Mike and Verity are in love. They have a special connection which nobody else can understand and they know each other better than anyone could ever hope to know a person. They play a game where the rules can change and they don’t care who gets hurt as collateral because the most important thing is that they enjoy it. Now, Verity is getting married to someone else, but it’s okay, it’s all a part of the game they play. Only now, it’s gone to another level and Mike is still trying to work out the rules.
Our Kind of Cruelty was told from the first person perspective of Mike. The beginning of the story gives light to a dark twist in Mike and Verity’s relationship and this alone has such a strong element that it makes you question everything that comes after it.
This story was such a fascinating journey into the mind of someone so delusional, deranged and unstable that you find yourself needing to know what he is going to do next. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish the relationship between Mike’s perception of events and the reality of events. He convinces himself so thoroughly of a truth that, as a reader, at times it’s hard not to believe him. As the book progresses he begins to lose his handle on reality rapidly and it makes the story all the more gripping. I thought it was cleverly written the way, despite the fact that Mike tells us what happens from his perspective, yet the author still managed to weave in another version of events.
Neither Mike nor Verity were likeable characters and I didn’t feel a connection to either of them but this was not important and I still had a strong need to keep reading, to find out what happens and exactly what is the real version of events. Mike’s character had more depth and as we find out about his background and upbringing throughout the story, it puts him in perspective and also makes his character and his actions more believable.
My favourite part of the story was the last section. After a crucial incident has occurred; the remaining third of the book covered the trial which takes place after this. This was riveting and I enjoyed finding out what each character had to say and how it played out to the final verdict. It was also in this final third of the book in which a clever and insightful theme revealed itself; the way men and women are judged differently for their actions on a societal level – even the same actions as each other. I didn’t see this coming at all and thought it was handled in a subtle yet powerful way.
This was a captivating whirlwind of obsessive and possessive love. A quick and gripping read where love and cruelty are entwined and interchangeable. I would recommend, especially to those who are partial to a psychological thriller!