Now, I like to think of myself as the sort of person who reads a book, watches the series or film, and wonders if anyone else saw the character differently in their heads. Viewing the film or series not with disappointment, but with a healthy level of skepticism. Okay, perhaps not that healthy, but I lean on the idea of my reading the book first.
This, however, is not the case. I am the sort of person who watches the film or binge-watches the whole series in one go, and then… thinks about ordering the book. Perhaps a time will come when I do buy the book. At a much later time, I’ll read it. Much later.
I adore the series ‘Killing Eve’. Really.
When the first series came on BBC1, Aimée was working on occasional Saturday nights. Arguably, I could have watched some of it without her, but that felt unfair.
I’m not a saint. I allowed myself the sneaky joy of watching episode one while Aimée was out to dinner with her parents, but I decided to stop myself at that point. And then, Aimée got the flu.
I did all the stuff you’re supposed to do as the caring significant other. I bought Manuka honey. I filled her up with Lemsip. I allowed for the mountains of tissues piling up around the house, and I sympathised.
And then, I switched on the iPlayer, and watched ‘Killing Eve’ from start to finish in one night. She’d stopped hacking by that point. I’m not a monster.
Anyway, enough about me. I decided, as I often do, to buy the book, and now I have read it.
Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings
First published May 2015
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Oh. My. Word.
Now, there are plenty of places where the series and the book differ. Some of the characters from the series are not in the book. Some of the settings are unexpected, and Eve is not in her forties. Okay, but that’s the lot for spoilers, so we can all take a breath.
The thing is this: the book is beautifully written. Stunningly, in fact. The landscape is rich and beautifully drawn. The characters reverberate from the page. The dialogue is snappy and clear. I love this book.
At its heart, the story is reflected well by the series. It’s still the cat-and-mouse, assassin and agent story. Even though there are plenty of characters in the series who I missed in the book, I feel able to love both book and series equally, even though they’re not the same.
I’ll include a passage I absolutely loved – a flashback to when Oxana tried putting the moves on her teacher, Anna:
“As Puccini’s music swirled around them, Oxana reached out a hand and laid it over one of Anna’s breasts. Gently, but firmly, Anna removed the hand, and equally firmly, a moment later, Oxana replaced it. This was the game she had played many times in her mind.”
Luke Jennings, Codename Villanelle, Chapter Three, page 119
Loved it. Recommended.
Go. Read. Enjoy.