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William Hjortsberg

William Hjortsberg(1941- )
William Hjortsberg is a novelist and screenwriter best known for writing the screenplays of the movies Legend and Angel Heart. His novel Falling Angel was the basis for the film Angel Heart (1987) (released in French-speaking Canada under the title Aux portes de l’enfer).


Falling Angel: A masterful horror novel

Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg

At one point in William Hjortsberg's masterful horror novel, Falling Angel, Epiphany Proudfoot, a 17-year-old voodoo priestess, tells the detective hero Harry Angel, "you sure know a lot about the city." The city in question is the New York of 1959, and if Angel knows a lot about this crazy burg, then Hjortsberg, in the course of this tale, demonstrates that he knows even more.

While much has been said of this book's scary elements — its voodoo ceremonies and Black Mass meeting and horrible murders — what impressed me most about this tale is the incredible attention to realistic detail that the author invests it with. I don't know if the author grew up in this town in the '50s or just did a remarkable research job, but the reader really does get the impression that this book (which came out in 1978) was written a few decades earlier. Roosevelt Island is called Welfare Island, quite ... Read More