Slightly far-fetched at times, but a strong and enjoyable thriller
The plot is intricate and twisted and fits together in all kinds of unexpected ways. The central crime is, initially, four deaths – two pairs of best friends, which earns the killer the nickname Billy Dead Mates.
The killer leaves each victim a small white book, blank except for a line of poetry, with each pair both getting different lines from the same poem.
The story is told from several perspectives – a popular comedian who becomes involved, as well as extracts from a true-crime book she writes after these events, at least three separate detectives from the Culver Valley police district, a publicist, and letters from the killer to a powerful feminist blogger.
While the deaths seem clear cut at the start, police face several problems: is this really about best friends, or is there another agenda; and why do books keep popping up all over the investigation?
This is a lively and entertaining read and I happily forgave it several aspects that stretched my belief quite a bit. Sophie Hannah creates her own universe and I was content to go along for the ride.
It is the 10th in Hannah’s Culver Valley crime series.
Book published in February 2016.
This review first appeared in the Herald Sun’s Weekend magazine.