The Hit List – Holly Seddon

What would you do if you found your name on a hitlist? And your late husband put it there?

When Marianne’s husband Greg is knocked off his bike and killed on the way to work, she must unpick the life he left behind. Numb with grief, Marianne consoles herself by scouring Greg’s laptop, finding comfort in reading his old emails and tracing his footsteps across the web. Until one day, she discovers that he had been accessing the dark web. Why was Greg, a principled charity worker and dedicated husband, logging on to a website that showcases the worst of humanity’s cruel impulses and where anything is available for a price? Marianne steels herself and logs on. After tentative searching, she discovers her name on a hit list.

In this fast-paced, powerful and exceptionally plotted novel, Marianne must figure out whether Greg was trying to protect her or whether he was complicit in the conspiracy for her murder. As she is pulled deeper into the depths of the underworld that Greg was seemingly hostage to, she gets closer and closer to coming face to face with Sam – the assassin hired to kill her. The dark truths that Marianne uncovers speak volumes about the dark underbelly of our society and forces us to question how far we would go to protect those we care most about.

About the Author:

Holly Seddon is the international bestselling author of TRY NOT TO BREATHE, DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES and LOVE WILL TEAR US APART. THE HIT LIST will be published in August 2020 in ebook, and April 2021 in paperback.

After growing up in the English countryside obsessed with music and books, Holly worked in London as a journalist and editor. She now lives in Amsterdam with her family and writes full time.

Alongside fellow author Gillian McAllister, Holly co-hosts the popular Honest Authors Podcast.

My Review:

The Hit List is Holly’s latest standalone psychological thriller and I took part in an online readalong with 99 other readers as part of THE Book Club’s new monthly feature.  We were sent the book in 3 parts and had a week to read each part and then came online and via Zoom meetings to discuss each section of the book.  This made my reading experience rather different and more drawn out than usual as normally I gobble up books within a day or two, hardly having time to breathe let alone think about the characters, the consequence and their actions.

The book is split into 3 parts which made it a perfect read for online discussions.  Part One introduces the reader to Marianne who is one of the two narrators of this section.  One year ago Marianne’s husband Greg was killed when he was knocked off his bike on the way to work and she’s been the grieving widow, trying to move on with her life.  On the anniversary of his death she decides to look through his laptop (like you do!) and discovers that her husband was delving into things he really shouldn’t have including the dark web and was living a very secret and dangerous life up to the point of his death.  When she uncovers a website for names on “hit lists” and finds her own name there along with 4 others, she realises she didn’t know her husband at all and her own secret demons are beginning to appear.  The other main narrator in Part One is Sam – the assassin tasked with killing Marianne and the other 4 on the list.

The second part of the story is narrated by Greg – Marianne’s dead husband (obviously narrated before he was killed!) and takes the reader back to the past and looks into Greg’s background and how he became so embroiled in the dark web. Sam the assassin also narrates during this section and the reader finds out more about the reasons behind the “kills”.

This is a gripping and fast-paced story with multiple narrators, characters and lots of twists.  An enjoyable, if slightly implausible story which was made more interesting by the online discussions.

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