It’s twisted fiction, but Our Kind of Cruelty is a story you won’t be able to put down. Dive inside the mind of a man madly in love with a woman he’ll do anything to get back. Is it all in his head, just a fantasy, or an elaborate game no one else can understand? You’ll be left guessing until the final page, trying to unlock the clues and unlock the relationship at the center of this creepy but compelling novel by Araminta Hall.
Mike and Verity were together for nine years, but after a row they are separated, and now Verity says she is marrying someone else, a man named Angus. But Mike knows, and we read this novel through Mike’s point of view, that this is all just part of their game: The Crave. The Crave is simple, especially if you’ve seen Gossip Girl. It’s basically the game Chuck and Blair play, but inverted. Verity, gorgeous of course, waits at a bar for a man to hit on her. She flirts with him, draws him in, and then Mike appears, makes a scene about some dude macking on his chick, and this somehow turns both Mike and Verity on and they leave together to have sex, sometimes not even making it all the way home. But now the stakes are higher for Mike: how does he play the game with the wedding only weeks away? Only he and Verity know how the game is played, know what the signal is, so when others, like friends, coworkers, and lawyers, get roped in, things get complicated. I honestly can’t say more without ruining the plot.
This novel was creepily enchantingly written, especially since it’s all from Mike’s point of view and, Crave or no Crave, it’s kind of crazy. I’m not saying Mike is crazy, but some of the things he thinks are a bit off. Maybe it’s because he was raised in foster care and by an alcoholic mother with an abusive boyfriend, maybe it’s just my predisposition to normalcy. Either way, I could not put this book down. I binge-read it all in one day, and I have no regrets. I don’t really know what I wanted from the ending, but I was relatively satisfied. It definitely answered a huge question playing in my mind, but I kind of already suspected the answer. While this book may sound crazy, because you’re basically in the mind of a stalker, if you believe the prosecution, but it is so well written that you won’t even care. You’ll be in it from the get-go and unable to get out. Luckily it’s short though, less than 300 pages, so you don’t have to spend too much time inside such a mind.
Pick up this book ASAP if you love psychological thrillers and books by Gillian Flynn! She even blurbed it, calling the final line “utterly chilling” on the cover of my edition, which only made me more eager to binge the book.