Title: The Nothing Man
Author: Catherine Ryan Howard
Publisher: Corvus Books
Publication Date: 6th August 2020
I was the girl who survived the Nothing Man.
Now I am the woman who is going to catch him…
You’ve just read the opening pages of The Nothing Man, the true crime memoir Eve Black has written about her obsessive search for the man who killed her family nearly two decades ago.
Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle is reading it too, and with each turn of the page his rage grows. Because Jim was – is – the Nothing Man.
The more Jim reads, the more he realises how dangerously close Eve is getting to the truth. He knows she won’t give up until she finds him. He has no choice but to stop her first…
This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and I loved it every bit as much as I hoped I would. I read The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard a couple of years ago and it was brilliant – but The Nothing Man is even better. The story follows Jim, the titular Nothing Man, who terrorised the Cork area years ago. Eve Black survived the attack that killed her whole family and has written a book about The Nothing Man in an attempt to catch him once and for all.
This is such a clever book, told in such an addictive way. The reader follows Jim’s experience reading the book Eve has written about him whilst also reading the book for themselves. I love a ‘book within a book’ especially when done as perfectly as this! I could not stop reading until I knew the end result – this is one of those books that could quite easily be read in one sitting simply because you won’t want to be interrupted at all until it’s over. It is compulsively compelling and totally gripping. Throughout, I was getting an ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark’ vibe (an excellent true crime book by the sadly deceased Michelle McNamara) especially in the way it shows serial killers for what they really are, rather than what the media and public have built them into. I read in the author’s note at the end that I’ll Be Gone In The Dark was one of her inspirations and I loved that she managed to create a story that put across her point whilst also writing an original and emotional book which had me completely hooked from beginning to end.
The Nothing Man is dark and at times brutal. It feels frighteningly real which makes it all the more shocking and is testament to the author’s skill. As the book hurls to it’s unknown conclusion it is almost unbearably tense. The sense of anticipation of the final showdown is fantastic. I loved this book and I think true crime fans especially and anyone who enjoys an intense thriller will be totally captivated by it. I highly recommend it and can’t wait to read whatever Catherine Ryan Howard writes next!
I kindly received a proof copy of the book from the publisher. My review is my own honest opinion.