Monday, May 07, 2018

Review: Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

Title: Our Kind of Cruelty
Author: Araminta Hall
Published: May 2018, MCD/Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Format: ARC Paperback, 288 pages
Source: Publisher

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…

A spellbinding, darkly twisted novel about desire and obsession, and the complicated lines between truth and perception, Our Kind of Cruelty introduces Araminta Hall, a chilling new voice in psychological suspense.

My thoughts: OMG...what did I just read!?! You all know I love my psychological thrillers - I thrive on reading them, and while this one is definitely a thriller, it's more psychological than anything else. If you liked You by Caroline Kepnes or Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda, than you will certainly enjoy this one - it's a character-driven story from the male point of view, and boy oh boy, do we have one disturbed character taking the lead here!

I think what is most compelling about this book is being inside Mike's head. It's not too often that we get a story like this where not only are we privy to all Mike's thoughts and actions, but with the way at least the first part of the story is told, we get this steady stream of consciousness coming at us. There isn't a whole lot of dialog - and while that might be a bit off-putting, it really does set the scene for what is to come. And believe it or not, we do get a whole lot of information - we find out Mike's backstory and all about Mike and V's relationship. I admit, the whole time I was reading this book, I was wondering if Mike was sane or not, and even after reading, I am still questioning this!

This is a love story...but what kind of love story is what you have to decide. It's definitely about obsession. But how much of what Mike is feeling and thinking is real and how much is fantasy is really anyone's guess and this is where I kept going back and forth. And what about V? What is her part in all this? Is she really as innocent as we are led to believe or has she manipulated Mike in any way? These were the questions running through my mind throughout the book.

This book plays with your mind. It makes you wonder just what is really going on. And then you have the ending...WHAT??? It's not too often that I am left speechless when I get to an ending...I usually sense what is going to come, or at least feel there is a twist. This time, I was stunned. Not that there's a twist or anything. I just felt like it all got turned around. Now I want to go back and reread the entire book!!! But, to me, that's such a good sign. That means, this book was even more intricately plotted than I even realized as I was reading. 

This book is certainly not going to be for's a dark and disturbing read, yet it's also a highly addictive and compelling read at the same time. I found it brilliantly well crafted and cannot wait to read more from this author!

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