Name: The Hit List
Author: Holly Seddon
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller
In this month’s review I will be taking a look at Holly Seddon’s novel The Hit List.
I first saw this novel in a Sunday magazine inside one of the newspapers and the plot line sounded intriguing. I mentioned it to my sister who then bought it for me as a gift for my birthday.
The novel begins with the main character, Marianne. She lost her husband, Greg, a year previously in a hit and run accident but has begun a relationship with a new man, Noah. However, at home she is still saddened by her husband’s loss and seeks comfort in everything he has left behind – she still wears his shirt and cologne, reads old love letters and emails they wrote to each other and even has a pie in the freezer he made for the her the night before he died.
However when she decides on the anniversary of her husband’s death to go through his laptop and follows his footsteps on the web, she discovers he was accessing the dark web and on there is a hit list with her name on it.
As paranoia sets in she begins to have a look into investigating just what he was doing on the dark web – she finds emails he sent just before he died to an ex girlfriend who was a solicitor to arrange to me, a life insurance policy, she also finds entries in his calendar once a month for something called The Bluebell as well as a list of other names. However, Marianne has to unpick this wicked web that tangled Greg in order to save herself from Sam, the assassin hired to kill her. Was he trying to protect her or did he want her dead?
The novel is very taut and fast-paced with very many twists and turns as Marianne unpicks what is happening around her. Instead of being written in chapters, Seddon writes from the perspective of each of the characters instead, with the first section of the novel switching between Marianne and Sam in an exciting cat and mouse section.
In a frustrating yet tantilising moment where you want to find out what happens next, the book instead moves to the year prior to Greg’s death, where we learn about what exactly Greg was involved with, before the book moves back to where it left off for the exciting climax.
I have reviewed quite a few thrillers on this website and I really loved the twists and turns this novel takes including some I didn’t see coming by the end of the novel.
The dark web is a fantastic plot device as most people have heard about it but not many people know exactly what’s on there, making it a very terrifying presence in the novel. Seddon really lets you get inside Marianne’s head and feel her fear and paranoia of what she has seen and whether to believe it or not – it even was getting me paranoid over what could be on the dark web about any of us!
The book has a great many themes to explore, from human trafficking, to blackmail online and just how much of our lives are detailed online, even using so called “deepfake” porn to blackmail (porn created to use someone’s likeness without their consent to pass it off as them being in the video – something I actually read about a few weeks after reading the first recommendation for this book in an article in the same Sunday magazine).
These themes make the novel very modern and of our time, thought-provoking, scary and also very readable.
If there was one thing which was a bit frustrating with the structure is with chapters it can actually be easier to know when to put it down but I was definitely reading it well into the night and my passive-aggressive tiredness at work probably meant my boss wasn’t too happy!
Overall, it is a fantastic thriller and Holly Seddon has definitely become an author I’m going to look at for to read the other novels she has written as this introduction to her was brilliant.
If you disagree with my review or want to let me know your thoughts, feel free to do so in the comments below.