Circle of Assassins Paperback – Apr 15 2007
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From the Back Cover
Five desperate strangers answer an ad that promises to help them rid an unwanted person from their life. A criminal mastermind named “A” makes each of them a provocative offer via an advertisement in The Clarion, a community newspaper published on Manhattan’s Upper West Side: Murder a complete stranger chosen by a fellow assassin, and in return have a stranger murder your chosen target.
How many of those who answer the advertisement will accept A’s offer to join the circle of assassins, in which anonymity is guaranteed? Which of the killers will succeed in their plots? Who is A, and will he or she end up dead or alive?(Rigolosi, Steven)
About the Author
Steven Rigolosi is the best-selling author of The Outsmarting of Criminals, chosen by Oprah's editors as one of the five best mysteries of Fall 2014. Library Journal has called him a "completely fresh voice in the mystery genre." He is a two-time David Award winner from Deadly Ink and lives in northern New Jersey.
Top Customer Reviews
Every day we are brutalized by those who hurt us, take advantage of us, steal what is ours, mistreat our loved ones, destroy our property, terrorize us psychologically, criticize and condemn us, or trample our self respect. Enough is enough! It's time to turn the tables. Write to A care of
(For entertainment purposes only)
When five people answer the above ad, they have no idea that they have started a chain reaction that will result in the ultimate revenge: death. Each answers the ad in hopes to rid their life of an unwanted person. Someone known only as "A" offers to help them, if they kill someone else.
The deal is simple: Five strangers each assigned a letter and a colour. Each will receive details in the mail about the person they are to kill. Each of them must be careful to leave no paper trail and to destroy any and all communication.
Co-ordinated by "A", they are each sent letters, pictures and address information in order to more effectively murder the person their contact has chosen. But why must these people die? There are all sorts of different reasons for someone to die; maybe this person is a drug dealer. Maybe he is a pedophile. Maybe he is not who he seems on the surface.
They become a circle of killers, a circle of assassins. Their identities are hidden, even to themselves. But, as with most secrets, something goes horribly wrong.
Each of them must reach deep down into their hearts, and their souls, in order to survive...
To tell you any more of the plot would be to ruin what is without a doubt the most engaging and ingenious mystery novel I have read in years. Make no mistake; this is not your ordinary mystery novel.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
At times we are left with enough information to form ideas and feelings about each of the characters. Each assassin mails a series of letters to a post office box. They receive information on several means of committing murder, and any possible evidence that could be left behind. Following this exchange of information, they are each sent pictures and information about their victims and when and where not to do it. Finally, they are required to investigate the habits and comings and goings of their victim. Now it is time to execute the plan and the victim.
Steven Rigolosi has masterminded a new type of mystery, one that is continually developing, not waiting until the finish to enlighten readers, although there is a surprise ending.
Circle of Assassins is the second book in the series Tales from the Back Page.
The first book is Who Gets the Apartment? Rigolosi makes characters seem true-to-life and is gifted with new concepts. He also reveals the dark side that is possible in any one of us.
Armchair Interviews says: Good and evil and the dark side of human nature.
A doesn't give much away other than that he will be coordinating the proceedings, and he gives the instructions on how their stories should be told and what precautions the others should take when participating. Slowly we, the readers, begin to learn the stories behind the need for revenge by the everyday person. There are hints that this is all just a research project for an aspiring author who is on the brink of a contract with a major book company, but only the author knows that the research is more than fiction. B is an elderly woman who has spent her entire life scrimping and saving so she could leave the drab, overpriced apartment in the city. When she comes into money, she immediately moves to the suburbs and loves it. When her neighborhood is threatened, she is denied all normal avenues of assistance, so she decides to take matters into her own hands. C is a dissolute and jealous brother - depending on the point of view. We get to see many sides of the circle of assassins - unlike those involved, or so they think.
Each believes this stranger (A) - a person that could be entirely fictitious or malevolent - because they so deeply feel the need for revenge that they will do anything to further their cause.
I can't say too much else or the storyline will be revealed before its time. This is the most unusual mystery I've ever picked up, and while I was not totally engrossed enough to ignore everything else; I did want to find out what happened next and how it all ended. This is not your typical mystery, and if you are one of those readers who reads the end to find out what happens - this one will be a stumper.
Each murderer is assigned another's murderee. The mastermind is very clever, he/she knows that the murderee needs to be perceived as a villain, not a victim, so he/she presents instructions to each murderer and requests justification for the crime. The idea is unquestionably amusing, but how would the book unfold? There are five potential murderers, with five grievances and five potential victims.
Cleverly the author doesn't give every story equal time. Once one is fully involved in these stories (which does take a while), the author introduces interesting changes to the main thrust of the story, surprising the reader and morphing the storyline--the reader eagerly flips pages. I did get lost a few times (there are plenty of details), but nowhere near enough to lose track of the story.
Then the author completely changes the rules. It's riveting.
The writing is clear and straightforward; the reading is very fast. I did put the book down in order to attend court, but when I picked it up later, I read it straight through. Would I have stayed up until the wee hours in order to follow the story? You betcha.
One question which concerns readers of crime fiction only vaguely is whether the murderers will be caught, because, by and large, it's one of the rules of the genre that murderers are identified and punished. But, in this case, will the murderers be caught, and if they are, will that serve justice?
You'll have to read CIRCLE OF ASSASSINS to find out.
Theresa de Valence, Mystery Fiction Reviewer