Monday 6 May 2019

The Killer You Know by SR Masters @SRMastersAuthor BLOG TOUR @LittleBrownUK #TheKillerYouKnow #RandomThingsTours

I'll murder three people. And you'll know it was me . . .
Summer 1997. When Will jokes about becoming a serial killer, his friends just laugh it off. But Adeline can't help but feel there's something darker lurking behind his words.

Winter 2015: Years later, Adeline returns to Blythe for a reunion of the old gang - except Will doesn't show up. Reminiscing about old times, they look up the details of his supposed murder spree. But the mood soon changes when they discover two recent deaths that match.
As the group attempts to track Will down, they realise that he is playing a sinister game that harks back to one they used to play as kids. Only this time there are lives at stake . . .

The Killer You Know by SR Masters was published by Sphere/Little Brown on 2 May 2019. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

"All of this started the night Will told us her was going to be a serial killer."

Amazing first line; amazing premise for a story, and a deeply satisfying and chillingly compelling tale that kept me hooked throughout.

The Killer You Know is set in the late nineties and features a group of teenage friends who hang out together in a fairly small, nondescript village in England. Along with the 1990s narrative, there's the modern-day story that follows the same group as they get together for a reunion as adults, and as very different people  .... or are they?

Masters weaves a pretty dark, but strangely familiar coming-of-age story, with a twist. The reader gets to know each character intimately, and the comparison of the then and the now is really well executed.

Back in the 90s, Will announced that he would become a serial killer. He'd only have to murder three people to gain that badge. He'd make each death look like suicide and he'd disappear during the time that he carried out the murders. It was the end of a long summer and whilst the gang remembered his words, none of them ever thought they'd come true.

Christmas 2015 and Adeline is returning to the village for the planned reunion; time has passed and despite her maturity, her relationship with her mother hasn't improved. She's not seen the old gang for a long time and is keen to find out how they've all fared in life.
Only Will doesn't arrive, and it's not long before the others remember the serial killer chat; after some Googling, they discover some recent deaths that sound eerily similar to Will's teenage fantasy.

The author then takes the reader along a dark and very twisted route to an explosive and unexpected conclusion. His ability to create such intense characters is excellent; these are well-rounded with full backgrounds that explain just why they act as they do.

With hints of Stephen King and the more recent Chalk Man by CJ Tudor, there's an air of tense expectation running throughout the story. An excellent debut. Recommended by me.

S R Masters grew up around Birmingham, and spent his teen years reading, playing in bands and wandering through fields with friends. After studying Philosophy at Cambridge, he worked in public health for the NHS, specialising in health behaviour. He currently lives in Oxford with his wife and son. 

His short fiction has featured internationally. He regularly contributes to UK short fiction anthology series The Fiction Desk, having won their Writer's Award for his short story 'Just Kids'. His story 'Desert Walk' was included in Penguin Random House USA's 'Press Start to Play' collection.

'The Killer You Know' is his debut novel.

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