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A Simple Act Of Violence

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  962 ratings  ·  136 reviews
Washington, embroiled in the mid-term elections, didn't want to hear about serial killings. But when the newspapers reported a 4th murder, when they gave the killer a name and details of his horrendous crimes, there were few people who could ignore it. Detective Robert Miller is assigned to the case.
Rapidly things begin to complicate. The victims do not officially exist. T
Paperback, 512 pages
Published October 2nd 2008 by Orion (first published 2008)
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May 07, 2014 Gail rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: kindle
Wow. Just wow. This is amazing. I have just finished it and I am reeling from it. The pace, the plot well just about everything to be honest. This is good, very very good.

We have the brilliant Detective Robert Miller, his partner, Al Roth and their Captain, Lassiter.
Miller and Roth are sent to investigate the murder of Catherine Sheridan and what appears to be the work of the serial killer dubbed 'Ribbon Killer' because of his MO at the scenes of crime of three other females.

There begins just a
Ellory, R. J. A SIMPLE ACT OF VIOLENCE. (2008). *****.
Mr. Ellory is an English crime writer, but has set this novel in Washington, D.C. It’s the logical place for it since it deals, primarily, with the activities of the CIA. He certainly managed to do all of his research, and the book manages to expose – during the course of the story – the ways the CIA manages to fund its sub rosa activities. Ellory is a terrific writer. His novel previous to this one, “A Quiet Belief in Angels,” was a masterf
A book is not always what it seems. That is how I feel about A Simple Act of Violence. What started out as a typical serial killer spree, turns out to be something completely different. This was a wonderful, multi-layed crime novel about how far does power corrupt and how far up the chain does it go? It will leave you thinking and then not wanting to really know the answer.

This is the 3rd book I have read by this author. I love his ability to change the style and flow of his writing to reflect t
Kate Millin
I found this very difficult to put down. The story was very believable which is really sad and an indictment on the way America works, or rather the way the story says it works. There were the usual twists in the story that I expect from books by this author.
Washington, embroiled in the mid-term elections, did not want to hear about serial killings. But when the newspapers reported a fourth murder, when they gave the killer a name and details of his horrendous crimes, there were few people that
My Inner Shelf
Énooooorme ! Je découvre Ellory avec ce roman et ne compte pas m’arrêter là. Un auteur anglais qui écrit du roman noir américain, il n’en fallait pas plus pour me titiller. Cela se présente comme une enquête sur des meurtres en série, mais on comprend vite que les choses vont évoluer dans un sens bien particulier.
Pour une fois le duo d’enquêteurs n’est pas mixte, on a bien deux mecs, pas de risque qu’ils se tournent autour tout au long du livre. La présence féminine ne fait aucun doute, mais au

“It is then that Catherine hears something. She thinks to turn, but doesn’t dare. A sudden rush of something in the base of her gut. Wants to turn now. Wants so desperately to turn around and look him square in the face, but knows that if she does this she will break down, she will scream and cry and plead for this to happen some other way, and it’s too late now, too late to go back…too late after everything that’s happened, everything that they’ve done, everything they’ve learned and what it al
R J Ellory is a writer who has been hovering on the edge of my consciousness for a while. I fancied reading his books but wasn’t really sure where to start. I’m so behind with some authors that I struggle to catch up with their latest releases. In the end I decided on A Simple Act of Violence for no other reason than someone gave me a copy and I’m glad I’ve finally been introduced to this interesting writer.

The book is set in Washington DC, where a serial killer is torturing his victims before s
A Washington D.C. serial murder case becomes a lot more than this detective bargained for. It seems his victims never existed. And once they start to get some suspects these folks never existed either. This is an awesome mystery that turns into so much more. I could not believe this guys writing ability. The story pulls you right into it and the characters are fantastically portrayed. This one should not be missed. If it looks vaguely intriguing go for it, you will not regret it. One note though ...more
A really enjoyable and interesting novel. As with previous novels by the author the story moves along in an in intricate multi layered fashion which really pulls the reader in. The characters are detailed and thought provoking, added to the well researched theme along with a very gritty view of Washingtons police dept this is fully recommended. I look forward to getting through the remainder and of this authors catalogue.
You know it must be a pretty good book if it makes me want to go back to Mrs. Fuller's high school English class just so I can write a paper about it. (And I hated English!) Wow!

What appears at first to be a complicated, somewhat textbook, serial-killer-with-a-peculiar-signature type of deal, the stuff of Morgan Freeman movies and good evening, Clarice, just blossoms. It blossoms into so much more than that. It blossoms into whatever you think it is, it isn't. It blossoms like an orchid.

An orch
Siiii inutilement long. Tout le monde aime Ellory - ça fait trois livres et je le trouve toujours ennuyant comme la pluie.
Lukasz Pruski
R.J. Ellory's "A Simple Act of Violence" begins as a standard police procedural. A woman is murdered in Washington D.C., and the crime scene has the same markings as in three previous murders. The perpetrator is dubbed the Ribbon Killer because of signature ribbons left behind at the scenes. At this point the reader expects a conventional cat-and-mouse game between the serial killer and the police, but pretty soon it becomes clear that this is not a typical serial murder spree. Something much mo ...more
Joe Maguire
This was my first Ellory novel, and knowing nothing about the author or book I started it without much idea what to expect. The book opens with a murder and it seems from early on that this will be a police procedural with a stereotypical misfit detective as our protagonist hunting an elusive serial killer. However, a parallel storyline soon opens up which is clearly connected to the events of the main story, and yet is much broader in context and style; addressing some big political and moral q ...more
Fiona Van
This is the second of Ellory’s novels that I have attempted. The first was disappointing and I have not become engaged with it. It is lying by my bed, half read, and, with lots of other reading material available, I have left it unfinished. Having now read this long, and fairly difficult novel, I will return to it.
On the face of it, this is a serial killer thriller - the “Simple Act of Violence” of the title, the cop hero is a detective, just returned from a three month suspension and an IAD inq
Ian Mapp
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sensational, Challenging, Angry and Breathtaking.

A change of pace from A Quiet Belief in Angels, in fact the prose feels like it was penned by a different author, though this merely illustrates Ellory's ability to change the suitabilty of his language for different narratives and styles of fiction. A Quiet Belief was narrated by a damaged young man in a poetic, stream-of-consciousness style whilst A Simple Act of Violence is a tough police procedural narrated, for the most part, in the impartial
Patrick Chabannes
“Un mensonge tellement énorme et complet et tellement ancien que les menteurs eux-mêmes ont fini par croire qu’il s’agissait de la vérité, absolue et indiscutable.”
Un roman d’exception au rythme digne de Motown. Aretha Franklin ouvre en puissance et en douceur un morceau de soul, crimes en série la police est là ; le piano de Ray Charles survient, vif et alerte : Le FBI entre dans la danse ; et la trompette de Quincy Jone se met à chanter quand la CIA est de la partie.

Quatrième victime, même mo
Kathleen Hagen
A Simple Act of Violence, by R. J. Ellory, b-plus, Narrated by Kevin Kenerly, Produced by Blackstone Audio, downloaded from

This book contains in the first few pages a very surreal event: a woman is being strangled while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” with some of the lines entertwined into the killing. Very weird, but I won’t forget it soon. This book contained too much violence for me, and too many coincidences leading the detective to the final conclusions, but it was impossible
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 04, 2010 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
Finished 3/9/2010 - Heard RJ Ellory being interviewed on radio4 about this book and thought it was worth looking into. Found it in a local branch library, and have been ploughing my way through it the last three weeks or so. Not read any Ellory before, and crime fiction isn't my usual bag, but tend to enjoy the books I do get round to reading. Mainly I wanted to read this to find out more about what Ellory had said about a certain US government agency. Although this is a work of fiction, the aut ...more
Liz Wilkins
If you have not read RJ Ellory before, then reading the "blurb" for this book, you might be expecting a fairly standard "serial killer thriller". If you are a "constant reader" then you will know that, despite the title, there is probably going to be nothing simple about it. Several women have been murdered in Washington - beaten then strangled to death, a smell of lavender lingers and they all have a ribbon and tag on their bodies. Initially being dealt with by several investigators, the next v ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adele Symonds

Book Review of A Simple Act Of Violence by RJ Ellory
This is an extremely gripping thriller from the first page to the last. Detective Robert Miller is a cleverly sculpted character who is normal enough to be utterly believable. Ellory draws you into this character so much that empathy for him is not even a choice. I particularly liked the way that Ellory had the killer speak to us at the end of each chapter, this gives the reader a much deeper insight into the mind of the perpetrator of the crim
Ubik 2.0

Dopo i primi capitoli ero sul punto di abbandonare, stufo di thriller incentrati sulla figura supersfruttata del serial killer. Per di più la storia si presentava con tutti i luoghi comuni del genere accentuando la sensazione di dejà-vu (anzi di dejà-lu…): donne massacrate in serie e con i soliti rituali da assassino seriale, polizia (nella fattispecie di Washington) incapace di trovare un nesso fra i casi, il medico legale (anzi “la medico legale” come va di moda adesso) che fa le auto
John Brooke

I recently reviewed Ellory’s A Dark and Broken Heart. I said I was less than thrilled because: it’s too much like a movie I've seen too many times before; and because of the protagonist’s limited range, despite the many thousands of words given to his inter-chapter inner monologues. Now I have read A Simple Act of Violence, Ellory’s huge bestseller about a Washington DC homicide cop’s frustrating, soul-sapping battle against shadowy DC “intelligence community” forces blocking his way to a clear
A Simple Act of Violence is very different to RJ Ellory’s last novel A Quiet Belief In Angels in that it is more of a crime thriller.

But, yet again, nothing is quite as it seems. What apparently begins as a serial killer investigation in Washington soon emerges as something far more complicated.

Detective Robert Miller, the lead investigating officer gradually becomes more baffled by the case and Ellory’s writing leaves the reader frantically turning the pages to find out just how is the ‘Ribbon

I chose this to read during the first week of the school summer holiday's, and the week beofre I do some work at a holiday playscheme, as it seemed it would be perfect holiday reading. A big thick thriller, full of conspiracies, so gripping it keeps the reader up later and later each evening.

The case that starts with the horrible death of Catherine Sheridan turns out to be something that detective Robert Miller could never have guessed at. While undertaking an investigation that quickly becomes
Dense is the first word that will always pop to mind when asked about this book. In terms of theme and tone, it reminded me most of Winslow's 'Power of the Dog.' The tentacled interconnectedness of the drug game and the almost Catch-22 nature of the US involvement.

I can easily see how this book would frustrate some readers and thrill others. It's not your straight-ahead, typical police procedural crime novel. It tells its story in a very circumspect ways and slams its primary protagonist through
I like A Simple Act of Violence; it is better than most average "cop" books. Since cop books are kind of average, for me, only 3 stars. I think it will keep your interest.
Now, the spoiler alert:
It is different than the average book; the cop doesn't understand what the hell is going on because all of the victims and witnesses cannot be traced. They all have fake names, or created identities with social security numbers from dead people, stuff like that. Also, when I used to hear people talk about
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Roger began his first novel on November 4th, 1987 and did not stop, except for three days when he was going through a divorce from his first wife, until July of 1993. During this time he completed twenty-two novels, most of them in longhand, and accumulated several hundred polite and complimentary rejection letters from many different and varied publishers.

He stopped writing out of sheer frustrat
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