Monday, September 28, 2009

A Quiet Belief in Angels by RJ Ellory + Contest!

Published September 8th, 2009.

1939. In the small, rural community of Augusta Falls, Georgia, twelve-year-old Joseph Vaughan learns of the brutal assault and murder of a young girl, the first in a series of killings that will plague the community over the next decade. Joseph and his friends are determined to protect the town from the evil in their midst and form "The Guardians." But the murderer evades them and they watch helplessly as one child after another is taken.

Even when the killings cease, a shadow of fear follows Joseph for the rest of his life. The past won't stay buried and, fifty years later, Joseph must confront the nightmare that has overshadowed his entire life . . .
(book blurb)

I don't read out and out mysteries very often and this book was a random grab at BEA. I just went, "free book!" *yoink* Thankfully it sounded interesting enough and it's set during a time period I normally like so what the hell, right?

It took a little bit to get into and the voice is a retroactive one - the grown up Joseph Vaughan telling the story as he grew up so it's a little strange to read a kid having such high end thoughts. But you get used to it. The only thing I found really annoying was how the MC kept dropping all of his I's. The sentences would often start with the next word in the sentence. I think the author was trying to go for a particular kind of voice but I couldn't help but think, all the way through, that it was just a means to have a first person story not be littered with I's. Kind of weak but there you go.

Joseph is actually an amazingly fleshed out character. Him and his mother. You can't help but not connect with both of them, especially since, for most of the story, Joseph's still pretty young (24 before the shit really hits the fan). You can't help but feel so bad for him, and for everyone in the town, for the murders that keep happening. And when Joseph discovers one of the bodies when he was 11 or 12, it'll take your breath away.

I ended up steam-rolling right through this book because it was basically one tragedy right after the next and I'm sick and interested like that. This kid, let me tell you, had a shitty hand dealt to him over and over and over again and it makes for an immensely compelling story, as demented as that is. It's sad what happens to his mom but in the end you have to question whether it was justified or not. That kind of questioning is all over the story and it was one of the reasons why I liked it like I did.

While the murder mystery is working it's way out in real time, there's a shorter part scattered throughout the book with Joseph talking to a corpse and you can only assume it's the murderer. So when twists and herrings get thrown in, you know it's not the end, it's not it because that part that you keep reading, with the dead body, didn't happen yet. So while you read, and while pieces are thrown at you, you're trying to figure out who's the guilty party.

But the thing with mysteries is, the end is the be all end all of the book. If the ending sucks, it'll destroy the rest of it. Do you see where I'm going with this?

I don't want to give it away but I will say it felt like I was driving 70 miles an hour, slammed on the brakes and threw my car into reverse. I was in such a WTF? World when the murderer came out that I didn't know what to do with myself. It's not revealed until the very last page of the book who it is so I went from going, "Yay!" to "Huh?" in a matter of one sentence to another, it was so sudden.

And usually, with hindsight and the knowledge of who did it, you can do back through the book and pick out all the clues that would lead to that person. I couldn't do that with this one. To me those clues just weren't there and the murderer might as well been chosen out of a hat for all it was worth.

The ending totally destroyed the book for me because I felt the conclusion was so random and so out of whack with the rest of the story that I just couldn't get over it. Maybe I missed something. Something big. But even with my sieve of a memory, I would still be able to pick out instances that would give it all away. Not here. I'm telling you, totally random.

Maybe someone else, someone that's better at reading mysteries and subtleties than I am, would do better with it. It's a pretty damn good book. The end just FUBARed it for me, though, unfortunately.

Contest Time!

Want my ARC? It's all yours. Just leave a comment with your email to enter.

Contest ends October 19th at midnight, EST. US residents only, please. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

Great review! Sorry to hear that the book was a little disappointing.

Wrighty said...

You've made me so curious! Loved your review. Please include me and thanks for the giveaway!


Ashley said...

I love mysteries and this one sounds very interesting and up my alley. Although your review does leave me a little hesitant I'd still like to read it. So please enter me.


Riva said...

I'd love the chance to see what I think about the ending. Please enter me in your contest.


M.A.D. said...

Mary D
zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Now you've got my curiosity biting to read the ending and see what happens lol
I'd love to win, thanks for the chance :)

Kristi said...

I have been wanting to read this one for awhile! Please sign me up!

kherbrand at comcast dot net

Chelsea S said...

I would love to read this.


-- Chelsea

Lindsay Frost said...

I would LOVE to win this!!
Thankyou!! :D:D:D


Froggy said...

Please enter me, the book sounds great!

A Blog with Bite!

Unknown said...

Great review, I would love to read this one!

kalynnick said...

Love to win!

kalynnick AT yahoo DOT com

Debbie F said...

Count me in! Thanks
dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Paradox said...

Enter me please!

paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

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