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This book asks the question made most famous by "Spock" in "Star Trek - The Wrath of Khan": "Is the good of the many more important than the good of the few--or the one" (paraphrase)? And, if it is, is it the moral/right/decent/human thing to "Kill Someone" to make it so?
The main character, Chris, is given this very dilemma. He is just a normal young man--maybe a little lazy, maybe not too ambitious, maybe a little lost-- when he is literally forced to grow up and make choices no one should have to make for seemingly no reason. Chris must decide whether he can kill someone to save the lives of five sisters being held captive by the mysterious, "Man in White".
So how does a person go from being a slacker to having peoples' lives in his hands? We go every step of the way through it with Chris. At first he is incredulous; then comes denial; then comes acceptance; and then comes the anguish of the terrible decisions he is being forced to make. We learn about Chris' life through brief scenes from his past. He seems to have had a good life with a loving family, but he has also been harassed and discriminated against because he is black. Chris is written as a fully developed character. We know him, so we know the horror he feels, the frenzy he feels to do something--but he doesn't know what--and the self-doubts he has as to whether or not he can actually kill someone. He wants to do the right thing; he just doesn't know what that is. Could anyone? Could you?
If you don't want to talk about politics or global warming this Christmas, I suggest buying this book and a few copies as gifts for the family you will be sharing your Christmas with. This book asks questions that will lead to discussions (maybe heated ones) about what each reader would do if placed into the same position as Chris. You can literally discuss this book for hours and come away with no solid answers because the answers are personal to each individual person. Can you justify your beliefs as Chris must do? Can you explain your actions as Chris must do? Can you live with the end result of those actions as Chris must do for the rest of his life?
There are other questions raised when Chris finds out why this happened to him. Those questions may be even more difficult to answer. I have to say this book did not end the way I thought it would, nor the way I wanted it to, but it probably ended just the way it was supposed to end based on everything that happened previously. You'll probably have to read this again to catch things you might have missed the first time so that you come to some understanding of the decisions Chris makes. You may or may not agree with those decisions, but the book tells you why he made them, although you may not realize it at the time.
This is the second straight book of Luke Smitherd's that had nothing to do with the paranormal or science fiction, and I think it is a very good sign that this is probably one of his best books. It shows the range the author has and will keep readers eagerly anticipating his books, not knowing which direction he is going to go next. For current and future fans of Luke Smitherd, this is a very good thing. We already know he is an excellent writer, and now we are learning that he can write about almost anything and it will be of the same quality, with the same ability to make us think, make us wonder, make us scared, and make us question things we never thought twice about before.
I can't wait to see what comes next.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
this was it entirely different type of suspense novel, with the perfect narration. I've been getting a little tired of the same old crime, detective, and suspense novels, haven't you?
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
The greatest strength of good sci-fi is its ability to hold a mirror to society, passing comment as entertainment. Serling's screenplay for Planet of the Apes is a searing indictment of American racism woven into an already marvellous film. Charlie Brooker sometimes managed it with Black Mirror (as anyone who has seen 'White Bear' can testify) but few are as consistently entertaining in their critique of society as Mr Smitherd.
While discussion of the book would necessitate far too many spoilers, I'll suffice to say that as always, Smitherd is comfortable enough in his own world without the need to reference others. The subtext is entirely left to the reader, without the need to have it hammered home. Think of the original cut of Blade Runner vs the ghastly Director's Cut and the significance of the unicorn.
Indeed, Smitherd is fast becoming a new Ridley Scott, true artist rather than craftsman, turning from one genre to another with a style that never feels predictable, and the early familiarity of tone is merely to wrong-foot the avid reader. It works too, and soon enough you forget trying to predict the course of events and simply want to read what happens next
As for the evolution of Mr Smith, this is by far his most accomplished work to date. Richer, more nuanced and ultimately more satisfying, 'Kill Someone' is worth adding as a blind buy, at least until the hunger returns
17 of 18 people found this review helpful
I downloaded this on one of those 'deal of the day' offers. I had never heard of Luke Smitherd before but after reading the synopsis and reviews decided to dive in even though thrillers are not usually my thing. I think it's a thriller but it's one of those novels that's hard to pigeon hole. That's a good thing I think.
The story is a dark and at times an unsettling one. The author really gets you inside the head of the main character Chris and is able to transmit those feelings to the listener. It's certainly a thought provoking story that meanders across what society would see as moral and immoral. I still can't decide if Chris took the right decision or not but that's the beauty of the story really.
My first Luke Smitherd book and I look forward to reading more of his work. This was my first audiobook narrated by Matt Addis too. He does a superb job and voices the characters very well and makes them believable.
5/5 for me and well worth a listen.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
What a great listen! Richly depicted characters involved in an intriguing plot made this an audiobook I couldn't stop playing. My heart was racing one minute and I was giggling to myself the next.
Luke Smitherd has quickly become one of my favourite authors...he is a brilliant writer and all his books are unique and unusual. This one is no exception..
My husband and I listened to Kill Someone on a long road trip, and we stopped it a few times to discuss what we would do if in the same situation..we definitely had some interesting conversations!
I highly recommend any of Luke Smitherd books. If you haven't read him before, you are in for a treat.