She can’t stop writing until she finds the killer.
He can’t stop reading because the killer is him.
– The Nothing Man
[ About the Book ]
I was the girl who survived the Nothing Man. Now, I am the woman who is going to catch him.
You’ve just read the opening pages of The Nothing Man, the true crime memoir Eve Black has written about her obsessive search for the man who killed her family nearly two decades ago.
Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle is reading it too and with each turn of the page, his rage grows. Because Jim was – is – the Nothing Man.
The more Jim reads, the more he realises how dangerously close Eve is getting to the truth. He knows she won’t give up until she finds him. He has no choice but to stop her first…
[ My Review ]
The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard was published with Corvus August 6th and is described as ‘a brilliantly twisty thriller’. It is a book that I had been looking forward to reading and it certainly did not disappoint.
Based in Cork City, The Nothing Man is receiving huge praise from many quarters
‘A deftly blended composite of the serial killer, psychological thriller and true crime narratives, The Nothing Man is a compelling novel that brilliantly deconstructs the genres clichés of the charming sociopath‘ – The Irish Times
‘Riveting from beginning to end. Whipsmart, thrilling and utterly compelling‘ – Liz Nugent
The Nothing Man is written in an extremely ingenious manner. It is a book within a book. Jim Doyle, is a security guard in a supermarket when, one day, his eye is drawn to a book entitled The Nothing Man. Jim’s is initially intrigued but, as he starts to read it, his anger swells. This book is about him. Jim Doyle was nicknamed The Nothing Man when his violent actions led to multiple traumas and death. Jim was a sadistic, vile individual who got pleasure from hurting women but as his actions got more horrific, Jim craved more. Jim Doyle was never caught. Always one step ahead of the Gardaí he was given the moniker, The Nothing Man. They could get nothing on him. Until now….
Almost twenty years ago Eve Black was the sole survivor following a horrific and violent attack in her family home. Eve was taken to the West of Ireland by her grandmother to escape the frenzy of the media and also for her own safety. At 12 years old, Eve was unable to process what really happened that night, locking away the trauma. She created a new identity, finished school, went to college but could never settle. Drawn to writing she took a course and submitted a short piece about her past. Her teacher knew there and then that there was a book in Eve. She needed to tell the world her story. With the assistance of An Garda Siochána, Eve trawled through old records and information in an attempt to piece together the movements of this monster, this man who had wrecked her life and that of many others.
Eve had to face many demons during this research trying to trace back over the months these crimes were committed. With the use of modern technology and collating all the information now on hand Eve writes her book, naming it after the monster who killed her family. Is Eve any closer to finding the truth? Will this book draw out the killer?
Jim Doyle is panicked. He has covered his tracks well but his temper begins to fray. Why now? Why is she looking for him? Has she figured out his identity? As Jim reads deeper into the book, the reader jumps between two books, one written by Eve Black and the one written by Catherine Ryan Howard. As unorthodox as this may sound, it works really well.
Jim is a married man, retired from his previous job and now working part time in security. He is depicted as a very angry man, a man with a major chip on his shoulder. His wife, a cowering individual who has led a very lonely life alongside this bully of a husband, is walking on eggshells as his mood swings are more frequent. The reader is offered insights into why Jim Doyle tread such a violent path but there is no sympathy for this evil man.
The Nothing Man is set in Cork, my hometown. While reading it I found myself quite jittery out in public spaces. I was nervous of going outside after dark. There is an underlying, creeping sense of menace throughout this book and as the story unfolds the evilness of The Nothing Man is excellently depicted. This really is a high-concept thriller and it is only through reading it that you will truly understand what I mean by that. The characters are all very well fleshed out and it is really quite fascinating to see how Catherine Ryan Howard brought the story to it’s inevitable climax.
A possible movie in the making I would think, the malevolence permeates throughout the novel and definitely, for someone like me living in Cork, it felt terrifyingly real. Much of Catherine Ryan Howard’s writing is inspired by true-life events and The Nothing Man is no different, adding a real touch of authenticity to her novels.
“My new novel, The Nothing Man came from reading another book: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara. It detailed the late McNamara’s obsessive search for the identity of a serial rapist and murderer nicknamed the Golden State Killer. Two months after the book came out, a man was arrested and charged with the Golden State Killer’s crimes. It got me thinking: had he been aware of the book? Did he read it? What was his reaction to it if he did? I started planning a book that was half a (fictitious) true crime book and half the killer’s reaction to it as he reads.”
– Catherine Ryan Howard
The actions of a serial killer always create that sense of shock yet also a twisted kind of curiosity. With The Nothing Man, Catherine Ryan Howard explores it from a very different and intriguing angle. A very unique read, one that I can happily recommend to all.
Menacing. Original. Tense.
[ Bio ]
Catherine Ryan Howard’s debut novel Distress Signals was published by Corvus in 2016 while she was studying English literature at Trinity College Dublin. It went on to be shortlisted for both the Irish Crime Novel of the Year and the CWA John Creasey/New Blood Dagger.
Her second novel, The Liar’s Girl, was published to critical acclaim in 2018 and was a finalist for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best Novel 2019. That same year, Rewind was shortlisted for the Irish Crime Novel of the Year and was an Irish Times bestseller.
She is currently based in Dublin.
Twitter ~ @cathryanhoward
Website ~ https://catherineryanhoward.com/