Monday, November 22, 2010

The Annivesary Man - R.J. Ellory

First line: "For a long time, John Costello tried to forget what happened."

John Costello and his girlfriend Nadia are attacked by a deranged serial killer. John survives the attack but Nadia does not. Forever scarred by the trauma, John begins to study serial killers and meet with a group of other survivors.

In his job as a crime researcher for a newspaper, John begins to piece together a new serial killer who is flying under the radar of the New York Police Department; the killer is a copycat, but he (or she) is not copying one serial killer. Rather the person is copying many serial killers. John takes this information to the police but his knowledge of the inner workings make him either a prime target or a prime suspect.

A regular topic of discussion in the crime fiction community is the question of whether the serial killer has been overdone. When readers open the pages of a book like THE ANNIVERSARY MAN they discover that there is still uncharted territory in the serial killer concept. Ellory’s approach is fresh and the plot is complex. His unique, fascinating puzzle keeps readers glued to the pages.

The well-crafted plot will keep thriller lovers engaged and enthralled. Those who favor character development will be equally amazed by Ellory’s work as he molds not only John’s character but also Ray Irving, the investigating homicide detective. There are no flat elements to Ellory’s characters. The psychological aspects are as strong and developed as the physical and the action. The dynamics that develop between the characters become the fourth dimension of the story.

Ellory is an incredibly powerful writer. His intelligent plots and rich characters make for a captivating read. But his amazing use of language is truly what pulls the readers into his fictional worlds. It’s this language that makes his plot more than scary, it’s haunting. And it’s this language that connects the reader with the characters and forces them to empathize. Ellory simply doesn’t allow his readers to be passive, and THE ANNIVERSARY MAN is no exception. This is a book that has something for everyone, and a book that raises the bar for the serial killer novel.

This year R.J. Ellory placed himself solidly on my "must read" list. When a new book comes out, I must have it in my hands. THE ANNIVERSARY MAN is one of the reasons Ellory was added to this list. I highly recommend this astounding novel.

THE ANNIVERSARY MAN is available from The Overlook Press in hardcover (ISBN: 978-1-59020-327-9). It is also available from Audible on audiobook.


Kathleen A. Ryan November 22, 2010 at 7:07 PM  

At Bouchercon last month, I picked up A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS, and it is awesome. Thanks for your terrific review of The Anniversary Man. I had that feeling while reading A QUIET BELIEF that I was going to have to read all of RJ's novels, because his writing is superb. You of course have confirmed my thoughts. I'd love to listen to it on audiobook.

Jen Forbus November 22, 2010 at 7:32 PM  

Oh Kathy! The audio of A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS is stunning. See if you can get it through your library. I know you can get it with Audible, too. But it is fabulous!! The narrator really understood what Ellory was trying to do and knocked it out of the park.

caite November 23, 2010 at 12:10 PM  

I read this one recently (have not reviewed it yet) and I enjoyed it a great deal as well. Ellory is on my "must read more books written by" list.

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