Kill A Stranger by Simon Kernick

Today I’m delighted to join the tour for Kill A Stranger by Simon Kernick. This is the first book I’ve read by this author but I really don’t think it will be the last. My thanks to publisher. Headline for providing an advance copy for review and to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting me to join the tour. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy

About the Book

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.

A masterclass in page-turning suspense, this twisting and addictive read will leave you guessing until the very last chapter.

My Thoughts

Well this book didn’t play out as I expected. The premise is exciting, the execution perfect and the sense of intrigue and mystery that flowed through the whole thing really kept me on the hook right to the very last page. If this is what I can expect from a Simon Kernick novel I am definitely coming back for more.

Imagine going out for the evening, leaving your pregnant fiance behind, and returning to find them missing and a dead woman in your bed instead? You can’t? Me either, but that is exactly what happens to Matt Walters after a night out with friends in the city. He has no clue who the woman is or what she is doing in their home. More to the point, he has no clue where his fiance, Kate, is. At least not at first. The body in the bed is just the start of his troubles and what had been a pleasant evening turns into a waking nightmare for a man who just wants to protect his family.

Except … well nothing in this book is quite that simple or straightforward, not that kidnap and extortion, of sorts, ever is. The story is built upon a foundation of lies and, a bit like a game of jenga, it remains to be seen just how many lies can be cast aside before everything comes tumbling down and in quite dramatic fashion. The plot is loaded with mystery and the tension is high from the very off as Matt, along with readers, try to work out just what is happening and why.

The characters that the author has created here really do make the story. I don’t know why but I was drawn to Matt from the off and rooting for him to come good in spite of a few revelations about him throughout the book. There is that real sense of someone completely out of their depth and trying their hardest in the face of great adversity. He is clearly not perfect, but I liked him. Kate … it’s unusual for a victim but I was very conflicted over her as a character. Sympathetic to her plight but there was just something that had put me on edge. You need to read to understand what I mean. Again it all links back to that literary jenga – which one of those lies holding up the whole plot belongs to her and will all be revealed or will they remain buried?

The pacing is spot on, the tension waxing and waning as the story progresses and the situation dictates. There is always that underlying edge, but in amongst the dramatic goings on there are moments of calm, chances for the reader to pick up on snippets of the character’s past that may be a clue to the present. Certainly the final showdown is bit of a surprise and the ultimate conclusion, whilst not overly surprising, quite satisfying. Does everyone get their just desserts? Probably not. Does karma still play it’s part? Absolutely.

Tense, fun, exciting and very character and action led, I really enjoyed this. Definitely recommended.

About the Author

Simon Kernick is one of Britain’s most exciting thriller writers. He arrived on the crime writing scene with his highly acclaimed debut novel The Business of Dying, the story of a corrupt cop moonlighting as a hitman. Simon’s big breakthrough came with his novel Relentless which was the biggest selling thriller of 2007. His most recent crime thrillers include Siege, Ultimatum, Stay Alive and The Final Minute. He is also the author of the bestselling three-part serial thrillers Dead Man’s Gift and One By One. Simon talks both on and off the record to members of the Counter Terrorism Command and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, so he gets to hear first hand what actually happens in the dark and murky underbelly of UK crime.

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