ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard
At last I can share my thoughts about The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard. I read it a couple of months ago and I still remember how creeped out I was by it. My thanks to Charlotte Walker at Lovereading for giving me the opportunity to be a Super Ambassador for this book and for the place on the tour, and to Corvus for sending me a proof copy of the book for review purposes.
I was the girl who survived the Nothing Man.
Now I am the woman who is going to catch him…
You’ve just read the opening pages of The Nothing Man, the true crime memoir Eve Black has written about her obsessive search for the man who killed her family nearly two decades ago.
Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle is reading it too, and with each turn of the page his rage grows. Because Jim was – is – the Nothing Man.
The more Jim reads, the more he realises how dangerously close Eve is getting to the truth. He knows she won’t give up until she finds him. He has no choice but to stop her first…
I’ve read Catherine Ryan Howard’s work in the past and so I knew I was in for a cracker of a read with The Nothing Man. I didn’t expect something quite so innovative and cunning as this though.
For this is a book within a book. We begin with a man, a security guard, who we know is The Nothing Man. The blurb tells us this so it’s definitely not a spoiler. He’s reading a book, one he spotted at the supermarket where he works. That book is The Nothing Man! It’s a true crime book about his own crimes, told by Eve Black, the only survivor out of her family who were murdered by The Nothing Man.
Clever right? Eve’s book is actually embedded into the book so that we read exactly what Jim reads. It took me a little time to settle fully into the two different styles of writing (one true crime and factual in style and the other very much fiction) but once I had a handle on that I was away and fully engrossed in the whole thing.
It’s not hard to imagine what a serial killer might feel upon reading about his crimes for the first time in twenty years. Excited, wary, nervous, energised. I was all of these things too. Also scared! This is not a book to read in bed, at night, not if you want to get any sleep anyway.
The Nothing Man is a fast-paced and exhilarating read, with layer upon layer of thrills and spills to delight the reader. I think the author has done something very clever here, something unique. Don’t have nightmares folks!
Catherine Ryan Howard‘s debut novel Distress Signals was published by Corvus in 2016 while she was studying English literature at Trinity College Dublin. It went on to be shortlisted for both the Irish Crime Novel of the Year and the CWA John Creasey/New Blood Dagger. Her second novel, The Liar’s Girl, was published to critical acclaim in 2018 and was a finalist for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best Novel 2019. That same year, Rewind was shortlisted for the Irish Crime Novel of the Year and was an Irish Times bestseller. She is currently based in Dublin.