Killing Me Softly

Killing Me SoftlyKilling Me Softly by Nicci French
Thriller, Adult, Mystery
Publication: January 1st 1999 by Grand Central Publishing

Alice Loudon has a devoted boyfriend and a challenging job as a research scientist. Then one morning, on her way to work, she exchanges a lingering look with a devastatingly attractive man. As a lover, Adam Tallis is more passionate than Alice’s wildest imaginings. Soon, there isn’t anything or anyone she wouldn’t give up to stay by his side.


This was part of my library loot from a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t read too many thrillers, but I do enjoy reading them. The premise for this book sounded very intense and brooding and we really hit these moments at times and then others I felt the book flopped a little. However this does not mean to say I didn’t find this book a page turner because it certainly was. I devoured it happily in a couple of sittings throughout one day. It’s not a long read at around 360 pages so that made it easier to read too.

The story happens to be a little slow to start because we are setting the scene for Alice Loudon’s very boring and plain life with her devoted boyfriend where everything seems “hunky dory” until she sees some illusive stranger on the street. This happens to be Adam Tallis and things kick off from there where events start to spiral very quickly out of control for Alice. It’s possible to find their sudden and strange connection a little far out, but I suppose this is all part of the mystery and tension of the book.

The beginning of their relationship happens to be my favourite part of the book because where she first meets Adam Tallis, we begin a game of cat and mouse. It’s all very intense and exciting and the suspense builds throughout and these are the moments that we really witness a brooding intensity I desired.

I found the energy throughout the first half of the middle of the story was very high and tense. We were always expecting something new and there was a lot of emotional strain being placed on Alice. Alongside that we were desperate to learn about Adam Tallis and this really drew me into the novel and allowed my imagination to thrive.

Nevertheless when we hit the second half of the middle I found my interest lacking slightly because Alice became a whiny, obsessed character over Adam’s past and at times this became tedious. I understood the reasoning for this with all the mystery and suspicion around  Adam’s character, but Alice did grate on my nerves. For the first half of the novel I’d appreciated her and enjoyed following her, but then she began to annoy me. Whilst it’s all part of the plot and interesting, I felt at times French overdid Alice’s obsession and it became silly enough that I wanted to hurl the book across the room and kill Alice myself.

However, I feel like French redeemed herself and Alice by the end of the novel because she certainly gave us lots of twists and turns that got the heart pacing and left us desperate to finish the story. She also fitted the whole mystery nicely together to make an ending that didn’t leave a lot or even any real loose ends hanging around. If you don’t like loose ends, I think this book is a perfect one for you.

Alice by the end was a rather dismal character, but she was on the road to recovery and I certainly appreciated her strengths and lengths in which she strived to. She probably wasn’t the weak character I’d first seen and she was incredibly perceptive and intelligent across the novel, which I appreciated.

In a very strange way, I found myself caught up in Adam’s magic too and whilst it seemed the perfect example of an abusive relationship at times, his behaviour was bizarre and loving. I found that I could never hate Adam at any point and I think this was what made the reading so strange. Adam is a man with many problems, but ultimately I felt he was vulnerable and desperate for love and despite his problems he touched my heart. That might make me a little psychotic, but I couldn’t condemn him in the end because French gave me nothing to condemn him with. He seemed like the ‘perfect’ character at times, but I think this thriller reminds you of a depth to a facade that is incredibly chilling.

Another aspect I loved about this thriller was the realism that we got because it’s something we could very much witness in the real world. At times I believe some thrillers and mysteries can be a little bit far fetched, this slotted easily into a society we witness today. A very scary thought for one to ponder.

On the other hand, I don’t think the mystery was all that mysterious because at times I found it as I’d expect and ultimately a little predictable. I think at times it’s hard to really surprise a reader when there is so much similar literature out there, but that’s not to say it’s impossible and so I found the mystery aspect a tad disappointing.

The writing was pacey and imaginative and I never found myself really lagging to read. Whilst Alice’s character may have become tedious, French always found a way to engage my interest to be sure I kept on reading which I salute her for. I think whilst she didn’t really expand my learning, she left a well-written thriller that will keep you turning pages.

Another thing I did whilst reading this book was compare it to the storyline of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and whilst I haven’t read that book, I found myself thinking that the storyline is almost a mirror in effect. Whilst this may be a thriller we witness an abusive boyfriend, because that what he is, and that maybe people should recognise this about the Fifty series too. Whilst the character may be loving, the style of their relationship is unhealthy and wrong. Just a little thought that rattled around my head whilst reading.

Whilst this story might not be the most amazing thriller or mystery I have ever read, it was a good way to spend an afternoon, curled up in a chair and I’ll be on the lookout for more books by French because I think she has some real talent. Pick it up because I don’t think it’ll disappoint you.

My Rating:

3.5 books

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Filed under 1999 Publication, 3.5 Books, Adult, Grand Central Publishing, Mystery, Nicci French, Paperback, Thriller

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