The Kills by Richard House - review by James Kidd

James Kidd

What on Earth Is Going on?

The Kills


Picador 1002pp £20 order from our bookshop

The Kills is a novel that challenges critics, and indeed criticism, in a variety of ways. Its 1,000 pages in hardback form not only strain bicep, forearm and wrist, but also make mincemeat of commonplaces like plot summary. The Kills is a thriller about a fugitive framed for a financial heist he didn’t commit until it becomes a conspiracy about big business interests in Iraq until it mutates into a knowing murder mystery until it does all the above in different voices.

In any case I have already overstepped and forgotten to ask whether The Kills is a novel at all. Its four sections (‘Sutler’, ‘The Massive’, ‘The Kill’, ‘The Hit’) have all been released separately as e-books, making The Kills a compilation of sorts, albeit one that interlocks in extraordinary ways.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

The Incomparible Monsignor

Kafka Drawings

Follow Literary Review on Twitter