Araminta Hall

Our Kind of Cruelty

A dark story with heavy Highsmithian undertones.

Dec 27, 2019
Dimitris Passas

This is a much-discussed and hyped crime novel and many avid fans of the genre were awaiting its publication date. I often tend to dislike such books as I always set the expectations a bit higher than I should, but Our Kind of Cruelty proved to be an exciting, compelling read, a grim story about obsession and its devastating consequences to human beings. Throughout the whole novel, any loyal crime fiction fan will detect the similarities, in both plotline and characterization, with the great ''Godmother of Crime Fiction'', Patricia Highsmith. Specifically, this new book by Araminta Hall bears strong resemblances to one of P. Highsmith's most popular novels, titled This Sweet Sickness. In both novels, the main theme is the obsession of male anti-heroes with women who don't love them.

Mike is the name of our protagonist who narrates in first person his disturbing mental anguish revolving his relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Verity. The couple broke up recently, but Mike doesn't seem able to comprehend this fact as he continues living under the delusion that Verity is playing some kind of game with him (he calls it ''The Crave'') and she will soon abandon her husband in order to come and live with him. As the days go by, Mike becomes more and more frustrated as he is constantly persecuted by his own intrusive and disturbing thoughts.

Even though the plot is tight and keeps the reader engaged and turning the pages, what I enjoyed more in Our Kind of Cruelty is the quality and flow of Araminta Hall's prose which offers some great descriptive parts regarding Mike's disorganized thought process, illustrating the protagonist's inner monologues and depicting his mental anguish. It was nice to see that there are still crime fiction writers who care about their writing/narrative style and not emphasize solely on the story and the plot. I would recommend the books to the fans of the psychological thriller genre and especially to those who love Patricia Highsmith's work.


Our Kind of Cruelty
Araminta Hall

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