Author: Luke Jennings
Published by: John Murray Publishers
My Rating ★★★★★
She is the perfect assassin.
A Russian orphan, saved from the death penalty for the brutal revenge she took on her gangster father’s killers.
Ruthlessly trained. Given a new life. New names, new faces – whichever fits.
Her paymasters call themselves the Twelve. But she knows nothing of them. Konstantin is the man who saved her, and the one she answers to.
She is Villanelle. Without conscience. Without guilt. Without weakness.
Eve Polastri is the woman who hunts her. MI5, until one error of judgment costs her everything. Then stopping a ruthless assassin becomes more than her job. It becomes personal.
Killing Eve: Codename Villanelleis the first in a series of books by Luke Jennings. This fast-paced, exciting thriller provides a lot of entertainment throughout and once I got started I simply couldn’t put it down. The pages flow quickly and the electrifying plot makes for a highly addictive read.
The chapters dart between the two main female characters, building an intense story of various murders and the consequences that follow.
Vilanelle is a really fascinating character. She is stylish, glamorous and completely deadly, and while she is certainly evil, it’s hard to truly dislike her. There is something about her charisma, confidence and dangerous capability that becomes strangely captivating. She enjoys being powerful and in control. This is true in all areas of her life.
Eve Polastri is also highly efficient and dynamic in her work, and after the careful murders of several important people, tracking down Vilanelle soon becomes Eve’s primary focus. Despite initially having little to go on, Eve is convinced that this mysterious woman is to blame for the brutal killings. When her colleague, Simon, becomes one of those victims, the investigation becomes much more personal and important to her. She is determined to unravel the true story and to punish the ferocious assassin who has cleverly managed to evade her so far.
Despite the comparisons to Ian Fleming’s Bond stories, I personally feel that Killing Eve more strongly resembles books such as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. In many ways Villanelle could be seen as a more glamorous Lisbeth Salander. After all, they both have dark backstories and are searching for vengeance through violent and ruthless acts.
I loved the locations used in the book, from Vilanelle’s elegant apartment in Paris, to the MI5 offices in Central London and of course Shanghai, where the characters come across some seriously sleazy nightlife and dangerous settings.
As you probably already know, the Killing Evebooks serve as the basis for the current BBC television show. I haven’t yet watched the show myself, but having enjoyed the book so much I know I’ll be watching soon.
This is a solid read that I sped through in just one sitting. Very absorbing and deeply entertaining, I would highly recommend Killing Eveto all readers. In particular, if you enjoy action-packed crime thrillers, you absolutely must check this one out.
I’m greatly looking forward to diving into the sequel, No Tomorrow, very soon!