Review: The Killing Kind by Chris Holm

Killing Kind UK CoverChris Holm writes like a supercharged David Baldacci; pared down and raw, with an emphasis on pace. The Killing Kind has all the nuance of a fist punching through drywall. It is a rollicking, white-knuckle thrill-ride starring hitman-with-a-conscious Michael Hendricks, whose one-man crusade against The Council – a conglomeration of major crime families – makes him their number one target.

While Hendricks’s backstory strays into formulaic territory – ex-black-ops, supposedly KIA, his only friend an uber-talented computer whiz – Holm wisely keeps the spotlight off his protagonist’s origin. The novel flits between various perspectives, headlined by Hendricks, his hit-man antagonist, and the two FBI agents trailing them both. Holm cuts between these viewpoints with ease, painting his characters in broad strokes, adding occasional dollops of personality to his chess pieces, but more focused on manoeuvring them into position for their next skirmish.

The Killing Kind epitomises the modern day page-turner; completely void of extraneous detail, it features a high body count and several impressive action set-pieces, the undoubted highlight of which is set in a casino ballroom, where three hit-men, alongside a bunch of FBI agents, converge in thrilling, bloody fashion. This encounter sets the bar high, and it’s a shame the novel’s finale can’t quite reach that apex. Nonetheless, it’s a satisfying full-stop, if not more like an an ellipsis – Hendricks has a vast amount of sequel-potential.

The Killing Kind is a cinematic blockbuster; imagine the crackling energy of Matthew Reilly combined with the bravado of Duane Swierczynski, but with Holm’s own unique spin. Action thrillers don’t come much better than this.

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