CODENAME VILLANELLE by Luke Jennings

CODENAME VILLANELLE

BUY NOW FROM
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Basis for the hit show Killing Eve.

Oxana Vorontsova is studying linguistics at university when she's arrested for murder. A short, brutal existence in a penal colony is her likeliest future—until a stranger offers her an alternative. So Oxana becomes Villanelle, and Villanelle is an assassin. Her work for a mysterious consortium called “The Twelve” takes her from Paris to Palermo and then to London. That’s where she crosses paths with a midlevel functionary in the British intelligence service. Eve Polastri is Villanelle’s polar opposite. She lives in a cluttered, tiny flat with her adoring husband, Niko, a math teacher. They’re thinking about having a baby when a Russian nationalist is murdered on Eve’s watch. Finding his murderer quickly becomes Eve’s obsession, and it soon becomes clear that Eve and Villanelle have more in common than it seems at first glance. The basic outline of this story will be familiar to viewers watching the BBC America series starring Sandra Oh. There are significant differences between the show and the books, but one thing they share is their episodic nature. This book is a novella; compared to most thrillers, it’s quite short, and readers looking for a conclusion will be dissatisfied by the cliffhanger ending. The brevity makes for a quick pace, and the sections of the story that focus on Villanelle are full of action and sumptuous glimpses of European luxury, and Jennings gives us just enough backstory to believe in this glamorous psychopath. Eve is not such a recognizable type. She is both more relatable and more complex, but Jennings never slows down enough to develop this character. We don’t really understand why she becomes so fixated on Villanelle, and the clash between her humdrum life and her work for MI5 isn’t really explored.

Compulsively readable but a bit thin.

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-316-51252-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:




MORE BY LUKE JENNINGS

FictionKILLING EVE by Luke Jennings
by Luke Jennings
NonfictionBLOOD KNOTS by Luke Jennings
by Luke Jennings

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionTHE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson
by Stieg Larsson
FictionRED SPARROW by Jason Matthews
by Jason Matthews
FictionTHE CUTOUT by Francine Mathews
by Francine Mathews