Re: RARA-AVIS: Anyone read this?

From: Jim Roberts (
Date: 21 Feb 2004

----- Original Message ----- From: "Brian Thornton" <> To: <> Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 12:46 AM Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Anyone read this?

> > From BOOK LUST (2003) by Nancy Pearl, one of those "best books" or "what
> > to read next if you liked ___" books:
> >
> > | I couldn't sleep for days after I read William Hjortsberg's FALLING
> > | ANGEL, which I'd been lured (by an unscrupulous friend) into thinking
> > | was a aymond Chandleresque private-eye novel. It isn't. It might
> > | share all the conventions of the hardboiled mystery genre, but the
> > | plot--the search for a missing singer in 1950s New York--is animated
> > | supernatural evil, and the denouement is stunning and disturbing.
> >
> > The title's been mentioned on the list, but never with a review. It
> > out in 1978, and was made into the movie ANGEL HEART (which I avoided)
> > the late eighties. Is it as good as Pearl says? I see that No Exit has
> > it in print.
> I saw the movie. It was ghastly bad. Mickey Roarke needed a shave and a
> BATH, Lisa Bonet was wooden, and DeNiro's screen time was severely
> I wouldn't read the book from what I saw of this movie.*shudder*
> Brian

I, too, read *Falling Angel*, but I read it when it first came it in the late 1970s. I was in my early 20s and a less demanding consumer of writers of the genre. Usually, I didn't stay up late reading but this one kept me absorbed through the then-considered "surprise" denouement. I thought it was a masterpiece.

(Of course, I also thought *Billy Jack* was the best movie ever produced. When I saw *Billy Jack* on the late show while in my 30s, I couldn't believe what a truly grand misfire it was.)

*Falling Angel* was nominated for a 1978 Edgar as best first novel, but bowed to *Killed in the Ratings* by William L. DeAndrea.

jim roberts

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