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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...
Between 2000 and 2001 in County Cork, Ireland, the Nothing Man, the villain of this fiendishly clever psychological thriller from Edgar finalist Howard (The Liar's Girl), raped, tortured, and toward the end of his spree killed his victims. After the Nothing Man killed 12-year-old Eve Black's parents and seven-year-old sister, the murders stopped. Now, 18 years later, Eve has published a memoir, in which she writes: "I was the girl who survived the Nothing Man. Now I am the woman who is going to catch him." Jim\n, a security guard in his 50s, spots Eve's book at the shopping mall where he works. After opening a copy ("The Nothing Man. His other name. The one the newspapers had given him. The one no one knew belonged to him"), Jim begins to read. Chapters alternate between passages from Eve's book and Jim's reaction to them. The stakes rise with the publication of a revised, second edition of the memoir, which contains new revelations. Howard uses serial killer tropes in original and surprising ways in this tour de force. \n
Last year’s “Rewind” by Catherine Ryan Howard was a five star read for me ticking all the boxes of a tense thriller, so I was very much looking forward to starting her latest novel “The Nothing Man”. With an intriguing title and a blurb to set the pulse racing before even opening the pages, I couldn’t wait to get started on what sounded like a unique and thrilling read.
“I was the girl who survived the Nothing Man. Now I am the woman who is going to catch him... Two Stories. One Killer. No Mercy”
Set in Cork, Ireland where the author is from, this part fiction, part fictionalised true crime, read like a realistic true crime memoir with chapters interspersed with the killer, whom we know from the start is called Jim and his thoughts and reactions as he reads the book written about himself. Eve Black is the author, the lone survivor of his worst and final attack and she is determined that by writing about ‘The Nothing Man’ (dubbed because the Gardai had ‘nothing’ to identify him) that she will finally uncover who he is and bring him to justice.
A couple of things near the end just had me doubting the integrity of the story a little, hence a dropped star but this cat and mouse thriller entertained me from start to finish with a unique layout and storytelling. I found the whole story easy to follow and understand, especially with everything explained in the true crime parts. In the early pages, I was quite freaked out with the killer creeping up the stairs while his victims slept and felt Catherine did an extra job in drawing me into the dark and atmospheric scenes.
All in all a story I really did enjoy and I’d happily recommend “The Nothing Man” to fiction and non fictions crime readers young and old. I expect it to do really well with readers who are maybe looking for just that something different from the usual run of the mill serial killer thrillers.