The Storykiller by Humfrey Hunter

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The Storykiller by Humfrey Hunter

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Category: Crime
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: Jack Winter covers up stories for the rich and famous, but when murder is involved even his skills may not be up to the task. Join him in this intriguing thriller that has a couple of dumps in the pacing.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 328 Date: September 2016
Publisher: Silvertail Books
ISBN: 9781909269378

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The first rule of Super Injunctions is that you don't talk about Super Injunctions. These powerful legalese prevent the likes of you, me and the papers talking about certain stories. The rich, powerful and meaningless use them to stop the type of tittle tattle that fuels a million conversations at work, but what do you do if you are not rich, powerful or meaningless enough to afford a Super Injunction? Perhaps you can hire someone called a Storykiller who specialises in quashing rumours.

Jack Winter is one such Storykiller. Formally a tabloid journalist he has since jumped over to the other side and acts as a freelance agent for people of means who want to keep a story out of the papers. His prior knowledge of how the paparazzi work means that he has yet to have a story leak. However, when he is tasked with hiding a story for an up and coming politician, even his talents may not be enough as murder becomes involved.

It is always strange reading about competent characters as you are often introduced to them in their most incompetent moments. Reading about a successful Spin Doctor is ok, but watching them squirm is much more fun. This is the problem that Humfrey Hunter hits immediately in The Storykiller as Jack Winter is meant to be the best, but in this particular story he is not.

Winter is all about spin and this includes how he presents himself. To the outside world be projects confidence, but we are inside his head and we see the fears and inadequacies. This is a great way of adding depth to the story and you do get to know Winter. However, the events of Storykiller unravel quickly and make you question how good Winter ever was. The situations at the start of this book should not be unusual to Winter, so how come he messes up continuously? It makes it hard to believe his hype and in turn one of the central conceits of the story – that he is the best.

Putting the merits of Winter to one side, the story is an interesting one that mixes contemporary issues of politics and the involvement of the private sector. There are also some good thriller moments. The third quarter is particularly excellent when the book suddenly picks up speed and events come thick and fast. However, this is not to last and the slight plodding pace returns to leave an unsatisfactory ending. Hunter also suffers from a case of the Basil Expositions when he has two characters talking to one another just to lay out the plot to the reader.

There is enough intrigue and political snap to The Storykiller to make it an entertaining read. The insight into how politicians, the press, the private sector and the spin doctors are all trying to pull the wool over one another eyes is interesting. This is a debut novel by Hunter so he can build on the experience of this outing and think about structure and pacing more for an inevitable sequel.

This book has the feel of an espionage thriller so why not try one from a master? The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre. Try The Insider by Piers Morgan for an insight into the world of Tabloid Journalism.

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Buy The Storykiller by Humfrey Hunter at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Storykiller by Humfrey Hunter at


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