When I read the blurb for Kill A Stranger by Simon Kernick I was slightly worried it would be similar to The Chain by Adrian McKinty, which required a series of people to kidnap a child, so they can get their own child returned – a pay-it-forward concept if you like. However… that wasn’t the case which was a relief.
It reminded me a little of Louise Candlish’s popular The Other Passenger because parts of the novel are told in second person – which we discover – are actually our characters sharing their experiences with the police. So the events of the book are predominantly unfolding via police interviews.Kill A Stranger
by Simon Kernick
Published by Headline
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
They took your fiancée.
They framed you for murder.
You're given one chance to save her. To clear your name.
You must kill someone for them.
They give you the time and place.
The weapon. The target.
You have less than 24 hours.
You only know that no-one can be trusted...and nothing is what it seems.
We’re offered several points of view, including that of our couple, Matt and Kate, as well as DCI Cameron Doyle. And we later meet Sir Hugh Roper.
Kernick fairly quickly lets us know things are not quite what they seem. I suspect my assumption the book will be like McKinty’s The Chain meant that I hadn’t realised Matt and Kate were going to be central to the entire plot rather than (just) pawns in something bigger. But we soon learn that they have their secrets. Their romance took off when the couple met overseas and they’ve not been together long when Kate discovered she was pregnant. Soon after Kate is kidnapped and he starts risking everything to save her, Matt realises he doesn’t know Kate as well as he’d like.
This is a really well paced novel. It bolts out of the gates and never lets up. (I’m not sure if I’m going with some sort of horse metaphor there, but whatever…) I also very much enjoyed this twisty plot. The ‘why’ slowly becomes clear though the ‘who’ less-so. We’re not quite sure who to believe or trust. Of course some information is held back and the end in particular offers a few surprises.
This is the third book I’ve read by Kernick but the first stand-alone so newcomers needn’t worry about having missed any backstory if they dive in here.
Kill A Stranger by Simon Kernick will be published in Australia by Hachette and available in late December 2020.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.