A Simple Act of Violence

R.J. Ellory's new book A Simple Act of Violence is anything but simple. The book starts with the murder of Catherine Sheridan, whom for some reason seems to know that she is about to be murdered. Washington police department detectives Robert Miller and Albert Roth are assigned to investigate. Miller is just returning from a suspension he received after being implicated in a murder.

Miller has doubts about what really happened right from the start. What he does know is that this murder is similar to 3 other murders of women in the past few months. The murderer has been dubbed the "Ribbon killer" because he ties ribbons around the victim's necks. When the victim's backgrounds are checked it seems as if these people were never alive. The investigation of Sheridan's murder leads Miller on a chase through the secret agencies of the United States. CIA, FBI, NSA all seem to be involved.
Intertwined in the main story is a narrative by someone named John Robey. Robey was an operative for the CIA. He was an assassin and he worked with Catherine Sheridan. His asides give the story line the background information that leads to the conclusion. Robey is eventually interviewed by Miller and Roth and he tries to drop hints as to what is really going on. It takes Miller awhile to catch on.
I liked this book. The beginning winds a bit and it is a little confusing with the shifting between the main story line and Robey's but persevere, they come together and everything is clear. The main story of the murders is a good one. Robey's story about the CIA and it's activities is more than just an aside. Combined they make for a very interesting fast paced mystery.

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