Friday, July 15, 2011

A Review of "Killer Move" [44]

Killer Move by Michael Marshall
William Morrow, ISBN 978-0061434426
June 28, 2011, 368 pages

As the book  open, John Hunter is being release from prison after 16 years, for a murder he did not commit.The murder of the woman he loved. And he has a plan. Those responsible are going to pay.
"He is going to get hold of a gun.
And then he's going to start using it."
Meanwhile, on the west coast of Florida, we meet Bill Moore. Bill is a pretty successful guy, with a good job as a realtor, a very nice house, a luxury car and a wife with whom he is deeply in love. But it is not quite enough for Bill, because he has a Plan, a five year plan that is now in it's sixth year. So Bill decides that perhaps he needs to step it up a bit. But it seems as if someone may have something else in mind for Bill. First, he gets a book, a rather pornographic 'art' book delivered from Amazon that he swears to his wife he never ordered. He thinks it is just a mistake. Then, even more upsetting, a racist joke is sent from his e-mail account to friends and business acquaintances. Again, at first, he doesn't take it seriously, thinking it is some sort of joke, some sort of misunderstanding. Like the card that turns up on his desk at work with just one word printed on it..."MODIFIED".

Things quickly turn even nastier. He agrees to meet a potential client at his house in the evening to discuss the possible sale of the wealthy man's home. When the man does not turn up, Bill is sent of a wild goose chase to a bar some distance away by the man's assistant, but again the man does not show up. Bill goes home to find the next day that somehow some nude photos of a female co-worker were loaded on his computer, dated and timed when he told his wife he was waiting for that Mystery Client. It is even more unsettling when he see the name of the file the pictures are in..."MODIFIED".

He has a techie guy that works for his company try to figure out, unsuccessfully, how someone is doing this.  It seems someone, for some unknown reason, somehow has gained access to his passwords, his computer, all sorts of aspects of his life, his very identity.
"In the old days identify meant your face,or your signature at the very least. Now it is a collection of passwords, each chosen with less thought than you'd use to name a pet. Know my passwords, be me-functionally, at least-and we are what we do or appear to have done."
Bill has no idea who is behind it, what he can do to stop it, who he can even trust.
When the Mystery Client turns up missing and appears to be the victim of foul play, Bill becomes the police's number one suspect and things are turning very, very bad indeed, quickly spinning out of control.

Mr. Marshall is the author of several other books, none of which I have read, but I must say, I loved this one.
For a significant part of the book, the reader is as confused as Bill Moore as to what is going on. There is the whole other story of John Hunter, the released convict, and the question of what this has to do with Bill's dilemma. But don't worry, they are related, and in good time it will all become clear. Well, maybe not totally clear but clear enough to keep the reader flipping those pages as the story tears along, veering this way and that, keeping us on edge, holding on, as the bodies starting to pile up, all leading to a totally surprising twist at the end. If you like your stories all black and white, everything all spelled out simply, this might not be to your taste. The reader has to pay attention, figure some things out. Good guys may be bad and some bad guys may be good, everything is certainly not what it seems and it will not all be neatly tied up with a bow at the end.
But it is very good indeed..

Bill starts out as not the most likable character. His relationship with his wife is his one saving grace but otherwise he is rather naive, very ambitious and really, a bit of an ass. But by the end of the story..a rather open ended ending...he is indeed a changed man. I think he becomes someone the reader will like, if only because we will identify with him and what happens to him. How easy would it be for our entire life, our very identity, to be turned on it's head in an instant. Way to easy it seems.
I am sure many readers will we changing all their passwords on their computers by the time they reach the last page.
"We're all pebbles on a beach. One lying here, one over there, another handful down by the tide line. They're all brought there by the same ocean, though,quietly moving us to and fro when everyone's asleep. Whichever way you're looking, there's a lot more going on behind your back than there is in front, where you can see. Count on that."
If you enjoy a good thriller, with a healthy dose of conspiracy thrown in to get you thinking, Killer Move is a book I would certainly recommend!

My thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book to review.


  1. Of the mystery thrillers I've read, the ones that involve computer crimes are particularly terrifying. You can easily ruin a person if you get into their computers and passwords. I just read a book by Daniel Palmer that involved things like that, and it really makes you take a second look at how vulnerable we all are.

  2. That sounds like it's got a creepy undertone. I do enjoy a good thriller and don't read enough of them.

  3. ..and I read way too many! lol

  4. So glad to read your review - I've been debating about this one, and I love letting a trusted reviewer make the decision for me! :--)


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