Simple Act of Murder: November 22, 1963


On November 22, 1963, a murder was committed in Dallas, Texas. Nearly 80 percent of the American people don't believe the victim was killed by a lone gunman. The House Assassinations Committee determined it was the work of "a conspiracy," yet no conspirators were ever identified or brought to justice. For more than forty years the case has remained unsloved-until now.

Mark Fuhrman has cracked some of the best-known, most puzzling crimes in American history. In A Simple Act of ...

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On November 22, 1963, a murder was committed in Dallas, Texas. Nearly 80 percent of the American people don't believe the victim was killed by a lone gunman. The House Assassinations Committee determined it was the work of "a conspiracy," yet no conspirators were ever identified or brought to justice. For more than forty years the case has remained unsloved-until now.

Mark Fuhrman has cracked some of the best-known, most puzzling crimes in American history. In A Simple Act of Murder, he investigates the tragedy that rocked a nation: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Cutting through the myths and misinformation, Fuhrman focuses on the hard evidence, unveiling a major clue that was ignored for more than four decades-a breakthrough that will change the ongoing debate forever. Once you read this book, you'll know definitively who killed JFK.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Neither Warren Commission supporters nor conspiracy theorists are likely to be satisfied by this latest true crime effort by notorious ex-LAPD detective Fuhrman, who joins a long list of authors attempting to settle the controversies surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy once and for all. Despite Furhman's long-held belief that the president was the victim of a plot, his examination of the forensic evidence-the recovered bullet fragments, the autopsy reports and the legendary Zapruder film-leads him to adopt the lone gunman theory (although he thinks that previous proponents of that position erred in believing one of Lee Harvey Oswald's shots missed its mark). This clunky, lightweight effort is unlikely to change many minds and does not begin to approach the careful, reasoned analysis of Gerald Posner's Case Closed, which also defended the first official inquiry's lone gunman theory of the murder. Nor does Fuhrman fully address the many questions raised by serious conspiracy scholars such as Anthony Summers or Robert Blakey; for example, he completely ignores arguments that Jack Ruby's connections with organized crime bear further study. Whatever the truth of the matter, readers will not be convinced by his case for the thesis that this was a "simple murder." Photos and illus. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The retired LAPD cop who has reported on high-profile cases in Murder in Brentwood, Murder in Greenwich, and more here takes on one of the biggest murders of all. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
If only Dealey Plaza could talk: a fresh, counterintuitive take on the JFK assassination. "There are some mysteries in life that can never be solved. But murder is simple. Even this one." Better known for his role in another inquest, onetime LAPD detective turned true-crime retailer Fuhrman (Death and Justice, 2003) delivers a report on the killing of John F. Kennedy in Dallas 43 years ago. There is some newsworthiness in Fuhrman's take on the theories surrounding the assassination-and in his perhaps surprising verdict. Fuhrman considers the possibility of a shooter in addition to Lee Harvey Oswald, supposedly placed on the "grassy knoll" alongside the presidential parade route; the forensics, he asserts, do not easily admit the prospect, because the knoll "is a terrible position for a sniper," and if there were a shooter there, he missed everyone in the line of sight. Fuhrman also examines the career of Oswald, noting that KGB files indicate that no one in Soviet intelligence ever tried to recruit him, but also that he did qualify as a Marine sharpshooter and-very interestingly-admitted to attempting to kill another political figure just before Nov. 22. Fuhrman looks, too, at the "Magic Bullet" theory championed, notably, by Warren Commission investigator Arlen Specter, a theory that involves a maze of improbabilities and much suspension of disbelief and logic. There were indeed conspiracies surrounding the death of the president, promoted, the author says, by Robert Kennedy, J. Edgar Hoover and even the widowed First Lady. So Oswald did it alone after all. Hmmm. Watch for talk-show debates over this one-maybe involving Oliver Stone, whose 1991 film JFK provides the antithesis ofFuhrman's book.
Philadelphia Inquirer
“[W]ell worth reading for its clarity and single-mindedness ...a brisk read for armchair investigators.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060721541
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/2/2006
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Retired LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman is the New York Times bestselling author of Murder in Brentwood, Murder in Greenwich, Murder in Spokane, and Death and Justice. He lives in Idaho.

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Read an Excerpt

A Simple Act of Murder

November 22, 1963
By Mark Fuhrman

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Mark Fuhrman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060721545

Chapter One

Everyone who is old enough remembers exactly where they were when they learned President Kennedy had been killed.

I was in Los Angeles, visiting Olvera Street on a field trip with my sixth-grade class. We lived in Los Angeles for a brief time. My mother was working as a waitress, but she managed to send me and my brother to military school for a year.

The streets were festive, with bright colors. Small shops selling candles and blankets and trinkets. It seems so fresh now, in my memory. I was standing next to a post from which were hanging brightly painted gourds. My friends crowded next to me; we were all laughing and horseplaying, trying to evade our teacher's watchful eye. We were eleven years old, and the world seemed like this shop, brightly colored and full of adventure.

Then our teacher waved her hand and told us to be quiet. The radio that had been playing music now announced that our president, John F. Kennedy, was dead. A silence came down among us. I felt heavy and sick, angry and confused. The silence was broken by one of my classmates saying: "Good. My dad didn't like him anyway."

The teacher slapped him with the back of her hand. No hesitation, no warning.

"Don'tyou ever say that!" she yelled at the boy. The teacher never apologized for hitting him, and no one felt an apology was needed.

For the next few days, the afternoons I usually spent playing basketball or army were spent sitting on the floor in front of a black-and-white Zenith television. I had no understanding of politics. I had never read PT-109 or Profiles in Courage. I didn't know anything about the Kennedy family and didn't even understand what they meant when they called him "rich." I thought everybody lived pretty much like we did. Even if I didn't know or understand anything about the man, he was my president, and I was pulled into the drama of his violent death.

One afternoon, sitting just a couple of feet from our television, I watched carefully as the assassin walked in front of the cameras. Looking back over my shoulder, I saw my mom ironing our uniforms for school the next day. Turning back toward the television, I saw Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed by Jack Ruby.

I turned back toward my mom.

"We killed him," I said.

I had forgotten I said that, but talking with my mom just a couple years ago about the JFK assassination, she asked me if I remembered what I said when Ruby shot Oswald. I didn't remember, but when she described the moment in detail, so many memories and emotions came rushing back.

What exactly did I mean when I said, "We killed him"? Was I voicing suspicions that the government had murdered Oswald to shut him up? Did I think there was a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy? Maybe the seed of doubt was planted those first few days and grew in my mind somewhere.

Now that Oswald was dead, there would be no trial. The FBI was preparing a report on its massive investigation, and the Texas Attorney General's Office planned its own inquiry. Two separate congressional committees were being formed to look into the assassination. Just after Oswald's murder, some were already talking about a possible conspiracy. To quiet these suspicions and keep the separate inquiries from turning into a political nightmare, President Lyndon Baines Johnson appointed a seven-man panel to investigate the assassination, presided over by Chief Justice Earl Warren and including senators Richard Russell and John Sherman Cooper, representatives Gerald Ford and Hale Boggs, former CIA director Allen Dulles, and John McCloy, former head of the World Bank.

Within days of its investiture, the Warren Commission was being urged by Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach to issue a statement that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin. While they refused to make any public statement about the guilt or innocence of the only suspect, the commissioners apparently saw their task as presenting the evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald killed the President and dispelling rumors that Oswald might have been part of a larger conspiracy. Relying first on the investigative reports of the FBI, the Secret Service, and Texas law enforcement, the Warren Commission went on to conduct its own investigation. The Commissioners analyzed the information gathered by other agencies, called witnesses for hearings and depositions, and performed tests and reenactments to fill what they saw as holes in the evidentiary fabric.

The Warren Commission was a political body, created by politicians, made up of politicians, with the responsibility, in the view of its members, of resolving a political problem: fears that the President of the United States might have been assassinated through some conspiracy or even as part of a coup d'etat.

But the commissioners were all busy men. Most of them attended only a small fraction of the hearings, and their participation in those hearings was minimal. Supporting the commissioners was a staff of fifteen lawyers, led by J. Lee Rankin, the former solicitor general. The legal staff was divided into two groups, senior counsel and assistant counsel. Since the senior lawyers were busy with their own private law practices, almost all of the work was done by the seven assistants, bright young lawyers who had graduated at the tops of their classes at prestigious law schools but had little or no experience in criminal investigations. They worked under intense pressure to gather all the necessary information and write it up into a publishable report before the presidential elections.

On September 24, 1964, the Commissioners presented Lyndon Johnson with the "Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy," or the Warren Report. The first thing the President said was, "It's heavy." Then he gave it to one of his aides to read.


Excerpted from A Simple Act of Murder by Mark Fuhrman Copyright © 2006 by Mark Fuhrman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2006

    Furman Book a Re-Do of 'Case Closed'

    This book is really just a showy rehash of Gerald Posner's far more scholarly and thorough 1993 book on the Kennedy assassination titled 'Case Closed'. Except for a detective's point of view, very little is new here. Posner proved that you don't need to be a police detective to investigate and understand a crime story. Time is better spent reading Posner. Furman is just Posner Lite. Both books nicely address the principles of conspiracy theory.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2006

    A clear-headed look

    Whatever you think about Mark Fuhrman, try to forget about that and enjoy this detailed but clear-headed, straightforward look at the assassination. Cuts through a lot of the nonsense, and reveals deep flaws in the 'single bullet' theory. You get a very good overview of the whole event, and its dissection as a crime like any other. It corrected several misconceptions I had. It also described the central role Sen. Arlen Specter played in the Warren Commission investigation. Be forewarned: Some gruesome photos inside.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2006

    A Realistic Look at the Kennedy Killing

    Reading this book you can see both brilliance and shortcoming in Fuhrman as a detective. He is dead on right in looking at the JFK killing not on the basis of what others have written or theorized or want to believe but rather on the actual evidence, and puts emphasis on 3 areas I have not seen much on before: The damage and bloodsplatter on the presidential limousine's interior windshield and corresponding bullet pieces found in the car's front seat area that clearly show the head shot came from behind. The fact that Kennedy's head was laying on his wife's shoulder and she was holding him up when he was shot the second time, and his backward motion was almost surely caused not by a head shot from in front but her instinctive jerking to his head exploding inches from her face. Finally, that the bullet trajectory and shot timing show the complete implausibility of the 'magic bullet' one shot-- through both Kennedy and the Texas Governor John Connolly --the ill fated Warren Commission promulgated, while showing his conclusion of separate shots hitting them does not necessaarily refute Oswald as the single assassin from behind. But at the same time Fuhrman clearly suffers from 'liking' his suspect--Oswald-- too much and devotes then almost all of his time to only considering Oswald and not really explaining some of the basic problems that have caused people to question the real events of the JFK killing. For example, how Oswald could move so quickly from the snipers nest to a lower floor, soda in hand, only 90 seconds after the shooting why so many witnesses thought there was a shooter from the front too why the film of Beverly Oliver who was filming the motorcade was taken by persons unknown and has never been found...why the Secret Service agents insisted on removing JFK's body from Dallas before the local professional medical examiner could autopsy it... While it is very likley that Oswald was the shooter, Furman's single mindedness in pursing that conclusion at the end of the book while not solving these other concerns is a shortcoming here... all in all though this book is a fresh, more evidence based look at this case by a trained professional police officer. Unlike most books on the JFK case this one is worth a read and consideration.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2006

    Fuhrman is Brilliant as usual

    What really peaked my interest was that President Kennedy's death was never investigated by a Police Detective of any sort. Knowing what a brilliant Detective Mark Fuhrman was, I knew this had to be a great read. The way he explains the bullet theories very clearly and his professional opinion on the majic bullet is very easily explained too. He really communicates with the average person and it reads like he is talking to you himself, a rare gift for an author. I think most people want to believe that Oswald was as evil a person as President Kennedy was good and the polar opposite of the bad vs. good is what keeps the mystery alive but in fact Oswald was just a mixed up guy, looking for a big score and found it. I also enjoyed the personal thoughts that Mark had about the assassination back when it happened and his thoughts on it now. I just think that Mark Fuhrman is one of the most brilliant detectives of this century. His assessment that Oswald was the lone gunman made perfect sense to me. Another fantastic book written by the former LAPD Police Detective that is logical and easy to understand. Looking forward to Mark Fuhrman's next write. We love you...keep em coming.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent review of the JFK assassination

    This book was very interesting and detailed. I learned things I didn't know about the assassination. Granted I have never read any other book about this subject but I feel this one is very informative especially with providing pictures, graphs, sketches of the different possibilities etc. The language in which Mark Fuhrman writes is very easy to understand, even with the medical detail he provides. I have read a book of Mark Fuhrman's on Terry Schiavo as well, which was also very easy to understand for the average person.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2009

    A well documented, straight forward review of the evidence

    Fuhrman has written a well thought out investigators take on the John F. Kennedy assassination. He methodically reviews the evidence as a trained homicide investigator, which, of course, he is. The subject is not enjoyable, but the effort he puts forth makes an ugly event make as much sense as I've seen on the subject.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

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