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Hollington, Kris - 'How to Kill'
Paperback: 448 pages (Apr. 2008) Publisher: Arrow ISBN: 0099502461

Despite the title, this book is not a guide on the different methods of getting away with murder. However, it is a gripping walk through the last 60 years of history and how assassinations can and have changed the world.

Kris Hollington looks at significant murders and unsuccessful attempts from the mid 1940s and links this with both the local and world events that followed. His treatment of sensational assassinations along with some more mundane, but lethal, attacks allows the reader to engage in a way that is rare for unsensationalised factual books. In fact, the reader can learn a significant amount of world history through the assassinations of key leaders during this period.

HOW TO KILL ranges from the very imaginative methods of poison darts shot by umbrellas to the exceptionally simple point and shoot technique of assassination. In addition, the CIA sponsored training of Saddam Hussein and his subsequent rise to power is one of the stories to emerge along with some of the atrocities perpetrated in South Africa during apartheid. Killers and their victims are examined, their motives and failings explored. Conspiracy theories are discussed and alternatives brought out with supporting evidence and facts.

It is clear that Kris Hollington himself does not support many conspiracy theories around key figures of the 20th Century, but he does explore some of their claims and has clearly researched them in some depth. He also brings up some ironic outcomes and links which leave the reader to think through some of the impacts that assassins, however amateur, have had during this time.

As someone who is not a great fan of "real" crime and likes escapist fiction, I found this book unexpectedly readable. The writing gives enough information and facts to be "educational" but with a good narrative style which makes it fluent and interesting.

Read another review of HOW TO KILL.

Amanda Brown, England
March 2009

More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 29/03/2009 14:48