book review: The Killer In Me by Olivia Kiernan


THE KILLER IN ME by Olivia Kiernan
(Frankie Sheehan #2)
Dutton, April 2, 2019
(Too Close To Breathe)


Every time I’ve read a thriller recently I’ve been left with the thought ‘do I actually like thrillers or am I just reading these out of habit.’ Well, it turns out I do still like them! I just wish they were all on Olivia Kiernan’s level – her Frankie Sheehan series is shaping up to be one of my favorites… which is odd as I really dislike police procedurals most of the time. So more power to Kiernan for being able to hook me on a formula that I’m not wild about.

And while I enjoyed Kiernan’s debut, Too Close to Breathe, I think its sequel The Killer in Me is superior in just about every way. More intricate plotting, more sophisticated writing, and more of that ‘can’t put it down’ factor. So while it’s always fun to go into a sequel being familiar with the characters, you could easily read The Killer in Me as a standalone. There are five murders at the heart of this novel, though two took place 17 years ago, as Seán Hennessey has just been released from prison where he served a sentence for murdering his parents, though he continues to profess his innocence. But when a series of eerily similar murders begins to occur, naturally Seán is the number one suspect. It’s a great premise, and Kiernan manages to expertly balance her various subplots so that it’s difficult to predict exactly what it’s all building up to.

Incidentally, I did have the exact same complaint about The Killer in Me as I did about Too Close to Breathe, which is that Frankie tends to make leaps the size of the Grand Canyon while doing a psychological profile on the killer(s), which invariably turn out to be accurate. So that’s a bit annoying, but you can’t have everything. All things considered, I think Olivia Kiernan is a brilliant new voice in the Irish crime genre, and if you like your thrillers on the dark and psychologically distressing side, you won’t want to miss this series.

Thanks so much to Dutton for the advanced copy provided in exchange for an honest review.

You can pick up copies of Too Close to Breathe and The Killer In Me over on Book Depository.

13 thoughts on “book review: The Killer In Me by Olivia Kiernan

  1. Great review, Rachel. It was interesting to read your thoughts at the beginning – I find that if you read a lot of thrillers then my expectations rise. Glad you enjoyed this one – and I might look into this author.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Stephen! Totally agreed – I can only ever read thrillers in moderation, because if I read one after the other I find that I get easily over-saturated with this genre. But I love stumbling across hidden gems like this. I hope you enjoy her!

      Liked by 2 people

    • It’s definitely a series to look into when the thriller mood strikes! But yes, totally, I was going through my thrillers shelf on Goodreads earlier and it was like, 2 stars, 2 stars, 2 stars, why do I like reading these again 🤦‍♀️ But they can be such fun!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is encouraging. I enjoyed Too Close To Breathe enough to have The Killer In Me on order. It’s good to know that Kiernan has got over that dreaded second novel bump in the road so spectacularly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooh I’m not the only one who read Too Close to Breathe!! This is exciting 😂 It’s funny how sequels tend to either fall into the category of ‘second book syndrome’ or ‘make the debut really look like a debut,’ the latter mercifully being what happened here. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on this!


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