Anthony Good’s debut novel, Kill [redacted]... is a delicate but merciless portrait of a man in the grip of a mental breakdown. When retired headteacher Michael’s wife is killed in a terrorist attack on the London underground, he decides to kill the politician whose policies he considers to be ultimately responsible for her death... the story is told through Michael’s self-justifying diary, the “self reflections” he writes for his therapist, and a few letters. His voice is a triumph: intelligent but pedantic and emotionally constipated, seething with barely suppressed rage, and unable to admit the truth about his marriage or motives. Whether this is an elaborate revenge fantasy or a factual account is up to the reader – either way, this outstanding novel is a fascinating and complex read.
Of course, as the author of these edited documents, Michael is revealed throughout as a decidedly unreliable narrator, not quite admitting the full truth to either his therapist or to himself about his relationship with Amy, or the reality of his wife's death. By the time we reach the end of the book, have we been reading a feverishly violent revenge fantasy or a faithful record of events?... This sharp, acerbic novel manages to be both playful and smart, vividly funny and engaged with a serious and almost Dostoevskian question about the morality of judgement and revenge. Formally inventive, written with great verve and confidence, it is a highly impressive debut.