A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS - R J Ellory
Don't let the synopsis mislead you - this is not really a book about a group of children, nor is it necessarily a book about a murder investigation. This is a book about Joseph Calvin Vaughan and how events shape him. From the death of his father when Joseph is only 11; through the beginning of the unknown killers vicious killing spree; the long-term hospitalisation / sanctioning of his mother; his love life; his loss - the reader travels with Joseph as he attempt to make sense of the world around him.
It seems to move incredibly slowly as Joseph's life ebbs and flows - well mostly ebbs really. The brutal killings of young girls continue slowly, paced out over years as Joseph's own life peaks and then hits major low points. And all the way through his life, there is an ongoing doubt - even that he has - about who is the killer of young girls. There are other bit characters in A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS - Joseph's mother; friends from the small town; lovers; the local sheriff, but the focus of the story; the narrator of events is Joseph.
You'll need to slow down to read A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS. You'll need to connect with Joseph. You'll need to be content to take a journey through many years with a boy, who grows to a young man, experiences a hard and painful life, and in the end, finds out the truth - but you have to wonder if it's just a little too late. It's a very moving book, involving despite the slowness of events, despite the almost back seat that the murders take. At the end of it all, you have to wonder if an author could put his central character through any more and bring him out at the other end alive.
Two men face one another in a darkened room, the culmination of a journey that has encompassed not only their own lives, but the lives of countless innocent victims.
Back in Georgia in 1939, twelve-year-old Joseph Vaughan hears of the brutal assault and murder of a young girl, the first of a series of killings that will take ten lives in the subsequent decade. Compelled by fear and duty, Joseph and his friends establish The Guardians, a group of children determined to protect the people of Augusta Falls against the evil in their midst. But evil evades them, and they watch helplessly as one child after another is taken from their ranks.