The Anniversary Man: Five Stars for Author RJ Ellory

Title: Anniversary Man

Author: RJ Ellory

ISBN: 978-752898742

Publisher: Overlook Press Publishing

John Costello is 16 years old and has his whole life ahead of him. Working hard in school and helping out in his father’s store he was a typical teenager enjoying life. In walks Nadia McGowan and his whole world changed. Getting to know her and developing strong feelings is normal when you are 16 years old. What does happen as a result of this relationship is anything but normal. It is tragic. After getting to know each other John and Nadia decide to meet at the beach to discuss that she is leaving to study art in New York City. The events of that afternoon will imbed themselves in John’s mind and forever scar him not only physically but mentally as well. “ I am the Hammer of God, “ he stated as he came upon the young couple and lifted his hammer killing Nadia and critically injuring John. This brings me to my review of a riveting thriller, “The Anniversary Man” by author RJ Ellory.

Twenty-two years later the unthinkable happens. A string of what appears at first random murders targeting teenagers plague the police department in NYC. Several murders are committed and appear unrelated, but are they. John Costello, 22 years later is a crime researcher for the New York Herald working for Senior Crime Correspondent Karen Langley. Detective Ray Irving is assigned these cases and is determined to solve these murders before they become cold and the killer gets away. Karen Langley will do anything to put roadblocks in his way when she barrels into his life demanding answers and threatening to run the story about the serial killings. Along with John Costello they begin to uncover the pieces that might tie all of these killings together.

Most people celebrate wedding anniversaries, anniversaries of when they first met or the first time they went to a dance with that certain someone, but few celebrate the anniversaries of murder. Our murder, dubbed the Anniversary Man does just that. New York City is playing host to a serial killer who is committing these murders on the exact date using the same method and manner of earlier murders. This murderer is copying murders of people who were on death row that have been executed. He is killing and targeting teenagers and what brings this home to John Costello is the memory of the murder of his girlfriend 22 years before by the Hammer Of God killer who this present day killer mimicked the murder of Mia Grant.

Detective Ray Irving is determined to find out how John Costello was able to link all of the murders together. Finding out about his past and learning a little about his present made him suspicious of him. John Costello a relative recluse that belongs to the Winterbourne club a group who meets weekly to discuss serial murder cases. Irving is on quest to find the killer and Costello might be his only source to help him succeed.  With John’s researching expertise and his connections, Detective Ray Irving begins the insurmountable job of trying to connect all of these murders before the body count rises. Ray Irving and John Costello along with Karen Langley form a bond to bring this man to justice forever changing all of their lives.

This extremely smart, insane killer who methodically plans each murder to the weapon used, the manner of execution and the dates that are linked to famous serial murders from the past, making the Anniversary Man one killer that needs to be stopped before he kills again. A killer who is always ahead of the police department whose resources and manpower are limited, Detective Ray Irving hopes with Costello’s help and outstanding affinity to remember dates, facts and expertly linking them together, the case might be solved. Two men with pasts they would soon forget, a serial murderer that has eluded the police for more than half a year, Detective Ray Irving and John Costello form an unholy alliance in order to bring this killer down. Both victims of their pasts, Irving and Costello put them aside when one phone call and a solid lead might turn the tables in their direction, but at what cost.

An ending where untold truths are revealed, lies are uncovered, the author takes the reader on a deadly roller coast ride along with Irving, Costello and Langley with an end result more deadly than a Category 4 Hurricane and the damage even more devastating. Everyday is an anniversary of something but our killer only celebrates death. Who will be there at the end?

This riveting and spellbinding novel brings into focus the difficult job of any police department and the lengths that some dedicated men and women will go to in order to protect their cities. This is the first novel I have reviewed by RJ Ellory and I hope to have the honor of reviewing his next release.