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CIRCLE OF ASSASSINS by Steven Rigolosi

By Theresa de Valence - Posted on 22 September 2007

It’s an interesting notion that the deterrent for most folks to commit murder is the fear of getting caught. If you remove that obstacle, will everyone rush out and kill their enemies? I began reading this book while waiting for Small Claims Court to begin, a particularly suitable place to contemplate revenge, and CIRCLE OF ASSASSINS proved distracting.

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.