Thursday 2 May 2013

[Book Review] I Know You Know

It's a little known fact but I do actually enjoy reading thrillers. If someone manages to combine thrillers with a spot of the supernatural then all the better! I've been reading Helen Howell's blog for some time now, and she posts regular serials and flash fiction. In February, her first adult novella, I Know You Know, was published by Crooked Cat Books, and I decided to pick up a copy - a psychic who uncovers a serial killer? What could be better!

I Know You Know tells the story of Janice, a tarot card reader trying to eke out a quiet existence with the aid of her dead grandmother, who passes on her wisdom as a voice in Janice's ear. Janice encounters the rather odious Edgar Kipp, and during the reading the cards tell her that he's a serial killer. Naturally it's a bit of a curve ball for anyone to deal with, and Janice does her best to disguise what she's learned. Kipp realises she knows more than she's letting on, and so begins a cat and mouse game between them.

Told through a mixture of present tense and flashback, Helen weaves a story that genuinely had me wondering how things were going to turn out. Flashbacks help deepen an understanding of Kipp's psychology, while Janice's relationship with the voice of her grandmother helps to explain Janice's abilities. This could have descended into a police procedural but the police involvement is kept to a minimum, apart from a detective who thinks there might be some substance to Janice's story. Janice is quiet and wants to avoid trouble, but she's likeable in an unobtrusive sort of way - she's not an attention seeker at all, she just wants to get on with her life.

Novellas are always a quick read but I found I Know You Know to be a real page turner, and I really didn't anticipate the ending. The story gets going very quickly, and there could have been a danger that the segments told from Kipp's point of view might have somehow rationalised his actions, or tried to engender sympathy for him. Luckily they're handled in such a way that Kipp never becomes sympathetic - he just becomes more and more detestable.

I really enjoyed I Know You Know, and I'd recommend it if anyone's looking for a quick yet thrilling read.

Four blunt pencils out of five!

Bio: Helen is a fiction writer, who writes in several genres which include fantasy, noir, horror and humour. She has written several short stories, flash fictions and poems. Her work has appeared in both e-zines, anthologies and print publications. In July 2012 her debut novella, Jumping At Shadows, a fantasy fiction for 9 years- adults, was published as an e-book. In February 2013 her novella, I Know You Know, a psychic thriller for adults,  was published by Crooked Cat Publishing. She is a member of Friday Flash Dot Org. and is a regular participant in writing Friday Flash.

You can find I Know You Know at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Crooked Cat Books, or Smashwords.


Helen A. Howell said...

Thanks for such a great review Icy. I'm so pleased you enjoyed it. ^_^

Nik Morton said...

I was drawn to the book's premise before I saw this review. I'm drawn even moreso no. Thanks, Icy. (PS - I'm a Geordie living in Spain)

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