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Falling Angel ()

Harry Angel, a 1950s New York City gumshoe, is hired by a mysterious wealthy client, Louis Cyphre, to track down a lost singer, Johnny Favorite. The crooner had reportedly lost his memory during battle in WWII and been committed to a hospital upstate, but Angel's investigation quickly leads him into black magic backways and voodoo cults. Bodies start dropping left and right with clues pointing straight at Angel and he finds himself trapped between the police and Satanists as the case leads him deep into his own heart of darkness.

William Hjortsberg displays an expert hand with the private eye genre but then blends in elements of horror to create a truly original mystery novel. It was later turned into a film, Angel Heart, which was most notable for scenes with young Cosby star, Lisa Bonet, in the altogether, "earning" the movie an initial X rating, and the great Robert DiNiro portraying Cyphre. But the book is infinitely better and well worth your time and effort to track down.


Grade: (A)


See also:

Private Eyes
William Hjortsberg Links:

    -AUTHOR SITE: Official William Hjortsberg Homepage
    -William Hjortsberg (Wikipedia)
    -FILMOGRAPHY: William Hjortsberg (
    -FILMOGRAPHY: William Hjortsberg (NY Times)
    -GOOGLE BOOKS:Odd Corners: The Slipstream world of William Hjortsberg by William Hjortsberg
    -PROFILE: The Legend of William Hjortsberg (Michael Dare )
    -INTERVIEW: What did script writer William Hjortsberg have to say about LEGEND? (Figment Fly, 1/01/05)
    -REVIEW: of COLLECTED FICTIONS By Jorge Luis Borges Translated by Andrew Hurley (William Hjortsberg, SF Chronicle)
    -REVIEW: of THE WAR OF DREAMS By Angela Carter (William Hjortsberg, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Edna Webster Collection by Richard Brautigan (William Hjortsberg)
    - REVIEW: of SILVER LIGHT By David Thomson (William Hjortsberg, NY Times Book Review)
    -Harry Angel Created by William Hjortsberg (Thrilling Detectives)
    -ARCHIVES: "william hjortsberg" (Find Articles)
    -REVIEW: of Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg (Otto Penzler, NY Sun)
    -REVIEW: of Falling Angel (JP< Mystery Guide)
    -REVIEW: of Falling Angel (Jon Mitchell, Richmond Review)
    -REVIEW: of Falling Angel (J.C. Macek)
    -REVIEW: of Falling Angel (Robert Weinberg,
    -REVIEW: of Falling Angel (Agony Column)
    -REVIEW: of Falling Angel (William F. Nolan)
    -ESSAY: Split Identities and World(s) Under Erasure in Memento and Falling Angel: Playing on the Detective Figure in Postmodern Crime Fiction (DANIEL JONES, Lancaster University)
    -REVIEW: of Nevermore by William Hjortsberg (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of Nevermore (Rick Kleffel)
    -REVIEW: of Nevermore (FS, Mystery Guide)
    -REVIEW: of Nevermore (Peter Mann, Crime Time)

Book-related and General Links: