A Book Spy Review: ‘The Next to Die’ by Sophie Hannah


The Next to dieSophie Hannah’s (The Mystery of Three Quarters, 2018, etc.) latest standalone thriller features a devilish serial killer who doesn’t just claim one victim but also targets their loved ones. 

The public is in a panic. The police are on edge. And it’s all because a killer dubbed “Billy Dead Mates” has terrorized civilians, murdering them and then going after the victims’ best friends too.

As the body count rises, a special British task force is assembled with one goal: to unmask the murderer before they can strike again. But while investigators work around the clock, they have precious little information to go on. So far, they know the victims and have learned that each one was given a white book with random hand-written words on some of the pages before they were killed. Beyond that, they have no real tangible leads to work with. That is, until a comedian comes forward with a game-changing revelation that could break the case wide open.

During her latest stand up tour, Kim Tribbeck recalls that someone gave her a small notebook with a white cover. Now, she fears that person was the killer, but not only does she not remember anything about the person, things don’t quite add up for another reason. Billy Dead Mates’ first four victims were proven to be two sets of best friends, hence the nickname. Kim, though, doesn’t have any close friends. She’s a loner, who by all accounts has her own trust issues. So the question then becomes why hasn’t she been killed yet . . . and who could she possibly be connected to that might also be a target?

Hannah does a good job spinning things initially, forcing readers to consider every imaginable scenario as to why Tibbeck received a book in the first place, but the big reveal is one that veteran readers of the genre will likely see coming. That said, the buildup is quite fun, and her smooth writing style provides an easy and fun reading experience.

Book Details

Author: Sophie Hannah
Pages: 416 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0062388355
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: February 19, 2019
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10



Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.


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