Title: The Nothing Man
Author: Catherine Ryan Howard
Publication: Blackstone Publishing, hardcover, 2020
Setting: 21st century IrelandDescription: When Eve Black was 12, a man broke into her house and killed her parents and little sister. Eve survived only because she was in the bathroom. The investigators concluded the attack was the work of a serial killer, nicknamed The Nothing Man by the media, but he is never found. Now an adult, Eve has never recovered from the loss of her family and writes an article about the fateful night, which she is persuaded to expand to a book. Eve is reluctant until her new editor says it might be a way to find the Nothing Man using herself as bait.
My Impression: I must have read a review of this book when it first came out and put it on my TBR but I had forgotten what it was about by the time it turned up. The book is told from two points of view: Jim, a bad-tempered security guard at a grocery store, who sees Eve’s book, The Nothing Man, piled up at work and can’t believe that someone has written a book about his secret self, and Eve, who has never recovered from losing her family. Eve, whose sections are told in the first person, has even lost the grandmother who brought her up after the murders. Now she is coldly determined to find her family’s killer and enlists the help of the detective who worked the case at the time.
I like crime fiction but not true crime nonfiction and, initially, the parts of the book written from Jim’s perspective were too disturbing and Eve too dispassionate for the reader to identify with. However, as I kept reading, I got caught up in the cleverly told story as Jim reads and reacts to each chapter of Eve’s book, while desperately trying to hide his interest from his wife and daughter. When Jim realizes that Eve has found out more about his actions than anyone else has, he is both furious and afraid – and is determined to kill her before she can identify him.Cloak and Dagger Challenge.