The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

Hello Kittens! Today I’ve got a book that I have been raving about to my coworkers for several days now. It’s a brand new thriller that’s just published today from an established author. If you read Michelle McNamara’s fantastic true crime book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, you’ve probably wondered if the Golden State Killer ever read her book. Catherine Ryan Howard takes that concept and gives it to us in book form here. This was one of those books that made me want to read faster because I just couldn’t get through it fast enough.

Title: The Nothing ManThe Nothing Man

Author: Catherine Ryan Howard

Author website:

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Publish date: August 4, 2020

ISBN: 9781538519738

Buy the Book: Amazon, Barnes and Noble


Twenty years ago, Eve Black was the sole survivor of a brutal attack that left the rest of her family dead. She was 12 years old at the time and has very few memories of the night in question. Eventually, the murders are linked to the work of a serial killer that has become known as “The Nothing Man”. He is known as the Nothing Man because the police have nothing on him. No DNA, no evidence, no reliable witness accounts.

Eve hasn’t spoken out about what happened that night. She has led a life that was sheltered from the horrors of what happened to her family. The Nothing Man went dormant after murdering her family and he was never caught. As Eve gets older, she can no longer stand by and deny that this event changed her life forever. She can longer stand to live in a world where everyone seems to have accepted the fact that this man will not be caught. She can’t stand to think that no one is looking for him. So she comes up with a plan, and she writes a book.

“The Nothing Man” is the title of Eve Black’s memoir of her experiences that night and of those of the other victims and their families. In writing it, she reveals her true self to the world, but she also issues the world a challenge. She pleads with them to help her find this man, to take what her book reveals about him and his methods and to come forward with new information.

The story that is told here is of what happens when the Nothing Man picks up Eve’s book and begins reading. He wants to see how she remembers that night and what she has uncovered about him. He wants to make sure that she isn’t getting any closer than the police ever did. The reader experiences the book as the Nothing Man does, by reading it along with him.

Why I liked it:

Howard takes a concept that I wondered about myself and explores it to the end. I have often wondered if the Golden State Killer read Michelle McNamara’s book and worried that it would lead to his capture. With The Nothing Man, readers are treated to a new take on the serial killer perspective.

There were a few twists that I definitely did not see coming, but even those that I did were satisfying to read.

I also really appreciated the focus that the story puts on victims and their families while also acknowledging the fascination that serial killers hold for the general public.

What I would like to change:

I don’t know if I was just anxious to keep reading or not, but the pacing for the first 50% of the book felt a little slow. This is one of those things that happens when a book starts with an ending and then works its way back, but I can also appreciate that Howard puts us deep into the mind of this serial killer.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced electronic copy of this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My library rating: There are some gruesome descriptions in this story of assault, rape, and violence. I don’t believe that they are needlessly graphic, but it would be triggering for some people.

lemonade_iconlemonade_iconlemonade_iconlemonade_icon4 glasses of lemonade= a book you could recommend to a book group or anybody who reads.  You might find controversial subject matter, but it is handled delicately.

My personal preference rating: I gave this title 5 stars. It has been one of my favorite thrillers of the year so far.

3 thoughts on “The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard”

    1. Thanks so much! I hope you pick it up soon, but definitely read “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” first. In the author’s note at the end of “The Nothing Man”, she talks about how that book did influence this one and it was so good too.

      Liked by 1 person

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