R.J. Ellory

A Simple Act of Violence

"... this stunning book proves that he is definitely here to stay."


It's modern day Washington, murder capital of the USA, and serial killers are passé. However, when the Ribbon Killer slays a fourth woman and his actions are detailed in the media, it is decided that he can no longer be ignored, particularly given that in this city of politicians, the mid-term elections are looming.

Detective Robert Miller is tasked with finding the killer before more women are murdered. Experienced as he is, he had never come across a case quite like this. He can find no trace of the most recent victim in the system. Then they find her social security number, but it is linked with a different name - the name of a mountain range in Nicaragua. Miller tracks down the earlier victims and finds out that none of them officially exist either. Clues appear and Miller can't help but feel that he is being led by the nose. He also can't help but feel he is being watched every step of the way. What is the significance of Nicaragua? Who is watching and just who is setting up the trail of clues? The more Miller uncovers the more complicated and unsolvable the case of the Ribbon Killer appears...

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This is a book with everything that a fan of modern mystery fiction could hope for; a labyrinthine plot, unbearable tension, controversy and a social conscience. R J Ellory has come up with a meaty book where he takes a serial killer novel and shapes it into a barbed comment on American foreign policy and a criticism of the God complex of the CIA. That he does this while never dipping on the entertainment value is a compliment to this writer's consummate skill. Talking of skill, Ellory's is never more evident than when he is turning the spotlight of his charged and hugely effective prose onto his bad guys - in this case his sacred monster, Jon Robey. There is one scene where Ellory is writing from Robey's perspective that almost had me in tears. I'm saying nothing more, but you need to read the book. For many readers R J Ellory might have just arrived on the scene with the success of A Quiet Belief in Angels, but this stunning book proves that he is definitely here to stay.

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