Author : Araminta Hall
Title : Our Kind of Cruelty
Pages : 320
Publisher : MCD / Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date : May 8, 2018
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.
Mike’s relationship with Verity has come to an end. She’s in fact getting married to someone else. But Mike knows deep down this is all part of a game they used to play and he needs to come up with something big to rescue her and prove his love to her. Or does he? Is he being manipulated? Or is he one of the most disturbed individuals ever?
The entire story is refreshingly entirely told from Mike’s point of view. Coming from a horrible childhood, it’s hard not to sympathise with him but throughout the storyline, you can’t help but wonder if he’s a reliable narrator or just plain delusional. Obviously, the reader’s opinion of the plot is based on one side of the truth and since we never really get Verity’s version, I suspect the conclusions that are drawn will be incredibly different from one reader to the next. To this end, this is the perfect novel for a book club discussion.
Our Kind of Cruelty is an intensely gripping, dark and chilling story about obsession, love and perception. How often do we misinterpret things? How often do we see signs that aren’t really there? How well do we ever truly know someone? I found myself completely absorbed in Mike’s telling of the tale and while at some points I would have liked to have had Verity’s perspective, I’m pleased the author decided not to offer one.
This isn’t quite like any other psychological thriller I’ve read before and I dare say it will divide opinions. It is perfectly paced, incredibly tense and disturbing and I absolutely loved every single minute of it. I know this is one of those novels that will stay with me for quite a while, as I keep going over things in my head, mulling them over, twisting them this way and that and still be left hanging with a multitude of questions. Personally, I feel those are the best kind of books.
My thanks to the publisher for my review copy!
Our Kind of Cruelty will be published in the US on May 8th.