Kill Show – Daniel Sweren-Becker


On a crisp April morning, Sara Parcell disappears without a trace. No one saw a thing.
Desperate, her family agree to take part in a reality TV show following Sara’s case. Cameras swarm the house. Viewers tune in. The addiction begins…
As the show gains traction, what began as a small-town crime becomes a global sensation. Everyone who knew Sara is questioned on camera – but the producers want more. Hungry for twists, they delve deeper into the story – and soon, it takes on a life of its own.
Where is Sara? What do her family know? And how far will any of us go to create a good show?

Book Info: 258 pages. Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton. Publication date: 29 Sept 2023

Daniel Sweren-Becker is a New York-born, Los Angeles-based television writer, author and playwright. He honed his craft at fine institutions like New Horizons Daycare Center, The Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Wesleyan University, and NYU. His handwriting has yet to stop him.

My Review:

Mark Edwards recently recommended this book whilst on a panel at a book festival so I immediately downloaded it because 9 times out of 10 I have adored Mark’s recommendations.

As an avid reader it’s becoming harder to find something original or different in the crime fiction genre and authors are now beginning to introduce clever new ways to tell their stories. Kill Show is one of these books. Told through character interviews (similar to Daisy Jones and the Six), this story centres around 16 year old Sara Parcell who disappeared one morning on her way to school.

Ten years later twenty-six people who played a role in the events surrounding Sara’s disappearance begin to retell their versions of the truth for an interview. From her parents and brother to her best friends and teachers, the transcripts weave together the story of what happens when a missing teenager and a true crime reality show combine resulting in a series of tragic events.

This is a book with short and snappy chapters and it’s almost impossible to put it down. The reader is transported into the small town of Frederick in Maryland. Jeanette and Dave Parcell, Sara’s parents begin to recall events leading up to their daughters disappearance. With no leads and the police floundering, they are approached by a TV Producer, Casey Hawthorne, who wants to film the family “behind the scenes” capturing their story in real time and airing it nationwide to the public in the hope someone can help find Sara.

Morally, it seems so wrong and awful to think that anyone who is going through such tragedy would even think about agreeing to be part of a reality show at their absolutely lowest, but the Parcell family do and this book looks at the implications and devastation that follow.

I loved each of the characters (all 26), who brought Kill Show to life in such vivid detail and depth. I loved the clever way of telling this story. I loved the plot. I loved the writing. I loved the originality. This is going into my Top 10 books of the year.

Highly recommended.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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