Kill Me Goodbye

By A K Reynolds

Kill Me Goodbye, a novel by A K Reynolds
Book details

There is an internet meme of Will Ferrel playing a dishevelled looking Anchorman and stating, “well that escalated quickly.” I have read many crime thrillers in my time, and they often pick up pace and rattle along, but none have taken this meme to heart as much as A K Reynolds’ Kill Me Goodbye, in which a strait-laced barrister turns from professional into killer within pages. There is nothing wrong with a stonking read, but can Reynolds steer the story when it is moving so quickly? 

Jo is a criminal defence lawyer who is used to defending some of the less desirable people in Manchester, not being their victim. When she parks in a deserted alley to save on parking fees, she only realises her mistake when three youths mug her. However, this is no normal mugging. They are after something that Jo does not have and plan to kill her. Jo must decide to flirt with the other side of the law if she wants to survive the conflict. On the run she finds her life turned inside out and not what she thought it was. 

Within the first few pages we meet Jo and are given a brief insight into her personality. She seems a little condescending and aloof, but overall, a decent person. Moments later we find out she will do anything to survive. The first act is forgivable, but to reverse a car to make sure? Suddenly Jo is not who the reader thinks she is. The issue is that you never really get a handle on her, is she an innocent of someone prone to violence? We are meant to think her innocent, but she is quick to be all stabby and shooty. 

Reynolds has written a heightened thriller that does not have a huge grounding. This is not an issue, as the book is fiction and meant to be fun. As the bodies pile up and Jo’s situation worsens you cannot help being entertained. She gets caught in some crazy situations and goes to extremes to escape.  

The pacing of the book seems a little too fast in places as Jo is pushed from pillar to post faster than a reader can learn to appreciate any of the characters. Some of the plotlines are signposted for fans of the genre, but it is still fun to read them. With an additional trustworthy character to play off, the story would have felt a little more balanced. As it is, meeting Jo starts to feel like an episode of Murder She Wrote as you are going to end up dead. Jo also does not help herself. The way that she dismisses the people of some areas of Manchester comes across as snobbish and you are less likely to sympathise with her. This is a valid characteristic for a complex barrister character, but this is not a complex book. 

Words like flabbergasted and jaw dropping came into my mind when reading Kill Me Goodbye as so much madness happens. I found myself telling my partner about the goings on and that cannot be a bad thing. This is a modern pulp novel and should be read as such. There may be violence and death, but it is fun escapism. It reminded me of the work of Matthew Reilly, but in the crime fiction genre. If you want a quick and, in places, outrageous read, then this is a fun title.  

Written on 10th January 2022 by .

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