A review by Nalini Haynes
Kitty Collins accidentally kills a stalkery entitled dipshit who threatened to rape her. Boo hoo. It’s ruled an accident and no one even looks at Kitty as the perpetrator. The thrill, the rush, is apparently addictive. She decides to do a Dexter and hunt down men who rape women. It’s preventative. Soon Kitty develops techniques for how to kill men and get away with it.
In the author’s notes Katy Brent practically points neon signs at Kitty Collins’s name. It was easier to find the reason the first time I searched so here’s a link to the reference: Ava Gardner played Kitty Collins in The Killers, a 1946 movie. You can guess the rest.
Axe Throwing for romantic dates
Axe throwing must be a thing. This is at least the second romance (?!) I’ve read where the romantic couple go axe throwing for a date. I visualize a significant proportion of impotent throws hitting the axe equivalent of an archery target the wrong way and falling to the ground. Or, worse, falling short. (Cue erectile dysfunction jokes.) I have no idea if that is anywhere near reality. But, wow, a romantic date?! Kudos to Brent who actually describes axe throwing. Seems like she’s actually done it!
I’m convinced How To Kill Men is a parody of Dexter. OMG the funniest bits are, like, WHERE SHE USES PAGES OF VOGUE MAGAZINE INSTEAD OF PLASTIC TO LINE THE WALLS AND FLOOR. I’m dying here.
However, instead of working for the police, Kitty is an Instagram influencer. Even in her internal narrative she’s naming brands and models/types of things. No price tags though, which is interesting.
Do people really buy the overpriced things? Like, why buy Louboutin shoes when you could buy feet killers and paint the soles red or just return to the ancient Chinese art of foot binding? (Note: this article talks about foot binding in Imperial China but, in the 70s as a kid, I watched a doco – absolutely horrified – as women who’d suffered this custom had their feet unbound on video. It talked about the injuries and pain. I think I’ve always associated high heels and painful shoes with foot binding.) I want to scream “Why? WHY? WAAAAIIIII?????”
To be honest, I prefer Jane Doe‘s (by Victoria Helen Stone) sardonic snarky tone. I kept thinking “But surely there are cameras everywhere, someone would notice the car, THERE ARE WITNESSES!!” So it’s definitely not Seven Sisters by Katherine Kovacic.
Brent’s point is that if you’re a fashion-obsessed girly girl with an abattoir for body disposal no one will look at you twice.
Also, it’s a comedy. Dark comedy but still a comedy. Comedies don’t have to be 100% believable because the underlying truth is, well, it’s there. Social comment abounds. This novel is a feminist dark comedy.
How To Kill Men And Get Away With It will be a smash hit with anyone who loves novels – thrillers and comedies – involving influencers. Especially if you loved books like Influence. It’s not quite my cup of tea or coffee. Full disclosure: I watched a few seasons of Dexter with my son but, when he left home, I stopped watching. Dexter isn’t really my thing either. However, Katy Brent’s execution is good, I love her references to Dexter, and others will laugh out loud at her sense of humor. I’m giving How To Kill Men 4 stars.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Imprint: HQ Digital (HarperCollins)
Category: fiction, humor, black humor, thriller, feminist, romance