Today it’s my great pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for Killing State, the new release from author Judith O’Reilly. My thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of the tour and to publishers Loughman Press for providing an advance copy of the book. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on it in a short while, as soon as we’ve taken a look at what it’s all about.
The Official Book Blurb
“…a gritty action-packed page-turner..” ANDY MCNAB
The bullet in his brain isn’t the problem. She is.
Michael North is a hero, with a bullet in the brain to prove it. A bullet which has rewired his neural pathways and heightened his sense of intuition. A bullet which is driving him mad. Working for an extra-governmental agency called The Board, North knows one thing for sure. He is very good at killing very bad guys.
But what happens when a hero is ordered to kill a good woman rather than a bad man? Because it turns out that rising political star, Honor Jones, MP, can’t stop asking the right questions about the wrong people.
He should follow orders.
Michael North. What a guy. The ultimate of mercenaries who kills without remorse and without thought. Once a target is set it is not his job to question why, simply to establish the how and carry out his duty. Until he meets Honor Jones. She is the one who changes everything.
Somebody, it seems, is targeting people across the UK. At least this is what Honor’s strange friends believe. She just has to find the proof, assuming, that is, she believes them. But when Michael North is sent to derail her search for her missing friend, everything she thought she knew is thrown into disarray. She knows only one thing … That she can trust no-one.
Blending a heady mix of action, intrigue and more than a little conspiracy, the pace in this book ebbs and flows with the storyline. From moments of great tension where Michael is hunting down his intended victim, to daring escape plans and assassination attempts, right through to moments of calm and deep sentiment, this book really does have a little bit of everything. If you are fan of thrillers, you are going to love this book.
I don’t want to go too far into the plot as this would risk spoilers. What I will say is that Judith O’Reilly has created a storyline which is both intriguing and frustrating, brim full of nail-biting tension and yet littered with moments of calm. And in Michael North she has created a truly complex character who you should hate and yet you cannot help but grow to like. He is, for all intents and purposes, a killer. His reasons are not as you’d expect, his motivations going far beyond the simple idea of money, although this isn’t far from his mind. And yet despite the very cold-blooded nature of his chosen career, there is something intrinsically human about him. He has an instinct, and perhaps something more, which means he can sense when things are off kilter. He rarely questions his mission, but Honor Jones is the exception to every rule. Rugged, damaged, but with a matter of fact persona, I really did grow to like him. He’s a character I am quite happy to follow into more adventures.
As for Honor Jones? Well she is an up and coming MP, tipped for future leadership. Determined, feisty and yet also very uncertain. When you learn of her back story, it is understandable, but there is a strange blend of the insecure and the bloody stubborn about her. There were times when I liked her, and times when I didn’t. She’s a very complex character and the way in which the author has set up her situation is really well-played. Initially billed as a victim to be, you really do need to know why she has been targeted and what she has done to cross the mysterious group who are North’s benefactors. The why, when it is revealed, is shockingly simple. Partly implausible and yet scarily not. The book really does make you question the issue of what could be and the lengths people will go to in order to protect their own interests.
Another key feature for me was the way in which Judith O’Reilly captures the tension of a good old-fashioned cat and mouse chase on the page. There are so many moments which will have your heart in your mouth and others that will leave you shocked and somewhat repulsed. And yet there are moments which can make you smile. Fang especially is a wonderfully colourful character. I do hope we meet her again. Wickedly intelligent with such a sharp sense of humour, she was a brilliant character to get to know. And then there is the setting. From the political landscape of London, to the more natural and often dramatic landscape of the North East, I really did feel the differences in the atmosphere emanating from each page.
A brilliantly tense and intelligently plotted political thriller. Conspiracy fans will be delighted.
Killing State is released in e-book on 6th November and is available from the following retailers:
About the Author
Judith O’Reilly is the author of Wife in the North and A Year of Doing Good (both published by Viking Penguin, 2008 and 2013 respectively). Wife in the North reached number three in the UK bestsellers’ chart and was in the top ten for five weeks. It was also a top ten bestseller in Germany. It sold into ten countries, was serialised by The Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and was based on Judith’s eponymous blog which was named as one of the top 100 blogs in the world by The Sunday Times. Judith’s blog is credited with kicking off the popularity of domestic blogging in the UK.
Wife in the North and A Year of Doing Good were both non-fiction. Killing State is a commercial political thriller and Judith’s first novel. At least the first one she’s allowed to leave the house without her.
Judith is a former political producer with BBC 2’s Newsnight and ITN’s Channel 4 News, and a former education correspondent with The Sunday Times where she also covered politics, undercover reporting and general news. She still writes for The Sunday Times, and has acted as a strategic communications adviser for both government and business.
Make sure to check out some of the other fab blogs taking part in the tour.