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This is a love story. Mike’s love story.
Mike Hayes fought his way out of a brutal childhood and into a quiet, if lonely life, before he met Verity Metcalf. V taught him about love, and in return, Mike has dedicated his life to making her happy. He’s found the perfect home, the perfect job, he’s sculpted himself into the physical ideal V has always wanted. He knows they’ll be blissfully happy together.
It doesn’t matter that she hasn’t been returning his emails or phone calls.It doesn’t matter that she says she’s marrying Angus.
It’s all just part of the secret game they used to play. If Mike watches V closely, he’ll see the signs. If he keeps track of her every move he’ll know just when to come to her rescue…
A spellbinding, darkly twisted novel about desire and obsession, and the complicated lines between truth and perception, Our Kind of Cruelty introduces Araminta Hall, a chilling new voice in psychological suspense.
This review will be short, because it’s difficult to talk about this book without ruining it. And this is a book that you appreciate more the less you know about it.
Mike and V dated for several years in and just after college. Mike eventually took a position in America, which caused them to be separated for a long stretch, during which they ended up breaking up. Now V has moved on, but Mike knows that she hasn’t really. It’s just part of their relationship, and he’s paying close attention, watching for their signs.
I understand why this book has gotten the buzz it has, but I’ve decided that this type of book just isn’t for me. Books like You by Caroline Kepnes are in this same style. I read You, I enjoyed it, but it was creepy enough for me to have so far avoided the Lifetime series based on it. Being in the head of a character like this is uncomfortable for me.
But that’s the point Hall was making, I think. We should be uncomfortable with characters like this. Yes, Penn Badgley and Zac Efron are lovely men, but that doesn’t mean we should confuse their characters, Joe and Ted Bundy, respectively, with the actors. A pretty face can hide a lot, and as a society, we’re much less uncomfortable with this type of thinking than we should be. Araminta Hall shines a light on just how hypocritical we are, and just how much of a double standard there is in our justice system, as if we didn’t know.
I think this book is important to read, and I’m glad that I did, but it made me very uncomfortable, so it’s not something I’d ever be able to re-read. I wasn’t able to just sink into it the way I like doing with books because I was so constantly aware of just how wrong everything around me felt while I was reading it.