The Killing Kind by Jane Casey

Twisted…

🙂 🙂 🙂

The Killing KindThe law says that everyone has the right to defence in court, so sometimes barristers find themselves defending people they’d probably rather not know. So it was with Ingrid Lewis when she was just starting out, successfully defending John Webster from accusations of stalking and harassment. It wasn’t long after the trial before Ingrid learned to her cost just what it was like to be the target of John Webster’s games. Now, a few years later, a fellow barrister is killed and Ingrid becomes convinced that John Webster did the killing, mistaking the other woman for Ingrid. But can she persuade the police to believe her before it’s too late?

Jane Casey always writes entertainingly and well, and I love her police procedural series starring Maeve Kerrigan. This book is something of a departure from her, moving into standalone thriller territory, and it rockets along throwing twist after twist until the poor reader’s head is spinning. This poor reader, I’m afraid, found it went so far over the credibility line that I had to stop trying to take it seriously at all at a fairly early stage, when Ingrid begins to wonder if Webster is really the bad guy, or is he trying to save her? From there on it spirals into ever more ludicrous scenarios, in which the only constant to hang on to is Ingrid’s profound stupidity. She’s the type of heroine who, on being told a house is haunted by murderous ghouls, volunteers to spend the night in it. “I am in fear of a crazed stalker who I believe wants to kill me, so I’ll wander about the dark, lonely streets of London late at night, all alone, rather than getting a cab,” seems to be her general attitude to self-protection.

Jane Casey 2 - telegraph.co.uk
Jane Casey (source: telegraph.co.uk)

I know credibility isn’t considered a plus in contemporary thrillers, so I’m sure this will work well for people who generally enjoy the “I didn’t see that coming” impact of total lack of plot and character consistency. Unfortunately I do like plots to hold together and there are far too many holes in this one for me, and I don’t like when characters have a personality makeover halfway through, as both Ingrid and Webster do in this one. I felt that by the end both were unrecognisable from how they had been drawn at the beginning, not because they had been changed by events, but because they had been changed by the author to fit in with the plot twists. Plus, I regret to say it, but despite all the twists I did see that coming… I had very little doubt from quite early on as to where the story was going to end up, although it’s done well enough that I wondered from time to time if perhaps I was wrong. But I wasn’t.

Overall, then, reasonably entertaining but I think it’s fair to say it’s not my favourite Casey novel by quite a long way. I’d admit, though, that I am probably the wrong reader for the book, and I’m sure it will work better for the many people who love this kind of over-the-top twisty thriller.

20 books 2019Book 3 of 20

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, HarperCollins via NetGalley.

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40 thoughts on “The Killing Kind by Jane Casey

  1. I was hesitant about the story line of this book and I’m kind of relieved your review hasn’t left me in any conflict about reading it. I like my plots to hang together too and certainly don’t prioritise shock value over cohesive stories and good writing.

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    • I probably wouldn’t have read it based on the blurb, but I wanted to see how Jane Casey handled the thriller format. But I’m afraid it wasn’t really my kind of thing – when I can’t believe in the characters then I can’t get interested in what happens to them…

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    • Yes, it was probably unfair of me to read and review it since it’s not my kind of thing, but I couldn’t resist – because it’s Casey! I enjoyed it at first but it all got too unbelievable for me halfway through, and I sorta lost interest in what happened to them all…

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  2. Hmm…..I like Casey’s work, too, FictionFan, so I was wondering whether to read this one. I’m with you, though, about the importance of a plot that holds together. And the minute I read that a character is behaving stupidly, I get tired of it. Hmm…Nope, not sure about this one, although I do like Casey’s writing style. Perhaps I’ll give this one a miss.

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    • See what other people think before deciding – as you know, I’m not keen on this type of over-the-top thriller so I do feel it was a bit unfair of me to read and review it. But for my money it’s nowhere near as good as her other books, unfortunately.

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  3. “The only constant to hang on to is Ingrid’s profound stupidity” 😀 I’m not a massive reader of contemporary thrillers so I think I’ll give this one a miss. Such an entertaining review though FF, as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thank you! Haha – that was very mean of me, wasn’t it? But true… 😉 I’m not a fan of contemporary thrillers because they so often ignore credibility and survive on twists so I’m sure this’ll get better reviews from people who enjoy the genre more. But I’m looking forward to her next police procedural… 😀

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  4. Oh, it does wind me up when characters behave stupidly! Honestly, even if it’s established in the context of the story that other characters think they don’t have much common sense, it still annoys me. And barristers are supposed to be clever!

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    • The barrister bit annoyed me for that very reason! She shouldn’t have been stupid, she should have been able to pull strings with the police, and she certainly should have been able to afford cabs! But really, I’m not the right reader for this one – I’m sure it’ll get lots of more enthusiastic reviews…

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  5. I also am not one for thrillers, so I don’t know the characteristics of a good one. But I know how I feel when a character has to act stupidly for the sake of plot points. I usually stop reading. So skipping this book will save my sanity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure I know what makes a good thriller either, exactly, but I know when I read one! I think the main character has to remain consistent throughout, as a minimum – or grow in response to events, maybe. But not just change!

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  6. Okay, this sounds like a real mess. A shame, as the blurb looked promising. I’m not generally the biggest fan of Too much Twist Syndrom, or indeed authors forgetting what their characters were meant to be like, and changing them purely for the demands of the plot. You were generous in your rating, it seems to have left quite a lot to be desired.

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    • The twist is killing the thriller, I think – for me anyway, though they seem to be hugely popular so I must be wrong! But I like to feel at the end that the whole thing might be unlikely but not impossible, and I’m afraid when the characters have to change personality to fit the plot then it’s always going to lose me. Haha, I felt a bit mean for reading it since it’s not my kind of thing, really, so I rated it a little higher to compensate – well spotted! 😉

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  7. Hmm…mediocre. Characters acting in an unbelievable, stupid manner tends to irritate me, in both books and film. I always have to remind myself that many times there wouldn’t be much of a story to continue on with if they didn’t behave so. But still….

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, and it’s tricky and hard to define. But I read another one just after this, which frankly was probably just as unlikely but somehow the author made me willing to suspend my disbelief. I think it all comes down to the main character, maybe, and I just felt Ingrid changed too much in the course of this for me to believe in her, or care much what happened to her…

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  8. HaHa, delightful review, FF. This one I’m going to pass on. Things are just so hectic this summer that I can ill afford to tax my wee brain with ridiculousness. Characters having personality changes halfway through? Bah!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, thank you! Yes, I don’t mind if a character changes in response to events, but somehow Ingrid just seemed to become a different person. Still, I’ll still be looking forward to Casey’s next book… 😀

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    • It’s the quality of her writing that kept me going to the end with this one, but I do vastly prefer the Maeve Kerrigan books – mostly personal preference, though, since these ultra-twisty thrillers rarely work for me…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Having enjoyed some of the Maeve Kerrigan books I’m surprised that this one was such a miss. But I’m with you, I get so annoyed when the protagonist insists upon doing ridiculous things!! I realize that often that’s what moves the plot along but after a while it gets old.

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    • I love the Maeve Kerrigan books, as you know, and it’s probably unfair of me to be hard on this one since it’s not my kinda thing, really. But I do hate when there are so many twists that everything stops feeling consistent…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Interesting what you say about credibility in thrillers – I think it’s important that the concept is at least believable, but if the thriller is supposed to be realistic then the plot needs to add up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I need to feel that it might be unlikely, but it’s possible, and for that I think it means the main character has to behave consistently all the way through. If you have to change the character to tie in with the plot, then the plot’s wrong…

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    • I love the Maeve Kerrigan series, and to be honest I probably wouldn’t have read this one based on the blurb except I couldn’t resist since it was Casey! But I’m sure it’ll get a lot of more positive reviews from proper fans of this kind of ultra-twisty thriller…

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  11. As usual, I enjoyed your completely credible review (in contrast to the lack of credibility in the book you’re reviewing). I’m not sure why contemporary thrillers have thrown out the rules for credibility. Seems like they should apply no matter when a book was written.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t agree more! I think in the old days the main character in thrillers tended to be ex-police or an army veteran, so they could have all kinds of skills with plausibility. But now it all seems to come down to how many twists you can fit in, and I’m afraid for me that just makes credibility take a nose-dive…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You always know what you’re in for with a book with cover art showing a woman with a red umbrella. I must get rid of my own red umbrella and get a ‘safer’ coloured one before something terrible happens to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I completely agree with your thoughts about credibility, and I can’t stand it when a character is changed to suit the plot, I always think why didn’t you change them in the beginning during the editing stages. I wonder if they just hope we will get swept along in the story and forget. Who knows. A great review but not the book for me.

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    • Yes, it really stands out when the character changes to suit the plot. I guess that’s what makes a good thriller good – that both the plot and the characters are in harmony. Then you can kind of take the reader along with you even if you cross the credibility line a bit…

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  14. ha! I’m surprised you gave this one three smiles, it sounds like you really didn’t like it! I may be able to abide plot holes, I honestly just try not to think about them when I spot them, and move along quickly and focus on other things when I start to question what is happening. I suppose if there are too many though, that’s when I start getting annoyed and feel let down by the author.

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    • She’s one of those authors, like JK Rowling, whose writing has such a flow it can still make for reasonably enjoying reading even when the actual story isn’t working well. I don’t always spot plot holes either, but once I do then it niggles!

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  15. Oh dear… 😅 I am glad you still found things to enjoy about this one, but I would find the heroine stupid decision really infuriating, well unless she is meant to be stupid! I sadly think a lot of novels, TV shows and films have got lazy, and just change characters to suit their plot or agenda 😏

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I hate when a character is inconsistent in that way – it makes it impossible to believe in them. If they change because of something that’s happened to them, fine, but not just to fit in with the plot. Oh, well!

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