Book Review – Painkiller by N.J. Fountain

Pages: 394
Started: May 17
Finished: May 20

Sypnosis (Goodreads)

I cannot go on like this. I feel such a burden to you. You are young and can start again. You deserve that chance. By the time you read this I will be dead. Do not grieve for me, for I am now without pain.

Yours truly for ever,

Monica suffers from chronic neuropathic pain.Every second of her life is spent in agony and there are years of her life which are a blur to her.
But when she finds a suicide note written in her handwriting she begins to question everything.
If someone tried to kill her once what’s to say they won’t try again.


This is a complex book with complex characters and complex themes. When I picked it up I had no idea what it would be like, although it has been compared with Before I Go To Sleep.

The likeness is definitely there, as Monica has had a historical accident and suffers from amnesia. A lot of the early chapters begin with ‘I wake up…’, so that repetitive pattern is there, too.

It is an interesting and entertaining read which always kept me guessing about the characters and their motives. Monica often acts as an unreliable narrator, and the book is written in such a way that there are many red herrings, and some of the twists towards the end I did not see coming!

In fact, the last 100 pages are so dramatic and full of twists and unexpected moments, that it felt like the first 300 pages were there to set the whole thing up! This is very subtly done, and the loose ends are neatly – and a little eccentrically – sewn together.

The dominant theme of the book is Monica’s chronic pain, and this is covered in rich detail. It makes for a very original concept, and the very definition of a psychological novel.

The writing style is interesting, and contains a good deal of humour. There are some parts that were just weird and difficult to follow, but it was always interesting enough to keep turning the pages.

Overall, it is a book I appreciated a lot more when I reached the end, as it helped me understand the whole meaning of the first 300 pages. The twists and the answers make up for it, but that was a bit too long to wait.

Still, a very clever and well thought out book.


This book contains strong references to suicide and drug use, as well as mild sexual content. If any of these are likely to trigger a negative response, I recommend that you give this one a miss.

The Author

I cannot find much information about N.J. Fountain, but this is his debut novel. He is mainly a comedy writer, for satirical television programmes and magazines.

Although the subject matter of Painkiller is fairly dark , Fountain’s comedy background definitely comes across in his writing, as there are some amusing similes, turns of phrase, and laugh out loud moments.


An original and entertaining read which gradually builds towards a dramatic ending with lots of revelations.

If you are looking for a deep psychological thriller with a bit of quirkiness thrown in, then I would recommend it.

I give Painkiller a rating of 3.5 stars.

Happy reading 🙂

5 thoughts on “Book Review – Painkiller by N.J. Fountain

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s