By Michael Marshall
Orion, out now
Bill Moore is a man who’s got his eye on the prize, he knows where he’s going – but other people have different ideas about how he should modify his life…
If you’ve come to Michael Marshall’s work through the TV series Intruders, you’ll find yourself to an extent in recognisable territory. Killer Move deals with many of his familiar themes – Do we really know the people around us? Is that someone we glimpse from the corner of our eye really there? Is there more of a pattern to the random events that we go through day to day than we will normally concede? – wrapped up in a tense and sometimes uncomfortable thriller. There’s at least one scene involving a serial killer that is gruesome for what it promises, even if we don’t actually see the person at work.
The story centres around three main characters – Moore, who narrates the majority of the book first person (with some annoying use of third person about himself), starts off as a brash realtor but finds himself increasingly out of his depth as his life falls apart; John Hunter, a convicted murderer who is on the search for revenge; and David Warner, a gentleman with an interesting past. Their lives intersect in unusual ways – allowing Marshall at one point to put the reader way ahead of Moore when he finds himself in a location that we’ve already seen put to good use – as even manipulators learn that they can be manipulated.
There’s a cynicism about human nature in much of the book, but that’s offset with some wonderfully lyrical scenes (one, amazingly, involves a McDonalds!), while late in the book, there’s a lovely moment that ties Killer Move into some of Marshall’s earlier work and adds a whole new level for those of us who’ve read that (although the connotations are clear for those who haven’t).
Verdict: A powerful novel of manipulation and revenge with some truly horrific moments. 8/10