Customer Reviews


84 Reviews
5 star:
 (50)
4 star:
 (8)
3 star:
 (13)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (8)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kept me guessing
I've read A Quiet Belief In Angels by this author and thoroughly enjoyed it, but that was quite a while ago so had pretty much forgotten just how much I enjoyed R. J. Ellory's style. This book certainly reminded me of that pretty quickly into the story.

So basically, you have Police Detective Robert Miller and his partner Al Roth, doing their best to find a...
Published on 10 July 2010 by Hippy chick

versus
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Laboured and far too long-winded
They say that most authors re-write the same book. Well, that seems to be true of RJ Ellory, whose style, structure and story-telling seems to have become formulaic within the 2 titles I've read. A Simple Act of Violence is well-thought out, but simply too-long, laboured and over-angry to really sustain the interest over the full span of the book.

Despite...
Published on 14 Feb 2010 by Jl Adcock


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kept me guessing, 10 July 2010
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Simple Act of Violence (Paperback)
I've read A Quiet Belief In Angels by this author and thoroughly enjoyed it, but that was quite a while ago so had pretty much forgotten just how much I enjoyed R. J. Ellory's style. This book certainly reminded me of that pretty quickly into the story.

So basically, you have Police Detective Robert Miller and his partner Al Roth, doing their best to find a serial killer known as The Ribbon Killer who badly beats his victims almost beyond recognition,ties a ribbon around their neck attached to which is a luggage tag like those put on the big toes of John Does in the USA and there's always a very strong smell of lavender on the victims. But the latest victim lacks the beatings so is this the same murderer or a copycat?

During the investigation into the death of the latest victim Catherine Sheridan, Miller has his first encounter with John Robey, a university leturer and man who appears to be without a past. While Robey becomes a prime suspect in the minds of others on the investigation team, Miller just doesn't feel that he's right for the murders. But is he?

Whilst tending to have me think I had the actual murdered sussed, on more than one occasion, it wasn't until very close to the end that I had my confusion sorted. Then as I closed the book, I realized that all the pointers to who was responsible for the murders had been right there in black and white pretty much most of the way through but just kept throwing red herrings, (fairly convincing ones I might add), at me. Shan't tell you who 'done it' because I wouldn't want to spoil things for you but if you want a really good read, this is it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars terrific characters and plot, 24 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Other than the fact that he can get a bit wordy and occasionally takes a page and a half to say what could be said in a paragraph, I honestly don't believe anyone is writing stuff like Ellory does - every book if different and every book is class. If you haven't read him yet, you are in for a series of treats!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific read, 8 Jan 2014
By 
Tony Laforce (Hackney, London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Simple Act of Violence (Paperback)
I am a fan of RJ. This is my view is one of the great books. It is one of the great crime written dramas. There are wonderful characters and trust me you have no real idea where the story is going. It is full of twists and turns. The writing is wonderful and I cannot understand why RJ Ellroy has not been more publicly celebrated. I would love for his books to be made into films. This is a serious great book which people should take their time to read. Trust me it is worth, your time and patience

Tony Laforce, Hackney
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a police thriller, 12 Dec 2011
This review is from: A Simple Act of Violence (Paperback)
I have to confess that I bought this book by accident, thinking it was by James Ellroy! Having done so, I did not regret it. The book starts out as a standard police thriller, set in Washington DC, and with the same kind of emphasis on detective work and characterisation as you might get with an Ed McBain novel. The main character seems to be a fairly banal kind of detective, until you realise that one of his major qualities is his integrity and his unflinching perseverance in getting to the bottom of a series of murders that are not what they would seem.
The turning point, and what turns this from a good detective novel into an outstanding political thriller, is when you realise that the killer may not be as he seems to be. The skill of the author is to show gradually that nothing is what it seems to be, and that there are ramifications that initially do not appear to have any rhyme or reason but are eventually shown to make perfect sense.
The book is both disturbing and convincing, and I highly recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Ellory, 17 Nov 2010
This review is from: A Simple Act of Violence (Paperback)
A Simple Act Of Violence is superbly written, crammed with breathtaking action and wholly believable. The reason it is believable is because it is based on fact (very well researched) and the type of events that take place in the book really did happen. This the second RJEllory book (Ghostheart, the first) I have read. I am about to start Candlemoth and 2 others are on order. Really great stuff.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sacred monster and its heart of darkness, 10 Oct 2008
By 
OEJ - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
The story starts off with the brutal murder of a woman in her Washington DC home and soon develops into a serial killer investigation. In the dust-jacket summary it states that "Detective Robert Miller is assigned to the case". Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I thought, almost a parody of countless crime fiction thrillers, and I felt that among other things the author had once again made the decision to write in a particular style that would be as different as possible from the five novels that preceded it. There's nothing corny or stereotypical about the narrative or dialogue itself, I hasten to add; Ellory is an exceptionally talented story-teller with this unusual capacity to select a particular style and stick with it so as to give that specific novel an identity of its own such that it stands apart from the story itself. He has succeeded, yet again.

Having said that, there is a small but significant reminder in its concept that reminds me of his third novel A Quiet Vendetta, that being the development of a relationship between the leading character and his nemesis. This time around, it isn't a case of the hunted telling his life story to his hunter, rather it emerges that the hunter finds himself being manipulated if not directed by his key suspect such that every step of his investigation seems to have been orchestrated and controlled. It is in every sense a suspense thriller, a tale in which the detective pursues endless leads and forensic trails only to find that every single one leads to nothing. Dead people have names, addresses, jobs and bank accounts but little evidence that they ever existed. Potential witnesses vanish without trace. Life histories appear to be utterly fabricated. It's a painful pleasure to share the maddening emotions that Detective Miller has to endure throughout this case, which unusually for Ellory is spread over a very short period, just over a week in fact.

Inevitably however there is some looking back into the past, and not for the first time in this writer's portfolio, some attempts are made to expose the hypocrisies of America's political landmarks. I was reminded of vaguely similar efforts by the legendary James Ellroy and his epics American Tabloid and its sequel The Cold Six Thousand, which attempted to seduce readers into thinking that the facts behind such events as presidential assassinations and American involvement in various conflicts - some of its own making - were not in any way accurately reported in the media. So we have another feast for conspiracy lovers, but it was a touch disappointing to see that despite the time-stamp of 2006 there was almost no mention at all of the invasion of Iraq three years earlier. In fairness that conspiracy would appear to be motivated by a different kind of agenda to this one, so perhaps we can look forward to another day when Ellory will tailor a story to something more contemporary than this one, which took place in the Reagan administered years of the 1980s.

Where this novel excels is in its relentless capacity to build up tension and suspense. With 100 pages to go, I could not imagine an ending that could contain the explosive revelations, even though the reader has a rather better idea of what's going on than the unfortunate Detective Miller. Instead of vivid imagery and in-depth characterisation, just two skills that Ellory has demonstrated more than ably in the past, here he focuses on mystery, confusion and conspiracy. Some might argue that it is too far-fetched, that the historical events mentioned were not the work of some covert world-controlling agency, but then few if any of us have the evidence to prove otherwise. In any case, I don't buy novels such as this to shoot them down or try to out-guess the objectives or the reasons behind what's going on; I buy them to be entertained, to take myself away from the pretty grim and unattractive 'real world' that many of us are living in at the moment, and in this respect A Simple Act of Violence does exactly what I wanted it do, to provide some sense of escapism that isn't fantasy; it's about people and events that might just be as frighteningly real as they are portrayed here.

Unlike the highly visual prose of A Quiet Belief in Angels this novel delivers a different but equally vivid kind of punch that manages to draw on different emotions by different means, and is perhaps the best demonstration yet of Ellory's versatility and literary evolution. So it's a maximum 5 stars once again, Ellory remaining the only author whose works I have read to get top marks from me for each and every novel published. Each of his novels is difficult to compare with any of his others because they are all so different, and as a writer I think he stands tall among all of his peers.

****************
UPDATE JULY 2010
****************

Congratulations to R.J. Ellory who has received one of the most prestigious awards in crime writing. His novel A Simple Act of Violence scooped this year's Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, announced 22 July at the opening night party of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thriller in every sense of the word, 9 Nov 2008
A Simple Act of Violence
If you want a superb mystery that keeps you turning the pages, then look no further. A Simple Act of Violence is a thriller in every sense of the word.

Never one to patronise or underestimate his readers, Roger Jon Ellory delivers a fast paced story, written with intelligence, thoughtful characterisations, punchy dialogue and such an ability to evoke heart stopping scenarios that he has gained a huge and loyal following. His dialogue is realistic, humorous and individual to each character. His prose is eloquent, written with intention and to great effect. Another reviewer, one-eyed Jack, may have been smiling to himself when reading the first few pages, but, as a woman who has experienced evenings alone in my home, the irony that OEJ refers to passed me by - the tension created in the first page alone left me with hairs standing up on the back of my neck. RJE certainly knows how to hook you fast and effectively.

The subject matter is that of serial killer and CIA conspiracy entwined so skilfully as to challenge the reader to examine his or her own understanding of American politics. RJE's power of keen observation allows him to create characters who are touchingly flawed and imbued with great humanity, even to the point that the reader can feel compassion for someone who has committed atrocities that are almost unimaginable. He also has a disconcerting gift for describing emotional events that allow the reader to relate to them so much that you can end up feeling sucker punched and have to take time to recover your composure. I know I did.

Having read all his published novels, I am no longer astonished at RJE's versatility. You couldn't do better than to spend some quality time with the writings of an author who is so clearly passionate about what he does and what he does with such virtuosity.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Thriller from Ellory, 15 Oct 2008
By 
Lincs Reader (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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 Killer'.

Although the plot is very complex and incorporates the history of illegal drug trafficking and corruption within Intelligence agencies in the USA, this does not deter from the fast-moving and thrilling story line.

Ellory has not held back at all, the reader learns of massive undercover operations that have taken place during the many wars and conflicts that the USA have been part of, going back to the Nicaraguan conflict in the 1980s.

The lead character, Robert Miller is something of an enigma, he has a past that includes scandal and maybe cover up. Miller does not come across as your usual thriller detective - he has many weaknesses, and at times appears somewhat gullible and naïve.

The novel is interspersed with narrative from an unnamed character, the reader is kept guessing throughout the main of the story as to who this character really is. This narrative adds to the tension of the story, filling in some missing gaps for the reader, if not for Miller.

This is certainly no ordinary crime thriller, and Roger Ellory is certainly no ordinary author. I sat up until 1.30am to finish the novel.

Although 600 pages in length, the story is set over only ten full days, interspersed with recollections from the past and a smattering of American political history.

I cant recommend this highly enough and am so pleased to hear that RJ Ellory has secured a further book deal and
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to read it all over again....., 20 May 2009
This review is from: A Simple Act of Violence (Paperback)
Fabulous read. Well-researched. Far-fetched but in that way in which you hope to hell it is far-fetched and not really believable and yet - you know it is. It's just that we don't think about these things on a daily basis and yet as soon as you do, you want to research it (yep - it's based on scary, scary facts) and want to scream and shout about it. I will be recommending this book to everyone. I think he's a very talented, very engaging author and although I loved "Quiet Belief..." found this much more stimulating. One reviewer said they didn't think it got going. Bizarre! Books, like most things, are personal but I read this with a thirst. Perhaps it takes a little while to start up? Though I don't recall being frustrated. And the writing and characters are plenty strong enough to keep you interested. At Amazon price, there's no excuse for not giving it ago anyway! Do I get commission?!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Ellory Yet, 13 Oct 2008
By 
Mr. Peter Steward "petersteward" (Norwich, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's difficult to know where to start with one of the finest thriller novels I have ever read.

So let's begin with a simple statement of belief. This book is even better than the best selling A Quiet Belief in Angels. I really cannot recommend this one highly enough and Roger Ellory just gets better and better.

This novel is full of twists and turns, dead ends, leads that seem to go nowhere. On the simplest level it's a murder detective novel. But on a much higher level it's about corruption, greed, hatred but also the power of good. Some of the suggestions made in the book would have huge ramifications for the USA if they were found to be true - that's how good this book is.

One thing is certain - nothing is quite what it seems. In Detective Robert Miller we have one of the author's best characterisations to date - a man of honour, determined to root out the truth, a man as unsure of the future as he is of the past.

To try and outline the plot of this novel would be to do it a disservice. It is far too vast and too complex for that. The complexity of the novel is in the subject matter and never in the writing style which is as vibrant as ever. Never for one moment did I lose interest in this book, never for one second did my mind wander or did I wish to be somewhere else. Once again the author gives us a history lesson on the way. The amount of research that went into this novel must have been massive.

To say I am in awe of this man's writing ability would be true. He weaves intricate plots that twist and turn - always giving us a drip of information but leaving us guessing. The subject matter is complex, it involves the CIA, the American Government, the judiciary. The action is painted across a massive vista where very little is what it seems as a number of serial murders occur with the victims seemingly being people who do not exist. You are never quite sure exactly who is who, but there is a clarity to the writing that makes this irrelevant because you always know that by the end all the pieces will be tied up.

Identifying with Detective Miller is easy and this is where the writer's supreme ability comes in. And whilst the author does tie up all the loose ends we are left wondering what life holds for Miller. He has found the answers but this leads to as many questions in his own life, questions that only a subsequent appearance can answer.

So let's end with a Simple Statement of Fact - this is the most enjoyable book I have read in years. I was desperate to get to the end to find out exactly what it was all about, but sad when I reached the final page. As they say in the old cliche - if you only read one book this year, make it this one. I just cannot recommend it too highly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

A Simple Act of Violence
A Simple Act of Violence by R.J. Ellory (Paperback - 2 April 2009)
£6.39
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews