This recommendation comes from Rebecca Bradley, who blogs at Rebecca Bradley Crime
Eye Contact by Fergus McNeill
If you look him in the eye, you’re dead.
From the outside, Robert Naysmith is a successful businessman, handsome and charming. But for years he’s been playing a deadly game.
He doesn’t choose his victims. Each is selected at random – the first person to make eye contact after he begins ‘the game’ will not have long to live. Their fate is sealed.
When the body of a young woman is found on Severn Beach, Detective Inspector Harland is assigned the case. It’s only when he links it to an unsolved murder in Oxford that the police begin to guess at the awful scale of the crimes.
But how do you find a killer who strikes without motive?
This is a very clever novel that manages to drag you in and hold you hostage as Robert Naysmith plays his ‘game’. The game being that when he decides to start the clock, the first person who looks him in the eye will be the person he kills. But, that person has 24 hours to live first as Naysmith likes the hunt: to find the person again after 24 hours have passed, with the person being hunted completely unknowing.
Naysmith is a clever articulate man. He holds down a whole other life: a great job and a home with a beautiful partner whom McNeill manages to show you the intricacies of Naysmith’s emotional checks and balances as he maintains this relationship and how this itself plays out.
There’s also Detective Inspector Harland who is struggling with his own loss while hunting Naysmith. And though there are chapters with Harland in them and the police in general making an attempt to capture this killer, this is not a police procedural by any means. In fact the police aspect takes a back seat most of the time.
The whole book is hypnotising. It’s the only way I can describe it. I had to keep turning the pages because the language used and human frailty captured was just riveting. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next novel by McNeill.