Review: “Kill Cycle,” Ike Hamill

Pros: Fascinating concept
Cons: Couldn’t stand Ash’s wife Laura
Rating: 4 out of 5

In Ike Hamill’s Kill Cycle, the town of Harrison is slowly dying. Ash has come back to live there after marrying Laura and having two children, Eppie and Dunny. Some years ago there was a series of killings, and it’s just been proven that the man imprisoned for those murders is innocent. Ash, a journalist, decides to do a piece on how the killings have affected the small town, but ends up investigating the old case. He meets up with a childhood friend named Charlie who seems a little… off. Naturally there’s a new spate of murders, and Ash ends up obsessing over trying to figure out who the killer is.

 

Charlie is meant to be a suspect from the beginning; even Ash seems to understand that. The first third of the book builds up various characters and their relationships; the thriller part of the book largely holds off until after that. I couldn’t stand Laura, Ash’s wife. She’s mean and manipulative, and I wanted her to turn out to be a bad guy. At one point she wakes her husband up from a sound sleep to insist that he tell her about his investigation just because she can’t sleep and she’s bored. She sets passive-aggressive ‘traps’ all over the place that Ash has to carefully manipulate his own way through. I cannot fathom why he has not divorced her yet. Maybe they enjoy their weird manipulation game too much. There are times when Laura makes Ash guess what she means for no reason (that I could find) other than to be an ass.

Ash does some pretty questionable things once he gets obsessed. He got a data entry job at the police station so that he could run his own searches through their system, looking for more information for his case. He’s lucky he didn’t end up in jail over that one. Ash soon goes off the deep end himself, gps-tracking Charlie’s car among other things.

The concept is really neat–how do you know who the killers are around you? What if there’s more of them than you imagined? There are some crazy conspiracies going on in this book, and it definitely hooked me in. I did start losing track of some of the interrelationships between characters, but they were fascinating characters.

The pace picks up considerably toward the end On the whole I quite enjoyed this book.

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