January ’12 Pick of the Month: ‘A Quiet Vendetta’

RJ Ellory has been an acclaimed author for some time in his native England, and is lesser known here in the states even though he always uses U. S. settings. Starting with the stunning A Quiet Belief In Angels and the shadow history-serial killer hybrid A Simple Act Of Violence, his work has started to come over here. The latest Ellory book to hit our shores, A Quiet Vendetta, solidifies him as one of the top crime writers today.

A Quiet Vendetta is quintessantial Ellory, particularly with it’s use of a story-within-a-story. It begins with the kidnapping of the Louisanna governor’s daughter. The kidnapper requests a sit down with Ray Hartman, a troubled alcoholic Special Investigator for a federal mob prosecutor. When Ray returns to his New Orleans hometown of hard memories, Mr. Perez walks into the police station. He tells Hartman he will reveal the location of the girl after he tells his life story.

And what a tale it is. Perez was born in New Orleans to a violent Cuban father who moves the family back to his homeland right before Castro’s revolution. A chance, brutal occurence brings him into the fold of the Mafia, returning him to the states as one of thier coldest and most efficent enforcers. It’s a sweeping hard boiled saga of violence, friendships, love, and betrayal that sheds light on the Kennedys, Watergate, Jimmy Hoffa and other murky histories. What Ray finds himself stuggling to find out is how the governor, Perez, and he are connected. The answer is only completely revealed at the very end.

It’s the balance of mood, character, and plotting that make this a unique book indicitive of Ellory’s work. At its core it looks at two adversaries who are both looking at their last chance to put their darker nature to rest. Ellory’s ability to take us through their dark world and offer hope for individual humanity makes him a stand out author.

Meet R. J. Ellory here at BookPeople when MysteryPeople hosts him on Friday, January 27, 7p to speak & sign A Quiet Vendetta. We’ll have drinks, snacks, and a performance by Ellory himself.

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