Title : Our Kind of Cruelty
Author : Araminta Hall
Genre : Psychological Thriller
Publisher : Random House UK, Cornerstone Century on 3rd May 2018
Summary : From Goodreads
This is a love story. Mike’s love story.
Mike Hayes fought his way out of a brutal childhood and into a quiet, if lonely life, before he met Verity Metcalf. V taught him about love, and in return, Mike has dedicated his life to making her happy. He’s found the perfect home, the perfect job, he’s sculpted himself into the physical ideal V has always wanted. He knows they’ll be blissfully happy together.
It doesn’t matter that she hasn’t been returning his emails or phone calls.
It doesn’t matter that she says she’s marrying Angus.
It’s all just part of the secret game they used to play. If Mike watches V closely, he’ll see the signs. If he keeps track of her every move he’ll know just when to come to her rescue…
We are immediately drawn into the life of our narrator in Our Kind of Cruelty. It becomes clear very quickly that he is an unreliable and unstable narrator, which makes a nice change from an unreliable female narrator. It is actually a little frightening being stuck inside Mike’s head for the whole novel. We don’t really get to know Verity (Mike’s supposed great love) at all because all we have of her is Mike’s twisted, idealistic, fantasy version. At times I wished for a few chapters from Verity’s point of view but I think its necessary for the book that to not go there as it would have taken us out of the insular first person narrative which gives the story so much tension. I also believe it is important to not really hear Verity’s side of things because the lack of it is one of the main points of the novel. Despite spending all our time with Mike, the book isn’t really about him, its about how the world and society treats or rather mistreats so many women. Its about how differently men and women are perceived and judged by the press, the public and the legal system. That is what is truly chilling about this story.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a classic psychological thriller . Our Kind of Cruelty is all about psychology and how people are shaped and fractured by their past experiences. There is a great sense of foreboding pretty much from the get-go here and it never really wavers or lifts. There is also an almost claustrophobic feeling throughout and it is a testament to the author’s talents that a couple of times she could even evoke sympathy for our evidently delusional and damaged narrator. All in all, a sinister and compulsive read.
I received this e-arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.