A Novel by Richard House
2013 / 913 Pages
Has anybody ever told you it’s not coming true
What could I possibly have left to write about Richard House’s Booker nominated conspiracy masterpiece that I haven’t written already?
This article exists less as a proper book review and more as a placeholder from which to link out to each of my previously published reviews of the four stand-alone novels – Sutler (book one), The Massive (book two), The Kill (book three), and The Hit (book four) – that combine to form The Kills.
The overall verdict: you should drop everything and read this novel. For more detailed explanations as to why, see each of the linked articles below.
Sutler (Book One)
“Listen. There’s a problem and it can’t be solved. You need to disappear.”
Stringing together these thirteen simple words in a way that aches with urgency, Richard House launches into an alluring piece of political crime fiction that sidesteps the trappings of the genre tag placed on it and boldly defies classification. Some might argue that this particular “type” of novel doesn’t merit a spot on the Man Booker longlist. They’d be wrong.
The Massive (Book Two)
With The Massive Richard House introduces us to the very real, very human side of the war on terror as he eloquently and intelligently searches for meaning and truth in the most unlikely of places. Along the way he challenges the reader with some very difficult questions: Is the feeling of control merely an illusion? Is the willingness to believe in something so strongly nothing more than a weakness that’s waiting to be exploited for someone else’s personal gain? Can one person ever really make a difference? What is the true definition of the word terrorism?
The Kill (Book Three)
The most impressive thing about The Kill isn’t the murder itself, but the head-spinning details that swirl around the crime and turn it into something that borders on legendary. Having read an old paperback book about a (questionably) fictional murder, two brothers decide to take it upon themselves to recreate the crime for fun. They succeed and are never brought to justice. The story of their recreation then becomes the subject of a movie, but while the movie is busy shooting on location, the brothers resurface to claim another victim. As a result, the filming of movie about the real life event inspired by the first book then gets turned into a book of its own. It’s art imitating life imitating art imitating…
The Hit (Book Four)
Oh, there’s a world inside the fucking world alright, and Richard House is more than adequately equipped to show it to you. In fact, the further I progressed in my reading of his Booker nominated epic The Kills, the more I became convinced that it’s the best novel Don DeLillo never got around to writing. In the 1980s DeLillo’s The Names (bizarre language cults), White Noise (an airborne toxic event) and Libra (the Kennedy assassination) all intelligently toyed with seemingly good people that became caught up in highly amplified circumstances involving treacherous schemes and suspicious dealings. The Kills follows in these footsteps, and while House’s dialog might not be nearly as opaque as DeLillo’s, his no-nonsense approach to fast-paced, straight-forward storytelling helps him to achieve the same essential results.