It is my absolute pleasure to be one of today’s blog tour stops for Kill or Die, the new psychological thriller from Ann Evans.
The Official Book Blurb
A vicious burglary goes horribly wrong when an elderly victim is killed and one of the burglars is injured.
In the detached house next door, Julia is preparing to leave her husband. He has let her down for the last time and her bags are packed. Taking their eight-year-old daughter, Lucy, from her bed they set off in the fog.
But on this cold, dark night, fate steps in and these strangers collide.
When Vincent and Nash abduct the mother and daughter, and take them to a derelict house, the situation takes a grave turn.
Meanwhile, Julia’s husband, Ian, is distraught that his wife and daughter have left, and when the murder and burglary are discovered, suspicion falls on him.
For Ian, Julia and Lucy, life is about to become a nightmare.
Can Julia and Lucy escape from the twisted criminals?
What will Julia decide when the choice is – kill or die?
Making what should be the life affirming decision to leave her cheating husband, Julia has packed her bags and taken her sleepy young daughter to head to the refuge of her sister’s home. They never make it.
Vincent is outwardly perfect, charismatic and able to charm the birds from the trees. But beneath that handsome and honed exterior lies a very dark heart. While his partner Nash wears his hardness and his anger in his twisted and scarred features, Vincent is far more dangerous and far more intelligent, able to hide in plain sight. But when a burglary goes wrong, and Vincent is forced to get his hands dirty, they are forced to flee, putting them straight into the path, and the mini, of Julia and her daughter.
Kill or Die is a cleverly plotted story, if somewhat dark at times. None of the violence is described in any particularly graphic way, and given the nature of what occurs, I am actually grateful for that. However, the reader is never left in any doubt as to what has happened. With a burglary in which the violence takes a very brutal and catastrophic turn, and the resultant abduction, it is clear that this is never going to be a cosy mystery waiting to be solved. The bad guys, Vincent and Nash, are brutal, although despite outward appearances, it is Vincent who has the coldest and hardest heart. The mental and physical torture he subjects Julia to would easily be stomach churning had it been fully described as opposed to being left with the sense of Julia’s pain and fear after ward. By avoiding creating a role of voyeur for the reader, the author makes this a much more palatable journey to go on.
Ann Evans has created a very cruel character in Vincent. His disgust and disdain for everyone is quite clear and there are no redeeming qualities about him at all. You are full aware that he is handsome, that he uses this to his advantage, but while some bad guys can create a sense of appeal despite their character flaws, he leaves nothing but a feeling of abhorrence. He is just… Urgh. As for Nash? Well he has reasons for his hatred, for his anger. Whether he is beyond redemption is up to you as a reader to decide, but for me, while I couldn’t take to either of them, nor should I, Nash was the slightly more acceptable of the two.
As for our victims in this story, I absolutely felt for Julia and her daughter, felt their pain and fear. But I’m not sure it went beyond that. My feelings for Julia where a bit like a tide, rising and falling with each internal thought we shared with her, each action. There were times when her strength of character, her resolve to save her and her daughter appealed to me and others, when she became a simpering mess over her husband’s infidelity, that I wanted to walk away. The two sides of her didn’t quite gel for me. I get a mother doing anything to protect her young, but going as far as she did, showing that amount of courage after whimping out on confronting her own husband just seemed a little odd. And I’d certainly have expected her to use her new found courage more obviously against her husband. As for Ian. God that man deserves a kick in the short and curlies. I felt nothing for him, his situation wholly of his own making. Actually, that’s a lie. I did feel something. Infuriated. I felt infuriated by him. Gah!
Now this is a very fast read, partly because of the pacing, but also because it was an uncomplicated read. As I reader I didn’t find myself being caught up in overly long or complicated descriptions of forensic analysis when the police finally became involved. If anything that part of the story was secondary to the whole and almost incidental in spite of the finger of suspicion being pointed squarely at Ian at one stage. This was a very much emotionally driven narrative and even though I didn’t much like any of the characters I found myself still drawn in and swept along with the story. It was a page turner, most definitely. Put it this way, I read the whole thing whilst travelling to and from Dublin and whilst waiting in the airport. The author had created enough urgency in the story to compel me onward. I never once felt the need or desire to turn away. In some respects I just wanted to see Vincent get what he deserved.
If I had one criticism it would be the police investigation. The finger pointed at Ian a little too quickly, the police going from nought to guilty and back again over what seemed like a very minor and inconsequential thing. It all seemed too easy and that did lead to a bit of a raised eyebrow once or twice. That aside, this was a very enjoyable book, if enjoyable is really the right word given the subject matter.
If you want a fast paced read, one where it is a battle of will and nerve verses brute force and cruelty, in which an ordinary woman goes to extraordinary lengths to ensure that she and her daughter survive, then I would definitely say give this one a go. I’ll definitely be looking out for more from this author.
A very solid offering. 4 stars.
My thanks to the author and to publishers Bloodhound Books for the advance copy for review. Kill or Die was released on 13th April and is available from the following retailers:
About the Author
I’ve always loved writing. What started as a hobby has now become a way of life. My children’s and YA books have been published by Scholastic Children’s Books, Usborne Publishing, Penguin Australia, Hometown World, Badger Learning and Astraea Press (Clean Reads). Plus there are a number of adults books published under my pen name of Ann Carroll – and more in the pipeline. The Beast published by Usborne won the raring2read category in the Coventry Literary Book Festival 2013.
2017 sees three new books being published, another YA reluctant reader book for Badger Learning entitled Keeper. An historical romance called A Place to Belong, and a crime thriller – working title Kill or Die with Bloodhound Books.
When I’m not writing I do school visits, run workshops and give talks.
My non-fiction career spans the last 30 years which includes 13 years at the Coventry Telegraph as a staff feature writer plus a great many freelance articles on a wide range of topics.
You can follow Ann at the following sites:
Why not stop by one of the other fab blogs taking part in the tour.