Crimezine Classic: A Simple Act of Violence by R.J. Ellory.

Posted: March 31, 2012 in Crime Fiction Books, Crime Writers
Tags: , , , , , , ,

RJ Ellory-Crimezine

A Simple Act of Violence

Who is the mysterious Catherine Sheridan and why was she murdered? This masterful and unique novel is anything but what the title so teasingly suggests. A Simple Act of Violence breaks new ground as a hybrid novel of stunning depth and nuanced complexity, provoking questions that will have you wondering at the very nature of morality itself.

What starts as a murder investigation for cops Robert Miller & Al Roth quickly turns into a hunt for a vicious serial killer, but the hunt for the ‘Ribbon Killer’ raises more questions than it answers and pretty soon Detective Miller is delving solo, into a byzantine world of political intrigue that threatens to destroy both him and his career

As usual R.J.’s deliciously enticing prose is hard-hitting and deeply suspenseful. He engages the reader with poetic flourishes and a philosophical undertow that questions not only the Kafkaesque nature of US covert operations, but also the moral code of those who govern us.

The philosophical heart of this book is adapted from a popular French term: Sacred Monsters, whereby we are responsible for creating something that ultimately becomes our undoing. For the cop Miller, this Sacred Monster is his compulsion to seek the truth, even if it means his own destruction. For Miller’s mysterious nemesis the Sacred Monster involves countless acts of murder, sanctioned in the name of justice and the higher ideals of government.

Stylistically, we get a third person police procedural, that weaves hypnotically with a mysterious and disturbing first person voice, that could almost be the voice of our own consciousness. When these two worlds collide there is a cataclysm of Shakespearean proportions, most appropriate—as Ellory hails from the great bards home turf, although with his masterful grasp of Americana and the American crime milieu you would never know.

Certain naughty treats do however give the author away—did Mr. Ellory seriously think we would miss the fleeting appearance of 2000AD’s goon squad killers Sinister and Dexter? Not on Crimezine’s watch bucko, we are personal friends with the Mighty Tharg.

Although the story seems to move in real time, it has a cinematic vibe that just aches for big screen accolades. Hollyweird will get wise to the Elloryian vibe in it’s owns sweet-time, meanwhile you can catch the buzz on the ground floor—or as Crimezine always prefers—the lingerie department.

Already an award winning UK novelist with great acclaim in his native Europe, R.J Ellory is aching to make the leap into major league success in America. He now has a body of work that will facilitate this transition: Each story different, yet possessing the same unique voice. Each story a masterpiece of nuanced and individualistic storytelling. Crimezine thinks A Simple Act of Violence is his masterwork. So if you like big budget crime thrills and a masterful level of suspense, this is the book for you. Tell ’em we sent you Crimeziners.

  1. djpaterson says:

    Looking forward to reading this. I read a couple of RJ Ellory’s books earlier this year and was incredibly impressed. Zarjaz!

    • tonybulmer says:

      Hey Dj—Borag Thungg! I did a four year stint at UK comic publisher Egmont Fleetway and worked with many cool characters, at what was the swan-song of the British comics industry. Along with legendary Marvel comics Editor Tim Quinn, we like to think we were responsible for the last cool comic that company did—Mystery and Suspense. Unfortunately the Disneyfied marketeers didn’t agree! Sob! Cool if you would subscribe to Crimezine as I cover many scrotnig crime stories I am sure you will enjoy.
      Splundig Vur Thrigg!
      I never thought I would hear myself say that line again Tharglet, I am off to nosh a polystyrene cup!
      Tony Bulmer
      No more 2000AD references I promise.
      PS. R.J ROCKS! Sometimes quite literally, check out his band the Whiskey Poets.

      • djpaterson says:

        Ah, the old polystyrene cups! I remember the day (and papershop) that I saw issue 1 of 2000AD, and bought it for that space spinner. I was then blown away by the great stories – and Dredd didn’t even make an appearance till issue (sorry – prog) 2. And only six-months ago (when I moved to NZ), I dropped about a dozen bankers boxes containing 1700+ issues at my brother’s.

        I haven’t checked his band out yet, but RJ certainly rocks. You’d never tell from his writing that he’s not an American, but rather a Brummie!

      • tonybulmer says:

        Impressed by your dedication to thrill power DJ. May your neighborhood remain quake free— I moved from London a few years back to Mulholland Drive Los Angeles, and the big one is due any second… Keep Crimezine posted with your Kiwi—ish antics and news of your latest crime reads. Kind and foolish Hollyweirders have us on the inside loop as far as movies are concerned—and we are always on the look out for classic Crimezine reads— flavor du jour in LA, is Crime Classic writer Ross MacDonald. Crimezine neighbor Robert ‘Keep the noise down’ Crais is a big fan—you like?

  2. djpaterson says:

    I haven’t come across Ross MacDonald, but I do have Robert Crais’s The Sentry in my TBR pile. Am a late comer to Lee Child and read the first Jack Reacher, Killing Floor, at the end of Feb. Currently on book 12, Nothing to Lose.

    • tonybulmer says:

      Give Ross a go it is classic stuff. Crais reckons LA Requiem is a good place to start, but Many Craisies like the early books. Monkeys Raincoat is the first. Free Fall is a personal favorite. Do like Reacher and Lee Child too. Did u know Lee worked for Granada Television on classic shows like Brideshead Revisited and Prime Suspect? He lives in New york now tho—these ecky thump-northerners! I like the fact that He named Killing Floor after the Howlin’ Wolf song.

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