Washington, embroiled in midterm elections, did not want to hear the truth about an unsettling series of murders. But when the newspapers reported a fourth killing, when they gave the killer a name and details of his horrendous crimes, few people could ignore it.
Detective Robert Miller is assigned to the case and rapidly uncovers a complication: the victims do not officially exist. Their personal details do not register on any known systems, and as Miller unearths ever more disturbing facts, he starts to face truths about the corrupt world he lives in—truths so far removed from his own reality that he begins to fear for his life.
In the tradition of the masters of suspense, R. J. Ellory has written a shocking and tense narrative of politics and violence in the nerve center of America. As Detective Miller becomes more and more embroiled in the shifting realities of the case, the reader is irresistibly propelled through the intrigues and betrayals of Washington’s elite. This controversial and timely novel explores the notions of identity and hidden government dealings, and it is sure to stay with the reader long after the final page.
I can't praise this book enough! Kenerly's narration was superb - hard to imagine anyone else doing it better. The tale is told with an alternating backstory - in most chapters you first get to hear what's happening with Detective Miller and his associates, then each chapter usually closes with a first-person narrative by the wanted man re his experiences in the CIA and how that steered him to this point. Is this trained assasin behind the string of killings? If so, to what extent? As for Detective Miller, he's really easy to relate to and empathize with. Every lead runs into dead ends. All sorts of forces seem at work to derail his investigation or threaten his life. The story and narration draws you in to Miller - you feel his frustration, experience his fatigue, share his regrets, feel warmth toward his landlords (a sweet Jewish couple), feel stymied by the endless roadblocks. Revelations emerge as you are ready for them; the reader feels Miller comes to each decision at the same time - and with similar thought process - as you would in the same circumstances. This is a long read, and those who like their action hot and heavy, who lack the patience required to be immersed in the story side-by-side with the characters, who want to get from A to Z without making the investment of time and conciousness required along the way, won't like this book. I bet the attention-deficit crowd you often see here in Audible reviews will scream for an abridged version. That would be really tragic. Those who stay with it to the end will be rewarded with a realistic and satisfying ending - not one where everything is blown up in a frantic Armegeddon-like climax, but one where the pieces come together and make sense, and justice is served. Last, I expect the right-wingers here to complain about the accounts herein of atrocities during the Contras war against the Sandinistas. Too bad-it's all true. As is the account of Ollie North and cocaine traffic. Deal with it.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Okay, I could probably listen to Kevin Kenerly read the Constitution and be enthralled. That aside, this was a very enjoyable listen, and well worth the credit. The plot moved along steadily, kept me guessing, and the characters felt authentic, instead of the glammed up pretend people I find in other mystery novels. I also got a bit of a history lesson, which I appreciate, and may be more true than I've ever realized. I usually only listen to books in one hour increments, while doing chores or driving to town. This one kept me interested enough to finish the book in a week. I will be adding the other Ellory books to my wish list promptly.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I listen to a lot of suspense thrillers and mysteries. A lot of best selling novels use the same or a similar plot assuming that what was successful is what a reader wants. I disagree. I want a plot that keeps me not only interested but also gives me some new insights. And is a new plot! This is why I liked A Simple Act of Violence so much. That’s why 5 stars. Great plot, excellent presentation. Looking forward to listen to more books by R. J. Elroy.
What would have made A Simple Act of Violence better?
Toning down the the anti-U.S hysteria.
What was most disappointing about R. J. Ellory’s story?
Have you listened to any of Kevin Kenerly’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Disgust & bemusement.
Any additional comments?
I'm not an American so there is no jingoism on my part. Ellory must have limited his research materials to the writings of Soros, Chomsky and every anti- U.S. diatribe spewed by the Hate America crowd.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful
The description of this story and other ratings lead me to purchase this story with great anticipation. I found the narration to be hushed, monotone, and so flat that I gave up after three tries. Still think the story may be good, so going to try good old fashioned reading. Will not buy a book read by this guy again.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful