Book Review – Killing Kate by Alex Lake


Pages: 
403
Published: 19th September 2016
Started reading: April 10
Finished reading: April 16

Synopsis

Kate returns from a post break-up holiday with her girlfriends to news of a serial killer in her home town – and his victims all look like her.

It could, of course, be a simple coincidence. Or maybe not.

She becomes convinced she is being watched, followed even. Is she next? And could her mild-mannered ex-boyfriend really be a deranged murderer?

Or is the truth something far more sinister?

Review

This was a book that promised a lot but mostly failed to deliver. It had its high points and indeed there were many times where I was excited by the plot, the gradual increase in tension and where the story was heading, only for flaws to emerge only too often as it took a frustrating backwards step.

The thing I admired most about the plot was that it was multi-layered. This was not simply a book about a serial killer; several other themes are explored in detail, which provides added depth. At times this made for an unsettling read, but as a concept I really liked it.

Sadly the problem lies within the execution. There were several moments in the book that left me feeling exasperated, for a number of reasons. Some of the characters’ actions made little sense and relied on very unusual logic, I spotted some continuity errors, and most of the twists were so easy to predict.

The story is told in the third-person past tense from the perspectives of the eponymous Kate, and her ex-boyfriend Phil. I did not find either of the two to be very likeable so it was hard to develop any sort of connection with them. The same also has to be said for most of the other characters, as too many of them felt like cliches.

It is not hard to guess who the serial killer is, but their identity is revealed much earlier than I expected. Then the book really does descend into chaos! From here, the tension increases massively and although the actions of the killer are crazy and irrational, it does become quite compelling, so the question of what would happen at the end made sure the book held my interest.

The writing style was hit and miss for me. I liked the fast pace and the short chapters that were both in evidence throughout, which certainly made it a book I could fly through quickly. However, I did have some issues with the tone and also the inclusion of some unimportant details that had no relevance to the plot.

Overall, the concept and the basic plot of this book were both impressive, but for me they could have been much better executed. If it were less predictable and the characters more likeable, I would have engaged more, so while it definitely had its high points, this book felt like a missed opportunity.

Trigger warnings

There are a lot of unsettling themes explored in this book, some in great detail. They include graphic descriptions of violence and strong references to domestic violence. There are also some, occasionally strong, sexual references.

If any of these things could cause a negative reaction, then it would probably be best to skip this book. Not that I would necessarily recommend it…

Verdict

A book that contained a lot of good ideas and a decent plot, but several elements were poorly executed and for me it was a disappointing read.

My rating: ⭐⭐

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