Review

The Killing Circle

by Andrew Pyper

Holidays like Valentine’s Day bring special pain to
thirty-something widower Patrick Rush. After the death of his wife
Tamara, their four-year-old son Sam is all he has left. At work,
his job as a critic and television feature writer at
Toronto’s National Star doesn’t bring much
fulfillment to his life. In fact, he turns bitter and envious from
writing about other people’s creative accomplishments. What
Patrick really wants to do is unleash his own creativity and write
his own story. 

One evening, after Sam is safely tucked in for the night,
Patrick heads down to his basement office, which Tamara called
“the Crypt,” and makes a phone call that will change
his life. He digs out a slip of paper and dials the number in a
classified ad that offers an intensive workshop facilitated by
Conrad White, an obscure poet and novelist. He tells the voice on
the other end, “I want to write a book.”

The atmosphere of the writers’ circle, which meets for
five Tuesdays in the Kensington Market area of Toronto, is
dark and mysterious. The circle is limited to Conrad and seven
members --- Patrick, Petra, Len, Angela, Ivan, Evelyn and William
--- who round out the odd assortment of people drawn together
by their desire to share the stories of their lives. Yet Patrick,
the published writer, seems to have nothing to share
because there are some internal demons he doesn't want to
unleash.

Patrick is especially envious when he hears Angela read from her
journal about the Sandman, who lurks in the shadows waiting to
attack and destroy. While Patrick sits listening to Angela
tell her story, he records her words.

As weeks progress and circle members share their stories, the
city of Toronto is plagued by a serial killer who is striking close
to Patrick’s home. Sam has nightmares about a man, “a
bad man,” in the house across the street. They sound eerily
similar to events in Angela’s story, and Patrick can’t
escape the feeling that his house is being watched and he is being
stalked. After the circle has ended, the murders in his
neighborhood stop.

Several years later, Patrick has achieved success, fame and
fortune. He also experiences a parent’s worst nightmare when
his beloved son is abducted. To find Sam, Patrick undertakes a
journey to uncover the root of the evil that’s been lurking
in the background of their lives.

THE KILLING CIRCLE is a dark, chilling and haunting tale of
ambition, envy and the evil that lurks among us, complete with
breathtaking twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until
the end.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt (dvolkenannt@charter.net) on January 22, 2011

The Killing Circle
by Andrew Pyper

  • Publication Date: September 16, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 0312384769
  • ISBN-13: 9780312384760