The 50/50 Killer - Steve Mosby

**** Amazing, but not credible

Despite my overall positive opinion on this novel, there are so many aspects that have left me puzzled.
The plot is that of the classic ferocious serial killer, who for inscrutable reasons attacks couples, but with the peculiarity of letting one of the two choose who must die, and ends up starting a perverse game with the police.
One of the first things I noticed during my reading is the total absence of a geographic reference. I realised that it was set in the United Kingdom only when a character talked about pounds, but for the rest I had difficulty seeing a precise setting. This thing disoriented me and immediately gave the story a sense of unreality.
At one point, I guessed the identity of the killer, but not all his complicated machinations, and I still don’t get the sense of the latter, since they are self-destructive. You have the impression that the 50/50 Killer did not intend to get caught, yet he ends up doing things to himself that would make his life more difficult in the future, if he escaped from the police. I don’t understand this excess just to put in place such a complex plan. I don’t understand him giving such importance to this plan, despite the circumstances. The author didn’t succeed in convincing me. This character is so central in the story that I’m not content with his madness as a motivation for his actions.
Even his behaviour at the end didn’t convince me. It was too easy to beat him and this gave me little satisfaction. It seemed a solution conceived for the sole purpose of completing the story, but lacking any own intrinsic logic.
Moreover, I could not feel a bond with any character, including the first-person narrator (Mark, the young detective). I have found the inwardness of each of them unconvincing, also because it’s supported by an external reality without clear references.
In particular, I found irritating the paranoid behaviour of Eileen (the wife of Mark’s boss). I couldn’t understand the necessity of it, until it finally became clear to me that this was just a gimmick to create a twist. Even in this case, there is no intrinsic logic or at least it hasn’t been sufficiently shown in the text to make it credible.
I also hated the use the name at the beginning of each section of the book to indicate the character of the point of view. It’s absolutely superfluous and consequently annoying. It seems that the author thinks his readers aren’t able to extract it from the text, which is really bad because it means that he thinks his own text isn’t well written or his readers aren’t smart enough (or both!).
Overall, I found the story depressing and not just because it begins and ends with a funeral.
I was tempted to give it only three stars, but in the end I got up to four, because the killer’s deception is really well thought out and developed and you must acknowledge the author for this remarkable originality, not so much in the idea itself but in the way he was able to put it into practice.


The 50/50 Killer on Amazon.