Falling Angel Mass Market Paperback – Jul 15 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Originally published in 1978, Hjortsberg's debut mystery was the basis for the film Angel Heart.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Fact is you probably do know of it, or have at least heard of it. In 1987, Falling Angel was adapted to the big screen as Angel Heart. The film was directed by Alan Parker, starred Mickey Rourke, Robert DeNiro, and Lisa Bonet, and, like the book, was about a private detective named Harry Angel (Rourke) hired the mysterious Louis Cyphre (DeNiro) to find a man who may have been involved in voodoo and the Occult. As it is with too many great novels, more people have probably seen the movie than have read the book.
So what if you have seen Angel Heart (and if you haven't--what are you waiting for)? After all, in addition to being beautifully shot and often disturbing (it is proof that not all horror films of the eighties were without artistic merit), Angel Heart is known for its shocking twists. If you know how the movie ends, is it still worth seeking out and reading the novel?
In a word: absolutely. The movie follows the novel's first third almost scene for scene but, past that, the book and novel are quite different. The surprises are the same, but Hjortsberg's tight prose and complex plotting go beyond a few twists and a shock ending. The book is worth reading because it is an excellent piece of horror lit. It ranks up there with Levine's Rosemary's Baby and Blatty's Exorcist.Read more ›
If it were not for its macabre and graphic content this book might make excellent classroom reading for high school students, as it makes use of many bread-and-butter literary elements such as foreshadowing and dramatic irony, and it has some echoes of Greek tragedy and certain Elizabethan plays. At the same time it is a fast, easy read. The chapters are short, and each one advances the plot or our understanding of the characters with an efficiency that would make any creative writing teacher proud. Whether you call it horror, detective fiction, or a psychological thriller, this is a great read.
Hjortsberg nails the cynical prose-poetry of the classic hard-boiled detective novel, with P.I. Harry Angel handling the world-weary, occasionally cruel but mostly well-meaning first-person narration. Angel comes across as the world's oddest New York City tour guide as we move in and around the New York of the late 1950's.
A mysterious client hires Angel to track down a popular singer in the Frank Sinatra mode who was supposed to be in an upstate mental asylum after injuries sustained during World War Two left him mentally and physically disabled. The only problem is, the singer -- stage name Johnny Favorite -- isn't at the asylum, and hasn't been for years. And the trail is cold. But as Angel pursues Favorite, everything starts to heat up, and people start dying in increasingly horrible ways.
Variations are worked on the usual suspects and usual characters of hardboiled detective fiction and film, from shadowy businessmen through shady lawyers to jilted heiresses. As Angel's case proceeds, odder characters arise, and previously introduced characters get odder. There will be voodoo. There will be Satanism.Read more ›
Harry Angel is a private detective in the New York in the end of the fifties, hired by a misterious character to find a very famous crooner who disppeared in the middle of the WW2. During his investigation, he discovers some terrifying truths, envolving voodoo worship, satanism, black massess, and yet Johnny Favorite, the crooner, is nowhere to be found. In the end, the truth is really amazing, and Harry could never escape it.
For those who saw "Angel heart" before reading this book, I must say the surprise was completely lost. However, Hjortsberg is a fine and talented writer, the book is told in the fast-paced rhythm of New York, and the sucession of scenes is very well programed and easy to follow, and fast to read as well. This is a classic detective story, with lots of sarcasm, murders, twists, and something that you don't find in every down-to-earth detective book: supernatural elements. As strange as it seems, it doesn't spoil the story, in fact these supernaturals combine to enhance the thrilling of the plot. The final two or three chapters are amazing, and the ending is surprising and powerful.
Most recent customer reviews
Please please remove Jack Felson's review of Falling Angel from your site. It gives away the ending! (And it has no merit as a review.)Published on Jan. 29 2004
After some short science-fiction texts (like "Gray Matters"), William Hjortsberg kept some after effects from them because he put some elements in his first detective attempt. Read morePublished on Oct. 15 2003 by Jack Felson
While you read this, take what you know about the late fifties in New York City, and compare it here. This story immerses the reader superbly into the atmosphere of the setting. Read morePublished on Feb. 16 2003 by R. E. Mattey
At one point in William Hjortsberg's masterful horror novel, Epiphany Proudfoot, 17-year-old voodoo priestess, tells our detective hero Harry Angel "you sure know a lot about... Read morePublished on Nov. 11 2002 by s.ferber
This novel is always found in the Horror section but it is really a private eye mystery. It's as good a PI novel as I have ever read and I highly recomend it. Read morePublished on Oct. 10 2002 by Marc Clapp
After watching the movie _Angel Heart_ a couple of times, I thought reading the book it was based on would be enjoyable. For the most part, it was. Read morePublished on Dec 4 2001 by Sara
Set in late 1950's New York City, FALLING ANGEL is the story about a private detective named Harry Angel who is recruited by mysterious client Louis Cyphre to find a long lost... Read morePublished on Aug. 31 2001 by Church of The Flaming Sword