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Circle of Assassins (Tales from the Back…
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Circle of Assassins (Tales from the Back Page)

by Steven Rigolosi

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Recently added byDiane_K, JohnGrant1, lchav52, AlaMich

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Circle of Assassins has a unique story line that kept me interested throughout. There are many people in the world that would like to have someone removed from their life but these people aren’t going to go out and kill them, right? Would they? -- Do you? Would you?

What if they read an ad in the paper:

REVENGE IS SWEET!
Every day we are brutalized by thwho 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 Box 270 (For entertainment purposes only)

‘A’ placed the ad for his own reasons. He wasn’t sure anyone would answer but many people did - only 5 people were serious enough to carry through. They were from all different walks of life and all had their own reason for wanting someone to be eliminated from the face of the earth. These became the Circle of Assassins because if those who wanted someone murdered then had to murder of the elected victims.

The only problem with the plot I had was initially when the cycle of the Assassins was described to the participants it was a bit confusing. They were going to be known as A- E but then colors became involved and I got lost for a bit. The color theme seemed to be dropped after a bit though and it became clear what the plan was and what was to be done.

The participants were all different and the letters they wrote to ‘A’ telling their stories were as if real people were writing them. There was the older lady who just wanted to keep her neighborhood safe. The obnoxious brother who wanted his sister fiancée’ murdered and then 3 others. Mr. Rigolosi does a very good job of making their lives and problems real.

I may not have liked some of the participants in the Circle and I may have thought some of them did not have good reasons to want their candidates gone but each of their stories were told from the perspective of the participants including their feelings and reasons. The ending had a couple surprises that were totally unexpected and made the story all the better.
( )
  Diane_K | Jul 14, 2015 |

I shared a panel with Steve Rigolisi a couple of weeks ago, and was intrigued enough by his descriptions of his books that I decided I had to get hold of one. This is it.

The novel is #2 in his Tales from the Back Page sequence, whose conceit is that each story starts with a small ad in the back of The Clarion -- which is essentially Manhattan's famous Village Voice. In this case the ad reads:

REVENGE IS SWEET!
Every day we are brutalized by those who hurt us, take advantage of us, steal what is ours [. . .:] Enough is enough! It's time to turn the tables. Write to A care of Box 270. (For entertainment purposes only.)

What "A" is setting up is, if you like, an elaboration of the old Strangers in a Train plot: five people will each murder the foe of one of the others; because there's no logical connection between each of the five murderers and their victims, they'll surely all get off scot-free -- especially since the scheme that's being set up ensures that no one, not even "A", knows the true identity of anyone else.

Well, yes. An English prof wishes her supposedly sexist, misogynist head of department to go permanent bye-bye. A subliterate Italian youth can't bear the thought of his idolized sister marrying the guy she loves. The elderly resident of a shabby-genteel area would like to see the demise of the recently arrived drug dealer whose presence is threatening to turn it into a slum. A priest despises the sociopathic hypocrisy of a local cop. And "A" himself wants to see a murderous paedophile rubbed out.

For a while I wasn't sure I was going to get on with this book. Its first 50 pages or so forgo straightforward storytelling in favour of reproducing relevant documents; this can be an enthralling narrative technique, but I'm not sure Rigolisi quite pulls it off. Thereafter, though, I was completely engaged. This book isn't really a thriller -- more like a dark comedy of manners -- but it's as engrossing as one. I have to confess I quibble with the morality of Nick Lang -- the partner of the murdered cop, latterly trying to clear everything up in the wake of all the killings -- but that was an irritation I found I could live with.

I'll be keeping an eye open for more of Rigolisi's Tales from the Back Page. ( )
  JohnGrant1 | Aug 11, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0977378748, Paperback)

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? Circle of Assassins breaks new ground in the mystery genre, exploring not only the lives of the victims but also the minds and motives of the assassins, as well as the aftermath of the crimes and their impact on the survivors.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:56 -0400)

"A dark tale of justice and revenge in which five desperate strangers agree to a murderous plan: Kill someone chosen by a fellow assassin, and in return have a stranger murder a victim of your choice"--Provided by publisher.

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