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A Quiet Vendetta
Author: R.J. Ellory
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
Enter the world of a Medical Examiner as he takes you through the process of discovering a corpse, placing it on the table, seeing where it was found and the work needed to identify the person in order to show respect for who he/she was. The car is unique, the smell is overwhelming and the case will prove to be unusual as one man finally comes forward after seeing a lone car sitting for three days, peers inside the window and what he finds would probably make anyone lose their lunch and a lot more.
Police on the scene, one detective called out of a deep sleep, the evidence limited the mutilation of the body horrific and the work begins to find out why anyone would surgically remove this man’s heart and then place it back in his chest cavity. According the ME it signifies revenge. New Orleans is the place and the author describes the areas, the people, the scenes so graphically that you witness the events first hand and feel a part of the story. The medical examiner’s terminology, the police investigation and the body are so vividly described that the squeamish might close their eyes when reading this book but the more hardy and interested as this reviewer is will not stop reading the book or the events until the answers to the questions you might ask if you went along with the police are answered and the killer is caught. But, there is much more that has not unfolded as I review A Quiet Vendetta by bestselling author R.J. Ellory.
John Verlaine is the detective assigned to the case. But, this would prove anything but an ordinary investigation as he seeks the help of one man to try and understand the circumstances surrounding the murder, the way he was killed and the graphics on the victim’s back of the constellation Gemini. But, the man whose help he seeks instructs him to walk away and dismiss the case from his mind and the next thing he knows the FBI take it over. The man killed we learn is an ex-marine guarding the daughter of the Governor of Louisiana who is supposed to be spending time with her mother, but never shows up. Catherine Ducane has been kidnapped. Now, the mystery begins.
The FBI has taken over the case and they cannot seem to find any leads or direct links to the man killed, the kidnapping. One phone call to the agent in charge would change it all as the voice on the phone insures the agent that Catherine is okay but that to get her back he wants something in exchange. Just what that is has not been revealed.
Ray Hartmann holds the future of Catherine in his hands as the kidnapper calls the FBI and demands his return to New Orleans for a one on one face to face explanation of why this happened and where the girl might be. Ray is in law enforcement and has a highly volatile personality that cost him his family’s confidence in him and his present state of having to live alone. Dealing with the mafia, lone sharking, fraud and other crimes related to them he readily joined the House Judiciary Subcommittee to assist the District Attorney and others with cases involving organized crime. Used as the catalyst to bring this kidnapper in, he agrees to speak with him to help bring Catherine home. One word spoken in a phone call to the police: ALWAYS just might be the key to another person’s involvement. John Verlaine knew what that meant as he related it to Hartmann in a private conversation. The one man who told him to walk away and never look back. Feraud. How he might be connected has not been revealed, as the kidnapper is about to appear and one: Ernesto Perez will take control.
Detective John Verlaine of the New Orleans Police department sets the wheels in motion when investigating the murder of Catherine’s bodyguard. . Enter one man who wants to tell his story at all costs even to himself. The history he recounts and Ray Hartmann will bring chills to the reader’s spine and fear in your heart for the kidnap victim. The deal made is for one Ernesto Perez to tell his story one which allows the reader to get an insight into a man who wants the attention which surround others in the past focused on him in the present. Living with a father that was violent and entering in a world that would turn him into not only a psychopathic killer but a hit man too.
As the reader gets to hear the inner voice and outer one of Ernesto Perez you being to understand the rationale behind his ramblings and his want for attention. Comparing himself to Castro, many memories of the man and how he created his dictatorship and his reign over the people in his country, you learn that this man is doing this not to really help them learn where Catherine is but to unburden himself, tell of his past wrong deeds and let the world know that at one time he was no better than his father. Killing his mother he retaliates in his own brutal way. Starting with just one murder of a salesman and going on after that with no remorse, feelings or knowledge of his victims just the rush of the kill. As Perez continues to tell his life story the FBI and police become more frustrated as does Ray and the hope of finding Catherine fades. Where her father fits you will find out and you will also learn the link he has to those involved. Why he chose Hartmann you won’t believe and the end result will definitely haunt you at night and bring chills down your spine. Author R.J. Ellory takes the reader on a psychological journey inside the mind of a killer who thinks murder is the only way to survive and live. Hartmann is a drunk and buries himself in his job to the exclusion of his wife and daughter. He even has that violent tendency that mirrors that of Ernesto to an extent. Could this be the hidden link? The frustration listening to this man talk about himself and justify who he is and what he has turned into even though someone’s life is hanging in the balance adds to the suspense and the outstanding craftsmanship of this bestselling author.
As you hear Ernesto’s story and learn more about his background you begin to see the dark shadows in his life as he tries to create parallels between him and Ray. Deaths that he brags about and shows no remorse and the violence that he justifies it almost as if this is a cleansing of his soul and he hopes to be absolved at the end. When the police cannot deal with this anymore they enlist Ray to make a deal with him and the end result is more than horrific as Ray and John visit Feraud and the backlash you won’t believe.
The end result of what really happened to Catherine you will have to learn for youself. Where Ernesto winds up and what the truth behind the kidnapping was you won’t believe. Once again Author RJ Ellory has penned a story filled with history, twists, turns and an ending so dramatic and so filled with surprises that you won’t want the story to ever end and hope that you might meet Ray Hartmann again. One dramatic ending that will send chills down your spine one outstanding author. A Quiet Vendetta: Much more than silent I would have to say.