FICTION

Codename Villanelle

Mulholland: Little, Brown. Apr. 2018. 224p. ISBN 9780316512527. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780316512510. THRILLER
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OrangeReviewStarJennings (Man Booker-nominated Atlantic) strikes a delicate balance of hired killer versus intelligence officer in this series launch starring the icy Villanelle, a relentlessly focused, talented, and highly trained international assassin with an astonishingly high success rate. After Villanelle's latest high-profile kills, however, Eve Polastri, an MI5 operative, is recruited by the British Secret Intelligence Services specifically to hunt down this elusive assassin. With Eve just steps behind her every move, Villanelle's expert actions in targeting subjects worldwide marked for death bring her closer to capture—and to a confrontation with Eve. As Villanelle toys with her trackers, this dangerous cat-and-mouse game upends all rules of play.
VERDICT Fans of Stieg Larsson will adore both the steely, resourceful Villanelle and the determined Eve. This finely tuned, knife-edge thriller with two equally unflinching women refuses to sacrifice an ounce of adrenaline while allowing the characters room for depth and complexity. Highly recommended. [This title is the basis for BBC America's Killing Eve, starring Sandra Oh.—Ed.]

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