Book Review: The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

Name:  The Nothing Man
Catherine Ryan Howard
Number of Pages: 
270 (Kindle)
August 4th 2020 by Corvus
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime


I was the girl who survived the Nothing Man.
Now I am the woman who is going to catch him…
You’ve just read the opening pages of The Nothing Man, the true crime memoir Eve Black has written about her obsessive search for the man who killed her family nearly two decades ago.
Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle is reading it too, and with each turn of the page his rage grows. Because Jim was – is – the Nothing Man.
The more Jim reads, the more he realizes how dangerously close Eve is getting to the truth. He knows she won’t give up until she finds him. He has no choice but to stop her first…

My Rating:


My Thoughts:

The Nothing Man, so-called because despite a growing list of crimes, escalating eventually to murder, the police have no real leads. He’s methodical, calculating and controlled, and so eludes the authorities and eventually disappears and the case goes cold.

It’s no spoiler to say that in fact the Nothing Man didn’t just vanish, he’s been living an everyday life in plain sight, and we discover this right at the very beginning when in his job as a security guard in a supermarket he discovers a newly published book, one in which he is the lead character.

So begins the hunt for a killer and the story of a survivor of one of his attacks.
It’s quite a creepy read, as Jim reads about his own activities of years ago, entering homes in the dead of night and subjecting his victims to cruelty and torment. None of it disturbs him, either then or in the present day, where he’s playing the role of husband and father as though there’s nothing abnormal about him at all. Even creepier as the part of his mind driving him to commit such crimes turns to this new intrusion into his life, the author of the book, Eve Black, and how to deal with her.

The tension mounts as Jim reads the book, and decides how to approach Eve and what her eventual fate must be, for she’s determined to catch him, which motivated her to write the book in the first place and relive the horrors she’d tried for a long time to shut out.
I like the story within a story used here, the way the past and the present gradually play out. Things escalate, not always in ways Jim imagines, and the idea of this man who planned everything so carefully and managed to escape undetected for so many years finally not being one step ahead keeps you reading.

The way the story is told means there is no big reveal as such, we already know who the villain is, but it still delivered in terms of twists and reveals, and finding out how things would eventually be resolved, and whether the Nothing Man would indeed be caught after so many years did lead to a race to the end of the book as I hoped Eve would finally get justice and that her plan to draw out the man who robbed her of her family would work out.

15 thoughts on “Book Review: The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

  1. Calmgrove says:

    A clever approach to a crime thriller, and one which seems to be effectively carried through. And I suspect more credible with having a female author, one who will know how to invest it with the terror and menace of what could happen.


    • pagesandtea says:

      It was quite unique. I haven’t read a great deal of crime but have been reading more lately. I liked the book within the book way of telling the tale, and it definitely added to the air of menace, the recounting of ‘actual events’ to draw out the killer one last time.

      Liked by 1 person

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