A serial killer plies his trade in the nation’s capital.
Metro D.C. homicide detectives Miller and Roth are befuddled by the Ribbon Killer investigation, so dubbed for the perp’s habit of leaving a ribbon around each victim’s neck after he savagely beats and strangles them. None of the victims matches up with the relevant Social Security information, and none of them has a verifiable history that goes back more than a few years. It seems unlikely that they were all in Witness Protection and resettled to D.C. So who were they, and what did they have in common? The only decent tips come from tracking a man who accompanied one of the victims to another victim’s home, and who, for reasons of his own, is leading them toward governmental interference in the politics of countries like Venezuela and Nicaragua. Is there a rogue agent at work determined to publicize CIA chicanery, particularly if it involves the drug trade, money movements and political insurrections, by killing off some of the operatives involved? Stymied by one federal roadblock after another, the cops depend on the killer for a trail of clues that eventually reveal that there’s more than one criminal reducing the tax base, and that our Congressional representatives are hardly innocents when it comes to international intrigue and malfeasance.
Ellroy (The Anniversary Man, 2010, etc.) proceeds from an unlikely premise: that a CIA man would start whacking his compatriots to indict the feds. But conspiracy buffs will have a field day.