She was lying on her front, fully clothed, her head turned sideways towards me, pale blue eyes staring blankly into space.

I’d never seen a corpse before, but straight away I knew the woman in front of me was dead.

But the thing was, it wasn’t Kate.”


Simon Kernick’s latest novel, Kill a Stranger, starts with a bang and not a whimper. In fact there’s not a whimper to be heard.

At the heart of the book lie the questions: what would you do to save your loved ones? How far would you go to get them back? Would you commit murder? That’s what protagonist Matt is asked to do when he returns home to find a strange woman in his bed, one who’s thankfully not his pregnant fiancée, Kate.

The woman is dead and Kate has vanished. Then the demands start. It’s quite simple: to get Kate back, Matt must do what he is told. The trouble is each instruction challenges his moral compass and makes him question who he is and just what he will do to save the woman he loves; a woman, it seems, he knows comparatively little about.

With a cast of duplicitous characters, acting with questionable intent, Kill a Stranger is full of twists and turns. And while the central premise might not be new, Kernick does it well. It’s tense, well-penned and full of moral dilemmas and what ifs. A good read.


Kill a Stranger | Simon Kernick | Headline | hardback | £14.99 | 26 November 2020

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Acknowledgements: Quoted book text © Simon Kernick 2020. This review is published as part of the publisher book tour. Many thanks to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers and to the publisher for sending us a review copy. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other reviews on this tour.

See also: Roxanne Bouchard’s excellent The Coral Bride’; ‘Michael Connelly’s epic hero, Mickey Haller‘;‘Chris Whitaker’s small-town America’; ‘Lynda La Plante’s nod to the old and new’; ‘Damian Barr’s slice of South Africa’; ‘Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary: an Old Familiar’; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

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