The Killer You Know
The absolutely gripping thriller that will keep you guessing
by S. R. Masters
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 2 May 2019 | Archive Date 3 May 2019
Little, Brown Book Group UK, Sphere
I'll murder three strangers. And you'll know it was me . . .
'A blinder of a read' SUN
'A scary, compelling and a completely original page-turner' IRISH INDEPENDENT
'An original and gripping thriller' LAURA MARSHALL
Summer 1997. When Will jokes about becoming a serial killer, his friends just laugh it off. But Adeline can't help but feel there's something darker lurking behind his words.
Winter 2015: Years later, Adeline returns to Blythe for a reunion of the old gang - except Will doesn't show up. Reminiscing about old times, they look up the details of his supposed murder spree. But the mood soon changes when they discover two recent deaths that match.
As the group attempts to track Will down, they realise that he is playing a sinister game that harks back to one they used to play as kids.
Only this time there are lives at stake . . .
Readers are absolutely loving The Killer You Know:
'A compelling, unpredictable thriller that conveys the changing nature of long-lasting friendships beautifully. How well do we know even our closest of friends? Highly recommended' ELISABETH CARPENTER
'I read and loved and HEARTILY recommend for any fans of Stand By Me . . . A thrilling, nostalgic twisty read' CLAIRE ALLAN
'The Killer You Know has a fantastic killer concept... and is gripping and creepy to boot - loved it' SAM CARRINGTON
'A twisty, clever exploration of claustrophobic childhood friendships and the darkness they can lead to' DERVLA MCTIERNAN
'An exciting and original premise with a plot that doesn't let up. I loved it!" VICTORIA SELMAN
THE KILLER YOU KNOW is one of my favourite reads of the year. I LOVED it. Pacey, nostalgic, excellent very well-developed characters, and a clever plot' NIKI MACKAY
'A gripping, compelling read with a brilliant premise and a wonderfully twisting storyline. An incredible debut' TM LOGAN
'A thrilling read and an exceptional debut novel' RACHEL EDWARDS
'Compelling, creepy, and brilliantly executed, The Killer You Know is an original new voice in the thriller world' PHOEBE MORGAN
'Brilliantly atmospheric tale of toxic friendship, with a killer hook - what if one of your gang turned out to be a serial killer? Loved it' LIZ BARNSLEY
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 38 members
Ooh creepy. Who did it? Who murdered who? Were the suicides of the two women really murders? Just because someone says they're going to kill people and then they follow through with some of the actions; does it mean that they have followed through with the murders too? Is it a set up - and if so by whom? All these questions came to mind while I was reading this book; and, I have to admit, that not all of them were answered to my total satisfaction. I can say that I'm 99% - well 90% perhaps - certain that they got the right person, but... I enjoyed this book, the people are real - as 16 year olds they were all as gauche as we all were - as grown ups, so grown up and dumb as we all are. Can we not see people for 16 years and still find points of contact? Well worth a read.
I felt compelled to keep reading as soon as I read the first few pages. You knew then that Will would change the lives of those around him at some point with his macabre and haunting words.
The Killer You Know is an excellent, twisty suspense novel. It deals with five friends across two main time periods, and flicks frequently between the five different points of view in the past and a single point of view in the present. This is a really good way of handling multiple characters, without everything getting too complex, as all of the present day events are seen from a single perspective. It also keeps the reader guessing about what the other four characters are really up to in the present day plotline. As teenagers, we see the five hang out as teens over two summer holidays, falling into relationships and making up silly games to keep themselves entertained. There's plenty of conflict between them too, particularly when you throw in the possibly creepy neighbour one of them befriends. Their final summer ends with one of them deciding that when he grows up he'll be a serial killer, complete with all of the details of the murders he'll commit. In the present day, four of the five meet up for a reunion, and begin to find clues that their missing friend may have actually followed up on his serial killing plans. They're never fully convinced whether they are being a bit silly, imagining things or whether they've stumbled onto a genuine threat. This novel plays with different time periods really well. We get hints and foreshadowing of events in the past, which are slowly explored through the eyes of the five characters, each with a distinct voice and mannerisms. The present day mystery is enthralling enough, and kept me guessing for much of the book, and I really enjoyed the way the two narrative threads intertwined and built to a conclusion. There are a few threads that are never resolved, but that doesn't detract from the main thrust of the story. The main character is very likeable, even though she makes some quite frustrating choices at times. Some of the others are rather irrititating at times though, and it was hard to really care much for a couple of them, which diminished the growing feeling of jeopardy a bit towards the end.
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.
Entertain, and very psychological with some nice unusual plot lines that felt real and I didn’t know where they would end up. Definitely one to really sink your teeth into.
This debut thriller did not disappoint. The premise alone was exciting; what if someone you knew was a serial killer? Would you see clues in your shared history warning it could happen? Would you be able to stop them? And if a friend says they plan to become one do you take them seriously or treat is as the joke you assume, and hope, it is? The characters in this book were easy for me to relate to, having also been a teenager in the 90s when the flashback scenes are set. They’re just normal kids living normal lives and trying to make the most of the fun they can have before life forces them to go their separate ways. I liked how the book was narrated in present day by Adeline but how the flashbacks were narrated by all the gang at different times offering you a glimpse of their perspectives and building a fuller picture of each person and those final summers. The book talks a lot about nostalgia and memories of “the best time in our lives”. But it also reminds us that events, and people, can be tinted through rose coloured or jet black lenses which prevent us from seeing clearly. A darkness can reside well hidden in a friend or a kindness misunderstood leading us to misjudge someone we thought we knew. A great read for any fans of mystery or thriller stories.
A gripping page-turner that I enjoyed from page one until the thrilling conclusion. Full of gripping suspense wrapped around an interesting plot. Fast-paced, the author forces the characters to deal with issues that are plausible. Strong character development and witty word-craft. Looking forward to the next book
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.
'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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher. Not sure if I can give any higher stars to this absolutely brilliant, fantastic book absolutely loved it.
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.