Reviews

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

mmajer's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

This was my first and definitely not my last book from Catherine Ryan Howard. This book hooked me immediately. I love the book within a book format, but also loved that as the reader we got to be inside the mind of The Nothing Man himself. That combined with the perspective of one the survivors of his crimes made this such an engrossing read. It’s pretty much a fictional take on “I’ll be Gone in the Dark,” and it’s just so creatively done and well written.

oonaemilia's review against another edition

Go to review page

challenging dark tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

maddieeeeelyn's review against another edition

Go to review page

dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

4.0

moonworld3's review against another edition

Go to review page

dark emotional tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix

5.0

wholly recommend! loved the book within a book

stephaniesteen73's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

WOW! Could not put this one down even though crime/serial killer books are not my typical fare. Such an interesting premise in that you know from page one who the killer is, but there is still so much tension and suspense throughout, as well as a "book within a book." Highly recommend!

amarettto's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

I enjoyed this book. It was kind of like a murder mystery thriller, but told in a very interesting way, though I will say the format of the book is definitely what boosts it high up above others in a similar genre (written in the form of a book within a book). I also liked that there was no question of who the murderer actually was, because it was interesting to read the story from both sides and kind of visualize the cat and mouse chase from both sides.

I will say I am not sure yet how I feel about the ending. While I think it was predictable, I think the author wasn't even trying to make it unpredictable because that wasn't really the point? The point was the journey leading up to it, and there still were some smaller revelations at the end that tied up all the loose ends in a neat bow, so that was nice.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of crime thrillers. I was really craving a solid crime thriller when I started it, and I devoured the book in one day, so something that was even able to hold my attention for that long deserves no less than five stars!

justinkhchen's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.0

3 stars

Too much of a fact-by-fact replay of its true crime inspiration, The Nothing Man is basically a thinly-veiled fictionalization of the Golden State Killer, AKA Joseph James DeAngelo, a serial killer/rapist active during the 70s and 80s, and finally arrested in 2018 with newly discovered evidence. Other than swapping California to locations in Ireland, and altering a couple statistics, the novel shows very little of the author's actual creative interpretation. The perpetrator had the same m.o. as its real-life counterpart, down to sharing the same setups to the various crimes committed. Even though it is told in a creative, book-within-book format, I would still think it's possibly more immersive consuming the story from a more direct source, including an actual nonfiction written by a woman searching for the killer's identity, I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara.

Written by an Irish author based in Ireland, I can perhaps understand The Nothing Man's appeal in its home country (or outside the US in general), where the crimes it referenced might not be as well-known. But as a US-based reader, the Golden State Killer has had its moment in the spotlight, with numerous reports, podcasts and documentaries reiterating its details; under that context, The Nothing Man feels like an unnecessary redundancy that thinly altered the facts without being truly inspired by them.

If you're interested in the real case, I would recommend the 6-part coverage made by the podcast Casefile.

gayatriii's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

Very interesting format/idea for a thriller. Crime novels more often than not follow the established format of - body found-detectives called-red herrings-killer found. The best we can hope for is surprises within that format.
But Katherine throws that away and builds a really creative storytelling device and for that alone she deserves much credit.
Eve lost her entire family to a violent crime when she was only 12 yrs old, the perpetrator was never caught, and now as an adult, Eve has written a book detailing the entire experience in the hopes of reviving interest in the case and solving it once and for all.
Unbeknownst to her, the book is also picked up by the serial killer. So we read Eve's book, and then hear from him on his version of what happened and his reactions.
It's a compelling read. Frightening for any woman who's worst fear is an intruder in the night. There were times some of the crimes in the book coincided with nighttime reading and I had to check if my doors were locked.

But, I wasn't chuffed about the ending. Felt very melodramatic. It was a very movie-like ending to what until then felt like a grounded, believable and realistic story.

eleanorxcharlotte's review against another edition

Go to review page

dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.0

lilyreader's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.0

3,5 stars