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A Simple Act of Violence

A Simple Act of Violence

4.0 4
by R. J. Ellory

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The suspense-packed CIA thriller by "the master of the genre" (Clive Cussler)


The suspense-packed CIA thriller by "the master of the genre" (Clive Cussler)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the outset of this superb crime thriller from Ellory (The Anniversary Man), Det. Robert Miller, a veteran Washington, D.C., cop who doesn't have much of a life outside his job, arrives at the house of Catherine Sheridan, an attractive woman who's been badly beaten and strangled. Around her neck is a ribbon attached to a luggage tag, the hallmark of the Ribbon Killer, who's claimed three other female victims in the same upscale neighborhood over the past eight months. Bizarrely, Sheridan's murderer ordered pizza delivered, thus insuring that the corpse would be found right away. Meanwhile, in creepy first-person asides, someone using the alias John Robey reveals he knows a great deal about the crimes. As the case unfolds, the motive behind the murders gradually comes into focus, connecting with much larger political issues. Impressive prose and pacing, coupled with a grim, unflinching view of reality that James Ellroy would recognize, make this a must-read for noir fans. 5-city author tour. (June)
Wall Street Journal
“A police procedural thus shifts into a conspiracy thriller and historical exposé … Powerful scenes and vivid images.”
James Patterson
“A beautifully written novel that is also a great mystery.”
Clive Cussler
“The master of the genre.”
Kirkus Reviews

A serial killer plies his trade in the nation's capital.

Metro D.C. homicide detectives Miller and Roth are befuddled by the Ribbon Killer investigation, so dubbed for the perp's habit of leaving a ribbon around each victim's neck after he savagely beats and strangles them. None of the victims matches up with the relevant Social Security information, and none of them has a verifiable history that goes back more than a few years. It seems unlikely that they were all in Witness Protection and resettled to D.C. So who were they, and what did they have in common? The only decent tips come from tracking a man who accompanied one of the victims to another victim's home, and who, for reasons of his own, is leading them toward governmental interference in the politics of countries like Venezuela and Nicaragua. Is there a rogue agent at work determined to publicize CIA chicanery, particularly if it involves the drug trade, money movements and political insurrections, by killing off some of the operatives involved? Stymied by one federal roadblock after another, the cops depend on the killer for a trail of clues that eventually reveal that there's more than one criminal reducing the tax base, and that our Congressional representatives are hardly innocents when it comes to international intrigue and malfeasance.

Ellroy (The Anniversary Man, 2010, etc.) proceeds from an unlikely premise: that a CIA man would start whacking his compatriots to indict the feds. But conspiracy buffs will have a field day.

From the Publisher
"A beautifully written novel that is also a great mystery." — James Patterson

"The master of the genre." — Clive Cussler

"A police procedural thus shifts into a conspiracy thriller and historical exposé … Powerful scenes and vivid images." — Wall Street Journal

"A masterful exercise in suspense . . . This one will keep you up late reading, and then you won't be able to sleep."

"A rich, powerful, evocative novel of great psychological depth." — Jonathan Kellerman

Product Details

The Overlook Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.18(w) x 9.18(h) x 1.44(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

James Patterson
A beautifully written novel that is also a great mystery.
Clive Cussler
The master of the genre.

Meet the Author

R. J. Ellory is the author of seven novels. His works have been translated into twenty-three languages.

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Simple Act of Violence 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Lynie More than 1 year ago
When Catherine Sheridan is found brutally murdered, D.C. Det. Robert Miller is assigned to the case along with his partner, Det. Albert Roth. Miller is a complex and lonely man who has just returned to work following an IAD investigation into an earlier case. Piecing together information from other precincts, it appears that there is a serial killer on the loose in Washington and Sheridan was the fourth woman killed. Each of the victims was found with a ribbon tied around her neck and a paper luggage tag. Miller's team quickly runs into a massive road block when none of the victims can be identified. It's as if they never existed. Determined to find some answers in their search for the killer, Miller and Roth start at the beginning and review all four murders. Even as the police are beginning to tie the murders to the death of a police informant during a drug sting years earlier, there are more murders. Miller's team is quickly ensnared in an elusive game of cat and mouse with a man named John Robey, who they suspect is the man they're after. Concurrent with the police investigation, there is an interior monologue by CIA operative John Robey that harkens back to the Reagan era and the war on drugs that adds chilling political overtones to A SIMPLE ACT OF VIOLENCE. Ellory has written a complex and intriguing mystery that will keep you guessing right up until the end. Lynn Kimmerle
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 2006 DC Police Detectives Robert Miller and Albert Roth arrive at the house of murder victim Catherine Sheridan; she was brutally battered and strangled by the Ribbon Killer who left behind his signature ribbon attached to a luggage tag. As with the previous three such victims of this predator in this affluent neighborhood, the psychopath insured the body would remain warm for the police. Just back from administrative leave after an investigation into his killing a perpetrator, Miller and the department are confused as each of the deceased also share in common no past as if they showed up in DC as adults. Meanwhile a former CIA agent using the name John Robey reflects back to the Reagan Era as he knows what ties the homicides together while Miller and Roth struggle to find the deadly dot connector before a fifth body appears. Except for those who insist President Reagan is the greatest ever occupant of the White House (which excludes GW), readers will relish this deep look at murder and a dark moment in American history. The story line is fast-paced with Miller providing a Noir feel to the investigation while his partner somewhat mellows his outlook. Robey provides the 1980s history that tie the dead females with no history together; as appreciative fans will ironically know before the cops the timely mantra "that the bigger the lie the more easily it will be believed." Harriet Klausner