Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Codename Villanelle (Villanelle #1), by Luke Jennings

book cover I started watching Killing Eve, the BBC TV series starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, and I quite liked it. So I've decided to read the books it is based on, Codename Villanelle being the first one. The result is a mixed bag. I clearly prefer the TV show, but the book is not bad either. They are, I have to say, quite different.

While both focus on a police woman trying to find a highly skilled female professional sociopath assassin, the show adds a little dark humor, which is both nice and off putting, while the book is going for the full "secret world of spies and weapon technobabble" route, which is also half and half. I think Luke Jennings wanted to write a simple spy story, inspired by the likes of John le Carré, while the show screenwriters have more ambitious goals. Most of the little episodes there are based on stuff in the book, but wholly reinterpreted, the characters changed or added, their fates changed.

But enough about TV. The book is easy to read, but a bit one sided: kill after kill and the chase of the department that has to uncover not only the identity of the killer, but also who are the high placed people who help hide her tracks, without most of the emotional exposition that makes a character relatable. Funny enough, there is more emotional content related to the killer than the cop. Makes you wonder which one of them is the psycho sometimes.

In conclusion, I will not read the rest of the books, but I will continue to watch the TV show. I feel like reading the first book opened my eyes on what the characters were supposed to be and thus Codename Villanelle acted like a nice companion book for an interesting series that I enjoy watching.

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