Book review: To Kill A Man, by Sam Bourne

To Kill A Man

Sam Bourne



I have to admit that despite its flaws (and they’re not massive or insurmountable) I inhaled this book. So while I will outline some of the bits I didn’t love, remember that I tend to speed read when I enjoy a book!

It’s not ruining the story (unless you don’t read the back-cover blurb) to outline that this novel starts with a woman brutally murdering a man. And she’s not any woman, she’s a well-known lawyer surrounded by rumours of a run at the US presidency.

And here’s where I struggled a bit – Natasha the protagonist was just not really believable. Bourne I think struggles with the female narrative and perspective. I often feel this disconnect when male thriller writers cast a female lead. Often she behaves and thinks in a way that I think is unlikely for most woman. That said, I am so used to this that while it annoys me, I can read through it.

After she murders someone, Natasha calls in a well-known troubleshooter to help her clear her name. Enter the slightly more believable female character of Maggie.

Natasha and Maggie size each other up and we are taken on a rollercoaster ride as we discover more about these characters and why they’ve done what they’ve done (and why they’ll do what they do!).

The plot is strong and fast-paced, which is what really drives this book. I found it compelling and while there were definite moments of “what the heck”, I was transfixed and found myself wanting to keep reading well after bedtime.

There’s some thinly veiled references to the controversies of the recent American political system, with Obama, Trump, Cambridge Analytica, the Russians etc. all making an appearance and adding to the intrigue and readability. I can guess that those with an interest in the American journey over the last decade will find lots of interest. You won’t find accuracy though so don’t read it expecting revelations.

As I said at the beginning, I did actually enjoy this book but it was light reading. There were some definite Grisham vibes and once I’d finished I did feel satisfied, but I knew that this wouldn’t be a memorable book.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced, low-impact read then this would be a good choice. Great airplane or holiday reading – if only that were possible right now!

About Esther Perriam

Esther Perriam
Esther Perriam is a Director of Eldernet. She’s worked in the business for over 15 years and has been lucky to visit many of the older person’s services around the country. She’s never short of an opinion on…pretty much anything. Esther really loves reading and you’ll see plenty of book reviews authored by her. As a mother of two children there’s not much free time but if there is she also enjoys cooking (for grown-ups, not the kids!) and anything beach related in her spare time. Esther has presented at conferences around New Zealand and is happy to be contacted in regards to speaking or presenting at your event.

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