Our Kind of Cruelty
by Araminta Hall
MCD Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Publication Date : May 8, 2018
Pages : 288
Synopsis from Publisher :
This is a love story. Mike’s love story.
Mike Hayes fought his way out of a brutal childhood and into a quiet, if lonely life, before he met Verity Metcalf. V taught him about love, and in return, Mike has dedicated his life to making her happy. He’s found the perfect home, the perfect job, he’s sculpted himself into the physical ideal V has always wanted. He knows they’ll be blissfully happy together.
It doesn’t matter that she hasn’t been returning his emails or phone calls.
It doesn’t matter that she says she’s marrying Angus.
It’s all just part of the secret game they used to play. If Mike watches V closely, he’ll see the signs. If he keeps track of her every move he’ll know just when to come to her rescue…A spellbinding, darkly twisted novel about desire and obsession, and the complicated lines between truth and perception, Our Kind of Cruelty introduces Araminta Hall, a chilling new voice in psychological suspense.
We have all heard the phrase it’s a thin line between love and hate. After reading Our Kind of Cruelty, I think this statement can be amended just a bit to there is a thin line between love and obsession. Our Kind of Cruelty is a disturbing tale of a man, who refuses to accept any form of reality except his own.
Mike and Verity are the most unlikely of couples. Mike comes from a broken family and his childhood was less than ideal. Verity was raised surrounded by wealth within a respected family. Mike and Verity meet in college and stay together for eight years. Most of the years were happy but, when Mike accepts a job in New York and Verity stays behind in London, their relationship begins to unravel. When Mike returns to London and Verity, events which took place while they were apart cause the relationship to fracture. The break up unleashes some of Mike’s most hidden demons and his feelings for Verity mirror obsession rather than love.
Mike is a very disturbed individual. His ability to delude himself and his circumstances is beyond reason. He hears Verity’s pleas for him to leave her alone as proclamations of love and a desire to rekindle their relationship. However, a few times in the book I could see how Mike could have wrongly interpreted Verity’s feelings. For me these possible mis-interpretations caused a sort of “see saw” effect. I cannot count how many times I went back and forth in my mind trying to figure out what Verity really wanted Mike to do, which I truly enjoyed. There is no doubt that Mike is mentally unstable but Hall does a great job casting doubt on Verity’s intentions as well.
Hall does not focus very much on Mike and Verity’s relationship. There are mention of trips taken and events they attended, but these are just quick glimpses into the relationship. I mention this because even though these views into the relationship are quick they are telling. The phases Mike uses to describe the relationship are carnal and animalistic. The analogies he uses are not the comparisons one associates with love. Most readers will consider Mike’s obsession the most disturbing element of Our Kind of Cruelty, but for me his descriptions of the relationship are the most disturbing element of the story. To me, they show Mike’s need to consume Verity rather love her.
The final portion of Our Kind of Cruelty is a murder trial. I know some may find courtroom scenes in a book bore-some but I absolutely love courtroom drama. I find any glimpse into any criminal justice system (even fictional) exciting. The courtroom scenes where my favorite part of the book.
Pretty early on I was able to figure out where the story was headed, but I still enjoyed the journey. The twists and turns were enjoyable nonetheless. Our Kind of Cruelty displays just how powerful the mind can be as well as the power of perception. Fans of Sarah Vaughn’s Anatomy of a Scandal should add Our Kind of Cruelty to this list of must reads.
**Thanks to MCD Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for my free copy of Our Kind of Cruelty**
Murder and Moore Rating :
4.5 out of 5 Stars