I’m not going to lie- I wasn’t intending on reading the second Killing Eve novel, especially so soon after reading the first one and not being massively keen on it. However in a weird and exciting turn of events, I was commissioned to write a piece about the differences between the books and the series for The Washington Post- all based on a tweet I wrote as I was reading it. And so, I had to read the book. (You can read the Washington Post piece here and a blog I wrote about writing it- and what I would have written had I had double the word length here.)
As this is a novel, rather than Codename Villanelle’s novellas, the storyline feels more coherent and fleshed out. Villanelle is tasked with the assassination of a far-right leader who hosts a festival of all the worst people in Western politics, including those who resemble a particular beer-swilling, ex-banker ‘man of the people who may or may not have recently started a long walk for publicity and another very wealthy politician who is said to bear an uncanny likeness to both Lord Snooty from the Beano and a haunted pencil. Eve is still on Villanelle’s trail and getting closer, with potentially devastating results.
It becomes clear very quickly that the universe in the books is not that of the show and it feels like they should be treated as two separate beings. Villanelle feels more of a rounded character and the tension between her and Eve is ramped up, largely through an absence that is not felt on TV. Some of the twists feel faintly ridiculous (as does the ending) and there are very small goats involved as well. Honestly.
Some of my criticisms remain; there’s still a lot of name-dropping of brands that I find weirdly disconcerting and distracting. There are still some overly gratuitous descriptions of women’s bodies. But for those who like a spy novel, it’s pretty much ticking most of the boxes you would expect… albeit with goats.
FORMAT: Kindle book