With Killing Me, Michelle Gagnon has crafted a wholly-original take on the vigilante narrative. In her own unique style—which incorporates a blend of both light slapstick and dark humor—Gagnon captures the readers attention from page one and refuses to let go of that chokehold until the final pages are turned. Somehow Michelle Gagnon has managed to write a serial killer novel that will appeal to readers for whom that genre is often too horrific to face.
The action set piece that opens Killing Me is one for the ages. Before the cover is cracked, Amber Jamison has been abducted by The Pikachu Killer—and I’ll leave it to readers to discover the origins of that moniker in the text—and in addition to fearing for her life, she spends plenty of time ruminating on just how the hell she got into this stupid situation. After some time confined in a basement (was it an hour, days?), Amber is rescued when a mysterious—and super sexy—woman bursts into the basement to confront this menace to society. The fact that her safety was an unexpected byproduct of some accidental occurrences doesn’t exactly sit well with Amber, but she won’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
What is immediately clear from these first pages of Killing Me is that Amber’s voice is going to be one of those rare points-of-view in crime fiction that is both compelling, enlightened, and entertaining in equal measure. Readers will just feel the unwavering desire to spend time with Amber—this quirky lesbian who seems both confident and confounded simultaneously.
Now, readers wouldn’t be remiss in wondering how the novel will continue since the culprit is captured in the early pages. But rest assured, Michelle Gagnon has only just begun to weave her web. You see, Amber has a past that she’s trying desperately to overcome, forget, and/or escape, and the fact that the FBI are now hot on her trail to question her about The Pikachu Killer is putting a cramp in her style. So much so, that she flees West and finds herself in a seedy motel outside Las Vegas, looking for a new identity. This is when Killing Me really takes off.
Forming her own Scooby Gang with a Vegas prostitute, a hardened hotel manager, and her mysterious (and super sexy) benefactor, Amber must confront yet another serial killer—this one more deadly than even she understands. To say any more would be a spoiler, but Michelle Gagnon has packed the narrative with unforeseeable twists, unexpected humor, and an abundance of heart.
Readers will reach the end of Killing Me shocked by late developments and eagerly hoping this is only the beginning of a new, beloved crime fiction series. Even after the last page is turned, the voice of Amber lingers. Whether you are a fan who discovered Michelle Gagnon back with her excellent debut, The Tunnels, or maybe the YA Don’t Let Go trilogy, or you are a newcomer to her work now, you will finish Killing Me feeling like you’ve made a new friend—in both Amber and Michelle.
Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.