Book Review: The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper

the killing circle

Title: The Killing Circle

Author: Andrew Pyper

Release Date: January 1st, 2008


“People used to live in every empty house you’ve ever stood in, and this makes them no less empty.”

You can all call me a friggin’ fool. Permission granted.

At a point not too long ago, I only had ‘The Guardians’ and ‘The Killing Circle’ left to read by Andrew and I kept putting them off. Why? Because I was worried about possibly not liking them. I KNOW!

Know having finished them both, I deserve a smack to the head, as those two may very well be the two best books Pyper has written.

‘The Killing Circle’ is one of the most claustrophobic, terrifying and down-right exhaustive books I’ve ever read. As in, you’ll hold your breath the entire time reading it, you’ll flip each page desperately wanting to know what’s going to happen but scared to death about what just may arrive.

‘The Killing Circle’ was an emotional roller-coaster for me, both with the words written on the pages, but also because this represents the final frontier. The last unread book by my favorite author. And while this review is being featured on the second to last day of my PYPER-MAY-NIA, May long celebration of my love for Andrew’s works, if you’ve read his interview that I featured on May 1st, you’ll know that we most likely won’t be seeing anything new from Andrew until probably 2022. I’ll pause so we can all go dab our eyes.

What I liked: Pyper writes like only he can. Every single sentence is lush, glorious and serves a purpose. In ‘The Killing Circle’ we are introduced to Patrick Rush, dad to Sam, widower to Tamara, who is fatigued with his job and decides to try his hand at writing a book. He joins a writing circle, looking for a creative spark, and while there, inadvertently ends up a creek with no paddles.

What Pyper does from here is sheer madness. We get to live and breathe what Rush goes through, what he sees and experiences and as I mentioned in the intro – it’s horrifically stunning. The essence though, for me at least, was the life that Pyper infused into a character that at first you take for granted; the setting. The city. Toronto. Andrew lives where this is set and wow, does he make it a sparkling, gnarly aspect to every single thing that happens, every single minute detail described with minimal details but maximal effect. In all of Andrew’s releases, the setting plays a vital role, to the point where Iconsider him to be the best out there for this. Nothing is pushed aside or skimmed over, Pyper makes sure to gives us the smells, the feels, the experience.

A father and son used to live here.’

The book opens with an absolute bang, and when we circle around to catch up to those moments near the ending, you’ll be so far drawn into the madness that the ending completely caught me off guard. I was reading this in our car, in the garage, as my son at fallen asleep. When ‘the end’ arrived, I was bawling. The floodgates had opened and I had to turn around and look at him, just to ground myself in the real world.

What I didn’t like: Oh yeah, this part of my reviews. I typically work hard to find something I don’t like in my 5 star reviews, and even work harder when it’s Andrew, because only so much of my love affair with his words can be biased, yeah? I’m truly stumped here with this one. Everything was picture perfect. I adored this book, if that’s a statement you can make regarding the subject matter that is put forth.

Actually, scratch that – I remember something. Ramsay. The detective. Ohh, he ground me wrong. So yeah, the detective! Take that!

Why you should buy it: Really? OK. Well, you should buy it because it’s Andrew Pyper, of course, but if you like crime-thrillers/mysteries with the perimeter brushing of a supernatural read, you can’t go wrong here. One thing that actually caught me off guard, was when I came to the end of the book, read the thanks from the author note and then flipped the digital page – it had a list of Andrew’s books, from then. The sheer fact that this book was his release before ‘The Demonologist’ made me do a double-take. Insanity. Pyper does continue to get better and better, but do not ignore his back catalog. He has never released a poor book, and ‘The Killing Circle’ may just be the best book I’ve ever read. I’ll be pondering that statement for some time, that’s for sure.

Easy 5/5

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