a piece of literature than I did a mystery, and I enjoyed it very much indeed.  I ripped through it in about 3 days, my heart breaking nearly continuously the entire time... but I couldn't help but keep flipping those pages to let Ellory expertly crush my heart a little more.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes mysteries but LOVES literature.  I'll be sure to check out more stuff by Ellory in the future (even if I have to plan a trip back to Canada to do so!).  Please check out my review and let me know what you think! Rating: 4 out of 5 P.S.  Ellory's personal story is almost as interesting as the one in the novel itself: he was orphaned at a young age and then was arrested and convicted for poaching at the age of 17 and sentenced to a few years in prison.  While in jail, he began reading and writing obsessively, which is how his writing career was born.  With a story like that, how can he not write amazing novels?  Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction!


  1. 09/03/2009

    Your reviews hit the mark wonderfully and this is no exception. Thanks for the great review!

  2. 09/03/2009

    I really liked your article, it was extremely persuasive, and has made me want to grab a copy of the book. I really liked that it defied your expectations, and your mention that it was more a literary read than a thriller seals the deal for me. I am glad you liked it and are finding that your new assignment is letting you in on some great reads.

  3. 09/03/2009

    The book has got mystery written all over its cover. But your stellar review has convinced me that this is a piece of literature that is worthy of my time. I would be interested in his works. 🙂

  4. 09/03/2009

    @ rhapsody: Thanks for the compliment and for commenting! I’m glad you found the review helpful!
    @ zibilee: I’m glad you found the review persuasive, because I really think this would be an easy book to cast aside as run-of-the-mill, and that would be a real shame. In the end, I think if you were reading only for the mystery, you’d be pretty disappointed, as it’s a bit flimsy and VERY slow moving. But the writing! It was so beautiful, even with all that serial killing! I do think this is a book you would enjoy.
    @ Matt: If I were writing the review for my blog, I definitely would have gone on longer about how the cover just DOES NOT do this book justice. I think it was a really bad choice and will unfortunately turn a lot of people off. I guess the upside is that those who do overlook the cover and give the book a shot are likely to find they get far more than they expected. It was really a wonderful read.

  5. I enjoyed reading this book too, but agree that it should be treated as literature rather than mystery. I actually got a bit frustrated with the mystery. The author made the killer seem so obvious throughout. I don’t want to put any spoilers here, but I read it wishing there were more twists, when I should have forgotten about the murder and just enjoyed the writing.

  6. 09/04/2009

    @ Jackie: Yes, as I’ve said before, I’m not really a reader who’s good at guessing twists and outcomes, but I did feel the mystery was rather obvious here, so that is what caused me to give the book a 4 out of 5 rather than something higher. I wonder if Ellory’s later novels have more inspired mysteries? Either way, I was able to enjoy the book just for the writing and the non-mystery elements, so I would be happy to read more from him in the future!

  7. 09/06/2009

    I like that you included a fact about the author. I like learning about authors, too, although Yukio Mishima was a bit of a shock.

  8. 09/06/2009

    @ Charley: I don’t always go out of my way to learn about authors (so long as they can write a good story, that’s what I really care about), but I reviewed this for work, and the cover letter that came from the publisher included all this background info, and I found it so crazy I kind of felt everyone needed to know about it!

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