Thursday 26 November 2020

To Kill A Stranger by Simon Kernick @simonkernick BLOG TOUR @headlinepg @HeadlineFiction @Tr4cyF3nt0n #ToKillAStranger


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.

Kill A Stranger by Simon Kernick is published by Headline today; 26 November 2020. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, and to Tracy from Compulsive Readers who invited me to take part on the blog tour 

Phew! This is a pretty exhausting, relentless read. A story that takes the reader on a journey with twists, with dead ends and more than a few hill starts along the way. 

In the prologue we are introduced to DCI Cameron Doyle; a long-in-the-tooth copper whose many years of experience means he's seen a lot. He may be jaded, but he's determined to get his man.

Kate and Matt are newly engaged and about to become parents. They run a luxury hotel in Sri Lanka but have decided to return to the UK to ensure the best healthcare for Kate whilst she's pregnant. They are renting a cottage and it's just an ordinary night. Matt has been out to see friends and returns home, expecting to find Kate tucked up in bed. 

What he does find is the beginning of a nightmare few days for him, for Kate and for Cameron Doyle. Kate isn't in bed. Another woman is though, and she's dead. 

Horrified and stunned, Matt receives a call from an unknown person. It becomes clear that if he doesn't do exactly as he is told, then he will never see Kate again. 

Kernick tells this story through different points of view. We are there, as Matt is instructed what to do, and we are also aware of just what is happening to Kate. Taken in the boot of a car, blindfold and tied up and then held captive in a disused building. It's all very strange.

As the story progresses, and it does at a lightning speed, the reader soon becomes aware that someone is not telling the whole truth. These narrators are totally unreliable, there's something fishy about what's happening - but why, and who is behind it?

The reader knows far more about Kate than Matt does, despite the fact that they're a couple and have decided to spend their lives together. We learn about her childhood, and her father and the things that have happened to her in the past. She doesn't remember lots of it .... or does she?

Meanwhile Cameron Doyle has to put this flimsy jigsaw together, and he's certain that only one man is behind all of this, but will that guy get justice? Or, will he evade punishment, just as he has for the whole of his life. 

There were times when I had to suspend my belief a little during this story, but it moves with such a pace that I can get over that.  There's a wide cast of characters and I struggled to like one of them, except for Cameron Doyle of course. Again though; cheater, liars and murderers are rarely likeable people so this bunch of fiendish villains were perfectly placed within the story.

Non stop action and a plot that is devilishly tricky. A great read.

About Simon Kernick 

Well where do I start? I wanted to be a writer ever since I was old enough to pick up a pen. I started with one page stories that I illustrated myself (badly) and, as I grew older, the stories got longer. For a long time I just wrote for myself, enjoying the process of disappearing off to new, imaginative worlds, but eventually, while working as a salesman in London I experienced this desperate desire to get published.

I've always been a huge crime fiction and thriller fan so I wrote a crime novel that, unfortunately, pretty much every literary agent and publisher in the land rejected. So I wrote another one with exactly the same result. I have enough rejection letters to decorate a whole house- three hundred in all-but finally I struck gold with my first novel, The Business of Dying, about a cop who moonlights as a hit man named Dennis Milne. It was released in 2002 (seven years after I first tried to get published!) and was described as 'the crime debut of the year' by The Independent, which was a very nice compliment.

Since then I've written a book a year (fifteen in all now) as well as a total of three novellas. I specialise in very fast-paced thrillers set over a short space of time which I like to think grab the reader from the very first page and don't let go. My fifth novel, Relentless, was a Richard and Judy summer read, and the ninth and tenth, The Last Ten Seconds and The Payback, both reached number 1 in the UK book charts, so they're good, I promise!

I don't have a series as such and most of the books can be read as standalones, but I do have recurring characters. Dennis Milne, my vigilante cop, returns in A Good Day to Die and The Payback, and my female detective, Tina Boyd- a woman who finds herself in dangerous situations seemingly at every turn- appears in the vast majority of the recent books.

Anyway, I hope you get a chance to take a look at one or more of them and please feel free to let me know your thoughts.

Twitter @simonkernick

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