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R .J. Ellory is the author of nine previous novels including the bestselling A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS, which was a Richard & Judy Book Club selection and won the NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR CRIME FICTION PRIZE. Ellory's novels have been translated into 23 languages, and he has won the USA EXCELLENT AWARD FOR BEST MYSTERY, the STRAND MAGAZINE BEST THRILLER 2009, the THEAKSTONS OLD PECULIER CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR for A SIMPLE ACT OF VIOLENCE and the QUEBEC LAUREAT. He has been shortlisted for a further 13 awards including four Daggers from the UK Crime Writers' Association. Despite the American setting of his novels, Ellory is British and currently lives in England with his wife and son.
He has also written books under the name Roger Jon Ellory, which can be viewed by clicking here.
In 2011 R. J. Ellory was shortlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library, awarded to an author for a body of work.
Author photo © Adam Scourfield
Oh, this man is good, one of the best. Here, in 60's rural America, he has half-brothers taken hostage by an escaped convicted serial killer sentenced to death, so with nothing to lose. This is grim, dark stuff, disturbing and absolutely brilliant. Serial killer Earl Sheriden is an extraordinary character and his influence on the teenage boys is the core of this devastating tale. This is no ordinary crime novel to be read for the clever plot but a deep, thought-provoking story of good and evil, of choices and tragedy. Highly recommended.
One of our Great Reads you may have missed in 2011. A disturbing, double-edged story of a man fighting his own demons and those he is investigating, all tied round an increasing quantity of dead girls. It’s a gripping read, intense and powerful. I think the author is very special and seriously advise you to read as many of his books as you can, especially his first, Candlemoth.
This man is incapable of writing a mediocre book. All are, without doubt, first class. Here a serial killer in New York is copy-catting past killings. One man, a crime researcher for a newspaper, knows an awful lot about the crimes and the police enlist his help. This is one of Ellory’s fastest reads, a real page-turner, gruesome, at times chilling, building to an edge-of-the-seat climax. Awesome. Comparison: Michael Connelly, Mario Puzo, John Steinbeck.
Winner of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2010. April 2009 Book of the Month. R J Ellory was shortlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library 2009 - the prize awarded for an author's body of work. This one is big, 500 pages, but all go too fast. It is a police procedural one, the story of murdered women who appear not to exist. Taking place in Washington in the mid-term elections, it’s the last thing the police want but we get election politics mixed into a complicated investigation, which is fascinating. Moving, disturbing and thought-provoking, it grips from the start. Comparison: Dennis Lehane, Stieg Larsson, Tom Rob Smith.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 15 January 2009. This is a big book by an author with a big future. He is one of my favourites and has now become one of the nation’s favourites too since his A Quiet Belief in Angels was a Richard and Judy pick. This begins as a police procedural tale about a serial killer in Washington during the mid-term elections, but as with all of Ellory’s books it develops into something much more complicated as he explores corrupt America. A must read. Comparison: Dennis Lehane, Stieg Larsson, Tom Rob Smith.
Barry Forshaw on R. J. Ellory and Stanley Ellin... A Quiet Belief in Angels was the breakthrough book for British writer R.J. Ellory, and his particular skill lies in a sprawling, ambitious realisation of American locales – at times reminiscent of the great Stanley Ellin. And like the sardonic American author of The Speciality of the House, Ellory has a taste for the darker recesses of human psychology. January 2008 Book of the Month. Sarah Broadhust's view... Named the No.1 Mystery of the Year by The Strand Magazine.Now for something completely different – a small-town setting for a riveting tale, one that grows so that when the eventual horror comes, it fair hits you in the stomach. It involves the killing of young girls as World War I breaks out in Europe, a period of death and brutality that so affects a young boy that his teacher persuades him to write about his feelings. We get much depth and emotion which in a crime novel lifts it way above the genre. I particularly enjoyed this one.Reviewed on Richard & Judy on Wednesday 30 January 2008.Comparison: William Kowalski, John Irving, Edward Wright.
Book number four and I still can’t believe how good this author is. Don’t pigeon-hole this man a ‘crime author’, he is so much more than that. A phone call tells our protagonist, John, that the father he assumed dead in fact has been alive for the last thirty years. Naturally John does some serious digging and the criminal underworld he throws up gives him mixed answers. This is quality stuff.
Book number three and now we have real depth of character, a man who literally lives and breaths and jumps off the page. He is a Mafia hit-man and this is his story over four decades, again steeped in history, not just a book about the Mafia but one that outshines all others. You’ve got to read it.Similar this month: None but try Joan Brady.Comparison: George P Pelecanos, Lorenzo Carcaterra, Mario Puzo.
Book number two and a lot of history surrounds this compulsive tale, from Auschwitz to gangland America in the 50s and 60s but now our narrator is a woman, Annie, and my admiration for this author increases. We are treated to trauma, past and present, and lives that affect Annie deeply as the truth unfolds. It is breathtakingly good.
The first novel and as such my introduction to an author I assumed to be a middle-aged American. When I met the young Brummie hunk I was astounded for this is a tale of America’s prejudice in the 50s and 60s, of two boys, one black, one white, and their eventual flight from being drafted into a war neither could accept, Vietnam. It’s very political, very emotional and very good. It was this book that made me fall in love with the author and hungry for all subsequent work. It remains my favourite but it is not his best. It is slower to build than the others. In fact his latest, The Anniversary Man, is a real page-turner but I loved the style and history of this one. I would start with this and grow with him. Remember, all are seriously satisfying reads.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. New York in 1930 is a teeming abyss of crime and idealism at the outset of Roger Ellory's first novel in some time. Fleeing his home soil folllowing a momentous crime, Irish bareknuckle fighter Danny McCabe joins up with a couple of Corsican immigrants, brother and sister, of which Lucia has glittery dreams of a Hollywood career. They are soon on the run to Los Angeles where they encounter still more corruption and the ties that bind them are put to a stern test as they attempt to remain just a step ahead of the dark underworld, past and present, on their trail and the love between Danny and Lucia is a fragile buoy that hold them together. Ellory excels in resurrecting the America of a mythical Golden Age with colour and grit, with bit parts involving the likes of Raymond Chandler, William Faulkner, mafia kingpin Mickey Cohen and F. Scott Fitzgerald, to pepper pebbles of reality into his sprawling depiction. A burning heart saga that ranges from the 1930s to the 1960s, this is a major achievement. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
Danny McCabe is on the run. He committed a terrible crime. And he'd do it again. A promising boxer back in his native Ireland, he had to start over with a new life and a new home, halfway across the world in up-and-coming New York City. A chance encounter tangles his life up with fellow immigrants Nicky and Lucia Mariani. The siblings came to the land of opportunity with high hopes and little else. As Danny scrapes by, Lucia dreams of Hollywood stardom, while Nicky's reckless ambition measures success only in money and power. They are the only family Danny has. He would do anything for them. But every family has its secrets -- even from each other . . . This is a sweeping story set over three decades, from Europe to America, from the slums and tenements of New York to the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood Hills, from the dark heart of the American Dream to an impossible choice . . .
Prison changes a man. Sometimes in ways you can see. Usually in ways you can't. Henry Quinn only survived three years inside because of Evan Riggs, a one-time country singer, one-time killer, now serving a life sentence, no parole. On the day he gets out, Henry promises Evan he will find his daughter, the daughter he never met, and deliver a letter. A free man, Henry heads to the small Texan town where Evan grew up and where his brother Carson is Sheriff. There's no sign of the girl, and her uncle claims to know nothing of her whereabouts. But Henry isn't about to give up. Carson's behaviour towards him grows threatening, and Henry realises that there are dark secrets buried at the heart of this quiet town. What terrible thing drove the brothers apart, and what happened to Evan's daughter?
Kansas, 1959. When a travelling carnival appears overnight, the townsfolk of Seneca Falls are entranced. But the circus brings more than just magic and illusion to the small town: a dead man is discovered beneath the carousel. For FBI Special Agent Michael Travis, the world is clear cut. But there are a lot of grey areas in this case. The carnival folk are unwilling to answer a straight question and they begin to challenge Travis's once unshakeable faith in solid facts and hard evidence...As the investigation turns ever more disturbing, Travis is forced to question everything he believes in as a dark and horrifying conspiracy comes to light.
Kansas, 1959. A travelling carnival appears overnight in the small town of Seneca Falls, intriguing the townsfolk with acts of inexplicable magic and illusion. But when a man's body is discovered beneath the carousel, with no clue as to his identity, FBI Special Agent Michal Travis is sent to investigate. Led by the elusive Edgar Doyle, the carnival folk range from the enigmatic to the bizarre, but none of them will give Travis a straight answer to his questions. With each new turn of the investigation, Doyle and his companions challenge Travis's once unshakeable faith in solid facts and hard evidence. As the consequences of what has happened become ever more disturbing, Travis struggles to open his mind to a truth that defies comprehension. Will he be able to convince himself that things are not what they seem? Or will he finally reconcile himself to a new reality - one that threatens to undermine everything in which he has ever placed his trust? In this powerful, atmospheric thriller, bestselling author R.J. Ellory introduces the weird and wonderful world of the Carnival Diablo and reveals the dark secrets that lurk at its heart.
On a summer evening in 1954, 16-year-old Nancy Denton walked into the woods of her hometown of Whytesburg, Mississippi. She was never seen again. Two decades on, Sheriff John Gaines witnesses a harrowing discovery. A body has been unearthed from the riverbank, perfectly preserved, yet bearing evidence of a brutal ritualistic killing. Nancy has come home at last. Already haunted by his experiences in Vietnam, Gaines must now find out what really happened to the beautiful and vivacious Nancy. As he closes in on the truth, Gaines is forced to not only confront his own demons, but to unearth secrets that have long remained hidden. And that truth, so much darker than he could ever have imagined, may be the one thing that finally destroys him.
A dark and atmospheric noir thriller from the award-winning author of A Quiet Belief in Angels. A thief steals from other thieves, hoping for the perfect crime as they aren't likely to go to the police. But the robbery goes disastrously wrong and a young girl is murdered. Now everyone is trying to hunt him down. This skillfully crafted thriller further builds on Ellory's excellent canon of work.
Written by award-winning thriller heavyweight R. J. Ellory, this ambitious crime novel takes the author's skill for suspense to a spellbinding level. When Catherine Ducane disappears in the heart of New Orleans, the cops react fast-after all, she is the governor's daughter. But the case gets very strange, very quickly. Her bodyguard turns up horribly mutilated in the trunk of a beautiful vintage car, and when the kidnapper calls, he doesn't want money; he wants time alone with a certain government functionary. Dragged down to the deep South from the New York district attorney's office, Ray Hartmann puzzles over why he has been summoned and why the mysterious kidnapper, an elderly Cuban named Ernesto Perez, wants to tell him his life story. But by the time the pieces fall into place, it's already too late. A Quiet Vendetta is both the epic story of one man's life in the Italian Mafia-a story ranging from Cuba to Chicago-and a thrilling tale of rage, love, and loss. With tension to match the best of Cussler, Patterson, and his own bestselling work, A Quiet Vendetta confirms R. J. Ellory's place at the forefront of the genre.
How long can a man escape judgement? A dark and atmospheric thriller from the award-winning author of A Simple Act of Violence Vincent Madigan is charming, resourceful, and knows how to look after himself. The only problem is that he's up to his neck in debt to Sandia - the drug king of East Harlem. One heist will free Madigan from Sandia's control and give him the chance he needs to get his life back on track. But can he evade justice for his crimes, or will his own conscience be his final undoing? This recording is unabridged. Typically abridged audiobooks are not more than 60% of the author's work and as low as 30% with characters and plotlines removed.
Washington, embroiled in midterm elections, did not want to hear the truth about an unsettling series of murders. But when the newspapers reported a fourth killing, when they gave the killer a name and details of his horrendous crimes, few people could ignore it. Detective Robert Miller is assigned to the case and rapidly uncovers a complication: the victims do not officially exist. Their personal details do not register on any known systems, and as Miller unearths ever more disturbing facts, he starts to face truths about the corrupt world he lives in-truths so far removed from his own reality that he begins to fear for his life. In the tradition of the masters of suspense, R. J. Ellory has written a shocking and tense narrative of politics and violence in the nerve center of America. As Detective Miller becomes more and more embroiled in the shifting realities of the case, the reader is irresistibly propelled through the intrigues and betrayals of Washington's elite. This controversial and timely novel explores the notions of identity and hidden government dealings, and it is sure to stay with the reader long after the final page.
Twenty years ago, John Costello's life as he knew it ended. He and his beautiful girlfriend, Nadia, became victims of the deranged "e;Hammer of God"e;, a serial killer in Jersey City who went after young courting couples in an attempt to "e;save their souls"e;. Nadia was killed by the first blow of the hammer. John survived, but was physically and psychologically scarred to an extent that few people could comprehend. He withdrew from society, hid in his apartment, and now only emerges to work as a crime researcher for a major newspaper. Damaged he may be, but no one in New Jersey knows more about serial killers than John Costello. So when a new spate of murders starts, all seemingly random and unrelated, John is the only one who can discern the complex pattern that lies behind them. But could this dark knowledge threaten his own life?
In 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. It is the first in a series of killings that will plague the community over the next decade. Determined to protect the town from the evil in their midst, Joseph and his friends form "e;the Guardians"e; to watch over the community. But the murderer evades them, and they watch helplessly as one child after another is taken. Ten years after the first killing, one of Joseph's neighbors is found hanging from a rope, surrounded by belongings of the dead girls; the killings cease, and the nightmare appears to be over. Nevertheless, a shadow of fear follows Joseph for the rest of his life. He sets out to start a new life in New York, but the past won't stay buried, and, fifty years later, Joseph must confront the nightmare that has overshadowed his entire life.