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Review: TH1RT3EN by Steve Cavanagh


As a not-so-secret lover of psychological thrillers, this one caught my eye from the get-go and did not disappoint. I found myself drawn in from the opening page and as far as serial killer thrillers go, this one had everything. There were so many elements to this story that I thought made it a unique and original piece of thriller writing.

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Disclosure: I am part of an affiliate program which means that I may earn a small commission if you purchase through my affiliate links at no additional cost to you.

Genre: Thriller
Published on: 25 January 2018
Pages: 336
Published by: Orion

“The serial killer isn’t on trial. He’s on the jury.”

Say what?

With a tag-line like that to draw you in, it’s no wonder this book had me at the opening page.

Robert Solomon is on trial for the violent murders of his wife and body guard. It’s a high-profile case due to his Hollywood status and evidence against him is tight. Eddie Flynn, con-man turned defence lawyer, is hired to try and find a shred of evidence that will prove Solomon is not-guilty, as he persistently claims.

As the trial begins, a member of the jury is not who he appears to be. Blending into the background, Joshua Kane is tantalised by the trial, hooked on the buzz that he himself has caused. It’s his job to convince the jury that Solomon is guilty. But the task is harder than he initially thought and he has to improvise to keep the jury in his favour.

With Flynn grappling to find evidence of a serial killer, time is running out for Kane to succeed with his most notorious murder yet.

“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” 

A different perspective

The best part about this book is that we know who the killer is from the start and with that knowledge, wait in anticipation to see if the defence can find holes in the evidence that will ultimately lead them to the killer on the jury. This is a total flipped perspective compared to many other psychological thrillers where you are left waiting to see who the killer is. The reader still has unanswered questions though – how did the serial killer commit his crimes, how has he framed Solomon, and what is his motive?

I’ve found similar novels lacking imagination, particularly when it comes to motive. What can really make a person so cold-hearted and emotionless that they murder people simply for their own satisfaction? There has to be a really good reason and I felt that Cavanagh came up with the perfect motive to fit the character he created.

The overall story was well-planned and executed, the final twist was a complete curve-ball, and the chapter perspectives from both the lawyer and the serial killer gave the book a good pace.

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