The Killer You Know

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 May 2019

Member Reviews

“The Killer You Know” is a fantastic, dark and disturbing début psychological thriller written by author S R Masters. It features five friends that lived in Blythe while they were in their teens and spent the summers of 1997 and 1998 together. Each one has their own problems and issues to deal with.
 
They all move on and don’t see other again until, in 2015, a nostalgic reunion is organised, so they meet up with each other and reminisce about good times past. Adeline, a successful film pod-caster along with Xan and Jon returns and stays at a hotel because she has a strained relationship with her mother. Adeline is the main narrator, however, Steve, recently divorced Dr Rupesh, teacher, Jen, and Will, the odd guy, all offer their own perspectives in both the past and the present. 

When Will doesn’t show up at the reunion, the friends remember his preference for disappearing and the games they used to play about becoming an undetected serial killer and disguising murders as suicides.

The rest of the friends try to locate Will, however, two deaths that were deemed suicides have the four of them deeply concerned that Will may have carried out his grisly plan. Gradually, details of their pasts begin to emerge…

This was such a compelling read for me! It was so well plotted and a brilliant and fast-paced psychological thriller. Not only a thriller, but it was also a coming-of-age novel with all the angst, issues and dynamics that are part of being a teenager. The intense emotions, the desperate need to fit in or at least be tolerated or accepted, the jealousies and feelings of betrayal. 

For me, S R Masters’ characterisation was incredibly skilful, although none of the characters appealed to me, nor were they particularly reliable as narrators. This however complemented the story. Far from being an average psychological thriller, I found myself totally fascinated by this book. I think it was Will's interest in serial killers that made it special. 

I will be looking out for more by S R Masters in the future.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from Little, Brown Book Group UK via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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Some of us are lucky enough to form lifelong friendships when we are younger but more often or not friendships drift apart once we leave school and our lives go in different directions.

Adeline hasn't seen Will,Steve,Jen and Rupesh for fifteen years so she is equally surprised,shocked and intrigued when she receives an email inviting her to a reunion of her old gang. Adeline returns to the small,isolated village of Blythe where she lived during her late teenage years for the reunion - except Will doesn't show up.

As the group catch up and reminisce they suddenly remember a comment that Will made one night when they were younger. A comment that at the time they had all thought was strange but very funny.

`You need to kill at least three people to be a serial killer, right? So that's what I'll do`

Out of curiosity they search online for crimes that match the murders that Will described and are shocked to discover two murders that exactly match. Could their old friend really be a killer? Was he really being serious all those years ago?

Things take a serious turn after the gang start searching for Will, they start receiving mysterious letters,then someone close to them is seriously hurt. Someone is playing a sinister game and if the game don't play along....one of them could be next.

The Killer You Know is divided into four parts and flips back and forth between the gangs teenage escapades in 1997 - 1998 and their search for Will in 2016. The chapters are quite long and are voiced in the present day by Adaline in the first person perspective and in the past by all the members of the gang in the third person perspective. The five main characters were realistic and each one of them irritated me at one time or another as the stories in each time frame unfolded. I couldn't say that anyone of them was very likeable but I can definitely say that there was one of them that I definitely didn't like,not even one tiny little bit. I loved the vivid descriptions of the places around Blythe where the gang used to hang out. The fields of maize,the bridge and the train tracks all sounded like places I would have enjoyed exploring when I was a teenager. Places that were fun to explore during the day but had a creepy,sinister atmosphere once it got dark.

This is a very well written part mystery/part coming of age tale of young love,jealousy,friendship,manipulation,deception and people and things not always being what they appear. There is quite a few twists and turns and the story defiantly keeps the reader guessing throughout. Actually, even now I'm not 100% sure who the killer was. I really enjoyed this enthralling debut story and will definitely be reading more books written by this author in the future.
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# The Killer You Know # Netgalley 
Interesting that someone wants to become a serial killer, yet his friends don’t take him seriously. Years later they hear about 2 murders that fit in with how he wanted to kill someone many years ago, now they start to look closer. Not really gripping for me. In places fell a bit flat. So overall. Not that good a book-not for me shame really it could have been executed better, and been a brilliant book alas but you have to make your own minds up
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This is SR Masters dark and disturbing debut psychological thriller featuring five friends living in Blyth as teenagers, all with various problematic issues, who spent their summers in 1997 and 1998 together. They all disband to never see other until years later in 2015 when a nostalgic reunion is organised so they can catch up with each other and reminisce about the good old days. Adeline, who puts out a successful film podcast with Xan and Jon returns, staying at a hotel because she and her mother have a poor relationship. Adeline is the primary narrator, although Steve, Rupesh, recently divorced and a doctor, Jen, a failed actress now a teacher, and Will, the odd one out, the group weirdo, give their own perspectives in the past and the present. When Will fails to turn up to the reunion, the friends remember his detailed plans for the future and how he would disappear, becoming an undetected serial killer, disguising murders as suicides, but how they would be tell it is him because of the signs he would leave behind. A crass attempt at a joke to freak them out, right?

Except that with the 4 remaining friends at a loose end, they decide to see if they can locate him as 2 possible deaths, deemed suicides, have the group rattled, has Will put his macabre plan in action? Is one or more of them in danger? Gradually details of their past emerge, how Steve and Adeline felt an immediate attraction to each other on their first meeting, Jen and Rupesh's close relationship, Will's increasing status as the strange loner. However, nothing is as it seems, not in the past and not in the present. There is Steve's need to be the leader, organise adventures and games to keep them occupied, irked by Rupesh's challenge to his authority. Adeline's neighbour, Mr Strachan, his mistreatment of his dog triggers hatred and fear within the group. As each member of the group plans their dedication to ratify their commitment to each other, petty rivalries, intense personal dramas and emotional entanglements, typical of teenagers, shape the group. By the end of the story, as the pieces begin to connect, the toxic nature of the group becomes clear, nostalgia can be a disease, memories unreliable, and is Will really the killer of the group?

Masters certainly makes an impact with this well plotted and compelling fast paced psychological thriller. In part it is a coming of age novel, with all the themes and dynamics that factor into teenage life, the desire to fit in, jealousies, intense emotions, the varied machinations behind the scenes, drugs, feelings of betrayal and more. I don't think any of the characters are particularly likeable and none are reliable narrators. However, the characterisation is done with skill, you cannot help being pulled into the story, wanting to know how it all ends. For those that read plenty of psychological thrillers, there is much that is familiar about the format of the novel, it is Will's future plans to be a serial killer that differentiates this. One of the highlights of the book are the 1990s references to music, movies and culture. Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.
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Chilling creepy dark a true page turner that pulled me in from the first pages.So many twists turns shocks a terrific dark read ,#netgalley #littlebrownuk
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This fabulous read comes with an amazing twist.

Adeline has moved back to the village of Blythe, which is not far from where I live so I was quite excited.

Told with a series of memories in the form of flashbacks we learn about Adeline and her band of friends. One has a 'dream' of becoming a killer and the friends have a task to find him when he disappears.

I loved this read and it was quite exciting to read.
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This is a cracking debut. From its startling prologue right through to its final page it had me completely enthralled. 

Switching between 2015 and the late nineties, we are introduced to a gang of five friends - Will, Adeline, Steve, Jen & Rupesh. Each is given their own distinctive narrative voice while the time shifts provide a fascinating insight into quite how much life can enhance or impair who you are and more importantly what you will become. 

The nineties storyline transported me down my own memory lane - creating a barrage of snapshots of my own teenage years and reminding me of that quintessential era of music, the sound of Nirvana and Oasis the backdrop then to everything that I did.

Both time periods are simmering with an underlying tension which offsets the warm thread of nostalgia as we realise there is much more to this group than we initially thought. 

For me the success of The Killer You Know not only lies in the excellent writing that flows from every page but also from its series of small reveals that hit your nervous system one after the other causing a succession of gasps and lifting the hairs on the back of your neck. Highly recommended.
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It’s Christmas 2015 and Adeline is leaving London to return to the small village of Blythe for a reunion with Jen, Steve, Rupesh and Will, who she hung out with as a teenager.

When Will doesn’t turn up for the reunion, however, the group of friends’ trip down memory lane leads them to reminisce about the time he told them he aspired to be a serial killer. Back in 1998, Will was introverted, a bit of a loner and rather odd; the group laughed it off. Wondering what happened to Will since they all lost touch, the group decide to try and track him down.

Hot on his trail, the happy, nostalgic mood soon changes when the group uncovers two recent deaths that could be linked. It seems Will may not have been joking about becoming a serial killer after all, and it isn’t long before the friends realise Will’s playing a sinister game that harks back to one they used to play as teenages. Only as adults, they’re playing for their lives.

Told through a dual timeline, The Killer You Know is the story of five friends who spent a carefree summer roaming the countryside, watching movies at Steve’s house, and experiencing the highs and lows that are part and parcel of being a teenager – and the ongoing feud with Adeline’s neighbour, Mr. Strachan. Alongside this, there’s also the story of the friends’ search for Will and the is-he-or-isn’t he – as they suspect – a murderer.

Being a teenager myself in the 1990s, I appreciated the musical and movie references – and the sense of nostalgia regarding my own teenage-dom that they evoked. And from the start, I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the possiblity of Will being a killer; I’d be lying if I said I didn’t read both timelines with one eye looking for clues. Thankfully the author kept me guessing until the end!

With a cast of well-rounded characters, each with their own backstory; an adversary in Mr. Strachan and a is-he-or-isn’t-he mystery to keep readers invested, The Killer You Know is a stellar debut from S. R. Masters that I have no hesitation in recommending.
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I was intrigued and compelled from the very first pages, with Will's chilling words. Fast forward to the present day, and the gang's fears that he has acted on it and it sets the scene for some worrying times for them. I enjoyed the narrative flipping between past and present, with the past throwing up lots of hints and foreshadowing of what may be to come. A really good read that kept me gripped throughout.
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This was quite an intriguing book to read. It's about a group of friends who have a reunion 15 years later to see what they have done with their lives after one of said after killing 3 people, you are a serial killer, I might do that!

The book was well planned and thought out. Some thorough research was done for this book and it showed in the writing which was very descriptive and informative. 

The book was written in the form of a chapter from the present, then a chapter from the past by one of the friends, then the present, then the past. I don't normally like books like this but this book did tell you if it was past or present etc.

I enjoyed the book, it made for interesting reading. Was one of them a serial killer or not?
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The Killer You Know is a strong psychological mystery. It is gripping from beginning to end. The characters are well-developed and relatable. The 90s chapters are filled with nostalgia. And the twists and unpredictable. What more could you ask for from a mystery?
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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.  Not sure if I can give any higher stars to this absolutely brilliant, fantastic book absolutely loved it.
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I often pause to give myself time for reflection before leaving a review but I feel compelled to complete this one immediately after finishing it. I was intrigued by the premise of this book, the idea that someone you knew was a serial killer. The book switches between the past and the present driving the narrative forward, the present day narrated in the first person through Adeline and the sections in the past by an unknown, presumably the author. The only thing that I didn't like in the book was the 'voice' adopted for one of the teenage characters which was unnecessarily childish in the use of language. That aside the book captures the feelings of life as a teenager, the desire to want to fit in and plays nicely on the yearnings for that so called halcyon past. I liked the idea here that nostalgia is a disease alongside all the other conditions that include the -algia ending. The author carries the reader along in the story very easily leaving small cliffhangers along the way before reaching a peak in the closing sections. The chilling ending really does leave you thinking.
I have no hesitation in recommending this book for its interesting characters, interesting plot and for its easy to read style. This is an author I will look out for in the future after what is a marvellous debut.
#TheKillerYouKnow #NetGalley
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3.5 Stars
I did enjoy this book but it didn’t have the ‘Wow’ factor for me. 
The story centres around a group of friends and the chapters alternate between their childhood summer in the 90s and 2015. 
The story starts when the group arrange a reunion but one of them doesn’t turn up. 
They start to wonder about Will and remember that he said he was going to disappear at some point for a year and murder three people. 
Google searches reveal some suspicious deaths and the group suspect Will was serious about murdering people. 
Soon letters are being received by the group and events take a turn for the worse when someone close to them is hurt. 
The final few chapters flew by and the book comes to a dramatic conclusion. 
Thanks to Sphere and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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'The Killer You Know' is a highly accomplished debut that reminds me a lot of 'The Chalk Man' by C. J. Tudor as both feature a dual timeline and follow a group of young friends as they grow up and move on with their lives. 'The Chalk Man' is one of my best reads of the year, and I found this to be just as compelling. 

It's December, 2015, and Adeline has moved back to the village of Blythe, where she spent her formative years, to reunite with her childhood cronies for a Christmas Eve get together. Through a series of flashbacks she remembers the time when she and the group of five friends spent the summer holidays of 1998 together roaming the countryside, trying to avoid their parents as much as possible. and during the final days they each discuss what they intend to do with their lives once they've completed their education. There's Jen who became a teacher but aspired to be an actress. Rupesh, a doctor and divorcee and Steve, who was once in a romantic relationship with Adeline. The fifth and final acquaintance she shared her summers with was Will, a loner and an introvert who was more than a little bit odd. When Will doesn't show up at the reunion the others recall exactly what he said to them back in 1998. His aspirations had been macabre to say the least - he wanted to become a serial killer, which at the time was taken with a pinch of salt by the circle of friends. As they have nothing better to do on a cold December evening, they decide to try and track him down. but Will is playing a brutal game of cat and mouse. Will the five friends be able to locate him before he strikes again or will they die trying?

This is part thriller, part coming-of-age novel, and I happened to love every single second of it! Although at just about every step it reminded me of 'The Chalk Man', it is still a thoroughly original and unique concept, with a style of writing that pulls you deeper into the story and some excellent twists in there for good measure. If you're a thriller reader who is sick of seeing the same done-to-death concepts, then I suggest you try this. As a seasoned reader of the genre, I rarely happen upon truly awe-inspiring thrills and spills, but this book excited me a lot! You could do a lot worse than picking up a copy of this for your bookshelf, and I expect most crime buffs will be as blown away as I was whilst enjoying this. If Masters' can produce such a wonderful debut I literally cannot wait to read more of his work. Superb!

Many thanks to Sphere for an ARC. I was not required to post a review, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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I’m sure this book will have its fans, but I can’t really say I will be one.
In this book we see the interactions of a group of friends from their teenage years up to adulthood when - years after seeing each other - they meet for a reunion. Our main focus is Adeline, something of an outsider, whose narration is coloured by her memories and prejudices.
The basic plot revolves around the group recalling one of their party talking about becoming famous by becoming a serial killer. They remember the details oddball Will gave about what he’d do, so when Will fails to turn up to the reunion they start to talk. Strange coincidences found...or are they signs of something more sinister?
Throughout the book we cut to details from their teenage years, which sheds some light on their dynamics and what might be happening.
Ultimately the characters felt like stock ones-the charismatic leader, the oddball, the outsider, the wannabe actress, the token Asian and the various adult characters that surround them. I never felt we learned enough about some of the characters to find their actions credible, and there really seems to be little point to the actual events of the book other than to either suggest one of the party really is psychologically terrifying, and the others are so bound by childhood memories that they can’t see what’s in front of them.
Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this. No doubt loads of people will rave about this and it’ll become a cracking film, and it’ll have people wondering if I read the same book!
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This is a very exciting debut novel – without doubt, S.R. Masters is an author to watch for in the future.   It has a very contemporary feel and is set partly in 1998 and partly in 2015.  

It is Christmas, 2015, and Adeline is returning to the small village of Blythe, where she moved as a resentful teen.    Adeline does a movie podcast with friends Jon and Xan.  However, her love of films came from those teenage years, when she became friends with Jen, Steve, Rupesh and Will.   Having always had a difficult relationship with her mother, Adeline is keen to escape the house and have a reunion with those friends, who were once so important to her.   There was Jen, now a teacher, who always wanted to be an actress.   Rupesh, now a divorced doctor.   Steve, who she was once romantically linked with.  Then there was Will; always something of an outsider, a little odd.

When Will doesn’t turn up for the Christmas Eve reunion, the others discuss their summer camping trip, sixteen years before.   The question they had posed, was what would they all be doing as adults.   Will had announced that he wanted to be a serial killer.   He would vanish, one year, and kill three people…   Before long, the others are questioning where Will has, in fact, vanished to?  Is he planning to fulfil his bizarre announcement, made so long ago? The group really do not have anything better to do, and various things they want to escape from, so they are suddenly all involved in trying to uncover Will’s whereabouts.

What follows is a fascinating account of that summer, in 1998, when the five friends roamed the countryside, trying to kill time and experiencing the highs and lows of teenage relationships, the group dynamics and a feud with Adeline’s neighbour, Mr Strachan.   There is also the story, told along-side this, of the search for Will and whether he is, as they begin to suspect, a murderer…

This is a clever, original and interesting crime novel, with great characters and a really good story.  Unusually for a novel with a dual time frame, I enjoyed both the current, and past, storylines.   I highly recommend this and will look out for future books from Mr Masters.  I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
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Many thanks to S.R. Masters, Little Brown Book Group and NetGalley for allowing me an ARC in return for an honest review.
   The story is set both in 1998 and in 2015.   A group of five friends spend the summer of 1998 together before going their separate ways and moving onto sixth form college.  It focuses upon the groups friendship and sees them growing emotionally and moving towards adulthood.  We are able to see the friends over the course of the summer,  Almost a coming of age drama.  During the final days  of that summer, the group discuss what they want to do when they have finished their education,  Four of them discuss normal ambitions, but Will, one of the group, states that he wishes to become a serial killer an outlines how he will kill his three victims.  The group, assuming it is a joke, laugh and move on.
  2015, the group meet in Blythe for a reunion.  All the group attend, apart from Will.  Joking that he is in hiding after fulfilling his ambition of being a killer. they google deaths with similar methods to those Will discussed, and think two deaths fit the criteria.  Following the group that winter, we see them suspecting Will as being responsible for the deaths, and they set out to track him down and find his guilt, or prove his innocence,  Superbly written this book is full of mystery and suspense.  Linking past to future, we see the group dynamics change over that time.  The story builds suspense and there are major twists and turns.  A great read.  A real insight into friendships and a tense mystery.
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This was an interesting premise. One I enjoyed reading about, and hadn't really seen exactly like this before.

The bond between the group of friends was lovely to see, and although one of them had a startling, creepy revelation, we carried on with the dynamics and eventually all was revealed. 

I was guessing right the way through and looked out for all those bits and pieces that I was hoping could let me in on what was going to happen. I didn't guess who/if/why the killer was, if there was one?! 

Lot's of references to past times. The 90's references were great. I enjoyed those - the 90's rocked! 

It felt a bit Stephen King-y, with the small community in the summertime - perhaps a bit IT and a bit Stand by Me. 

I enjoyed it - however the flashbacks got a little repetitive. In that respect it was a bit like The Girl Before - where we saw different people's perspectives on the same event... Not a fan of this particular style.

The pace of the book was good. I would recommend to others, but I wouldn't read it again. :)
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Five bored teenagers, the summer holidays stretching out in front of them, devise a game to play to keep them occupied which years later will affect them all in the most shocking way.  As the story progresses, the characters unfold with a gripping storyline placed 16 years later when they decide to reunite. Unbeknown to them the game is afoot once more, and as they unravel the evidence it leads them to only one conclusion.  Or does it?
I enjoyed this book, I really didn’t want to put it down, gripping stuff.
Netgally copy.
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