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Book review - The 50/50 Killer - Steve Mosby

Updated on April 12, 2010

‘You live for love, but would you die for it?’ This is the subtitle for the book ‘The 50/50 killer’ by Steve Mosby. And it is a well chosen subtitle, as the book deals with a serial killer going after couples, testing their love for each other and their will to live and survive. Steve Mosby is an englishmen, living in Leeds. He wrote several other novels, amongst others ‘The third person’ and ‘The cutting crew’. This book, ‘The 50/50 killer’ was published in 2007 in Great Britain. It was very well-received by critics at the time, and there is no doubt Steve Mosby will have a great career as a writer in the thriller genre.

Steve Mosby - The 50/50 killer

This book evolves around a serial killer case. But this is one weird serial killer. He targets couples, follows them around for a while, trying to find out everything he can about them. Finally, he holds them captive in their own houses, lets them decide who will die and who won’t and tortures them for hours, playing the lovers out against each other. But this killer is clever and has been eluding the police for a long time. The day young detective Mark Nelson starts his new job, is also the day the 50/50 killer decides to continue his games after a two-year break. Mark joins the team of detective John Mercer, a renowned detective and a bit of a legend. Famous for the book he wrote, but also because he can be difficult to work with.

The book is very cleverly written. First of all, the storyline and its twists are genius, and you never see them coming. The end is absolutely impossible to predict and so clever, you start thinking Mosby might have some experience in the serial killer business. Also the whole idea of the targeting couples, and trying to kill the love through torture is blood-boiling scary. I was seriously scared when reading this. And I mean, unable to read it before sleeping, just in broad daylight with other people around, scared! The story just grips you, sucks you in, and won’t let go. You worry for all the characters and hope they will be ok. The character of the killer is so well written, he just comes alive of the pages.

The writing style is interesting. Mosby takes a couple of characters out of the story and writes from their perspectives. He switches between them, but still keeps it chronological. He writes through Mark most consistently, but there are also three of the victims, Eileen (John Mercers wife), and even the 50/50 killer has a few guest appearances. Even though John Mercer is a very important character in the book, he is never one of the narrators, the reader only sees him through the eyes of the others. Sometimes it is rather annoying (but not in a bad way), because you just want to know what is happening with Mark Nelson or one of the victims, but then Mosby switches to another character to continue the story. It is not disrupting the book though, it just makes you impatient for reading the next chapter.

If you love thrillers, scary books, detectives or just a great novel with well-written characters, this is the book for you. So go get it now, and be prepared to lock yourself up until you’ve finished it. Just make sure you only read it during the day though to prevent nightmares...

Other books by Steve Mosby


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