Bonnie's Reviews > The Killing Circle

The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper
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Feb 28, 09

bookshelves: canadian-author, fiction, reviewed-books
Read in February, 2009

Feb. 28 update:

I have come to the conclusion (late, in this case), that one should begin a review by making a positive, or at least, a nuetral statement! And I would like to add that I actually rated this 4 1/2 stars. (The following is the intact version of my original review.)


I want to say at the outset, that I wasn’t sure whether or not I liked the ending of this book. At first, I was disappointed. Not with the-who-dun-it part -- which was a bit of a surprise -- but the after-we-find-out part. So I thought about it for a while, and I have come to the conclusion that the ending is not as ambiguous as I first believed; but to say anything more would spoil the story.

Told in two chunks, the book opens in July 2007 introducing the reader to single Dad, Patrick Rush, and his precocious eight-year-old son Sam. In the first nine pages, Andrew Pyper hooks his reader; then he takes the story back 4 ½ years in time.

Grieving for his wife, Rush slowly spirals down in his journalistic career from literary columnist to that of the lowly TV critic. Even at his height, though, he believed: None start out wanting to review books, but to write them. To propose otherwise would be like trying to convince someone that as a child you dreamed of weighing jockeys instead of riding racehorses.

When he comes across an ad for a writers’ workshop, he answers it: I want to write a book. The problem: he is the only one in the circle who doesn’t have a story to tell. But Angela clearly does, although it isn’t clear whether her story is based on reality or fiction.
Meanwhile, a serial killer is on the loose, close to home in Toronto, and the events seem uncannily close to Angela’s story. After the writing circle ends, the killings stop.

Then Angela is suddenly out of the picture, and Rush, who had secretly been recording her readings, goes on to steal Angela’s story. By 2007, he has achieved his dream, to write a best-seller – and obviously, someone isn’t happy about this, because Sam is kidnapped.

Throughout this well-crafted story, Pyper keeps us guessing at who might be real, who might be the killer, whether or not the protagonist is going crazy, and is therefore suspect – even Patrick wonders if it’s all in his grief-stricken mind. And when is a story truly one’s own? By putting the narrator into the line of suspicion, along with all the other members of the writing circle, Pyper adds another dimension of suspense, and brings us full circle to a well-plotted conclusion.

Told in four parts, the Killing Circle is a gripping, complex, literary thriller.



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Shirley Bonnie, I liked the book up to the end. I read the final paragraphs several time. I'd like to discuss this further with anyone willing thru FB email....


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