cover image Our Kind of Cruelty

Our Kind of Cruelty

Araminta Hall. MCD, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-0-374-22819-4

British journalist Hall (Everything and Nothing) makes her U.S. debut with a disturbing psychological thriller. Sometimes there’s a fine line between crazy in love and just plain crazy, and for glossy London golden couple Mike Hayes and Verity “V” Walton, it’s one that becomes blurrier when, after years of all-consuming passion, V decides she wants something different. Or does she? Investment banker Mike refuses to accept her moving on to advertising tycoon Angus Metcalf at face value, viewing it instead as a new, higher-stakes version of the Crave, their kinky private role-playing game. Hall constructs a suspenseful plot that capitalizes on considerable ambiguity about her characters’ motivations, especially the key issue of the extent to which V, a scientist working in AI, might be manipulating Mike. But with the story unfolding through the eyes of the emotionally damaged Mike, who was abused as a boy, readers never learn enough about V and arguably a lot more than they might wish about a narrator whose head is an uncomfortably creepy place to be. Still, Hall is a writer to watch. Agent: Lizzy Kremer, David Higham (U.K.). (May)