The Circle closes…

the killing circle

The Killing Circle was released in 2008.

And then there was one.

One book left, one post left. What a conclusion.

Tomorrow features a wrap-up, but this is the final retrospective.

I’d read them all. ‘The Killing Circle’ was the only one remaining. I’d conquered my demons and dove into ‘The Guardians’ and after I raved about it on Twitter, two or three others replied, saying ‘The Killing Circle’ was even better, and that I needed to get on it.

Yet, those strange old fears kept tugging at my readers brain. This one didn’t have a synopsis that I typically would be drawn to read. In fact, if Andrew’s name wasn’t on this one, I’d probably never have given it a second thought, let alone buy it on Kindle and in paperback.

A widower who hates his journalist job, joins a writing circle to see if he can finally write his novel. He struggles with the loss of his wife and with raising his son. But, this is Andrew. This is Mr. Pyper. Not all is how it seems and before long members of the writing circle begin to feel like they are being followed, as people around them disappear or are found dead.

When I finished ‘The Guardians’ I raved. I gushed. I told my wife how amazing it was and that I’d just read a novel so good, that I didn’t think anything would ever top it. I wanted to read it again right away, to go back and visit those characters.

But ‘The Killing Circle’ got its ferocious talons into my eyes and goddamn I don’t think I blinked or breathed once. It is absolutely suffocating. The tension is palpable, the anxiety to such another level that for those with claustrophobia, you’ll need to go read this in an open field under a sunny, cloud-free sky.

I hate to call this Andrew’s ‘magnum opus’ simply because he’s released so many stellar releases since, and even his books prior were amazing. But something about this book delivered on another level and when I sent Andrew the book specific questions, his answer told me why. This book is greatly autobiographical in terms of setting/location and while I’ve raved about how Andrew always does such an amazing job of elevating the location of each book and makes it into a character, this one went to another level. Each street has a pulse and a plot point and Andrew never lets up.

Since I finished reading this, two things have really stayed with me.

  1. I should’ve waited to finish reading this to send the questions to Andrew! While the one question was great and thorough, I would easily substitute the question about the number 29 in a heart beat.
  2. I can’t stop thinking about every aspect of this book. The beginning at the drive-in, the middle with the writing circle characters and the ending, far out in the middle of nowhere.

It’s a book that has left a scar on my readers psyche, a book that’ll long stay with me and one that I’ll be praising as a template for people to read when they want to feel pure terror.

How foolish of me now, to have had this fear for so long that I’d find a Pyper book I didn’t enjoy or love!?

‘The Killing Circle’ was the final nail in that coffin, a book so good, that I feel ashamed it was the last one of Andrew’s I read.

From book one to the very last, Andrew has created characters and worlds that I’ll be forever grateful for. Books that have helped me and got me through rough patches. Books that have taken me back twenty years and made me think of moments I’d long tucked away somewhere unseen.

When you find an author that feels like each book they are writing just for you, hold on to that author. Don’t be afraid of change or that a new book, or one you haven’t read yet may not connect with you. It will. Even if you don’t like it, they’ve still invited you into their world, so by all means, make sure to visit.

To think this is the last retrospective fills me with a bit of sadness. It’s been a really amazing journey through these books, and while I haven’t added all of the life events that have gone along with reading each book, just know that I have them jotted down on a word doc. Some have made me smile, while others have brought me to my knees. But it’s all been worth it. If even one person has purchased one of Andrew’s books because of any of these posts, I’ve done my job. And thank you.

I have one more post scheduled for tomorrow –  a wrap up post. But for all intents and purposes, this is the end.

I don’t know what next May looks like. I’d hope to find some way to celebrate again. Maybe not to the depths and extent of this years, but I’ll think of something.

So, to Andrew Pyper – THANK YOU.

To every one who has read these, liked them, shared them and commented on them – THANK YOU.

This has been the ride of my life.

Maybe, just like Andrew writing ‘The Killing Circle’ its felt like this because of how personal it has been?



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