The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard #20booksofsummer2021


I was the girl who survived the Nothing Man.

Now I am the woman who is going to catch him…

Book blurb

You’ve just read the opening pages of The Nothing Man, the true crime memoir Eve Black has written about her obsessive search for the man who killed her family nearly two decades ago.

Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle is reading it too, and with each turn of the page his rage grows. Because Jim was – is – the Nothing Man. 

The more Jim reads, the more he realises how dangerously close Eve is getting to the truth. He knows she won’t give up until she finds him. He has no choice but to stop her first…

My thoughts

Written from two points of view and also as a book within a book the author has crafted a wonderful story with two very strong characters.

Jim is a security guard at a shopping centre near Cork. His life is nothing spectacular just a guy making ends meet for his wife and himself. Their daughter is no longer at home but close enough to visit. Jim takes a lot of stick but it doesn’t tend to bother him even his boss can’t do that, though he tries, because Jim has a secret. He hasn’t always been unimportant once he was The Nothing Man – a rapist and murderer – a feared man who was never caught and now twenty years later he’s still a free man. One day Jim sees a customer carrying a book and he suddenly thinks that his freedom may be put under threat. The book is about him, it has his name on the front ‘The Nothing Man’ and the author is the twelve year old girl he left behind, alive, that night nearly twenty years before. The night he retired from his ‘other life’ but now he needs to know has he been discovered? Surely not, as he’s still free. He is compelled to read the book, to make sure. As he reads it becomes blatantly clear what he must do. He must become The Nothing Man once more and put a stop to this. He must kill Eve Black.

Eve, the girl who, has lived a difficult life ever since her family – Mother, Father and little sister Anna – were annihilated one night. The night that The Nothing Man came to their home. Eve was twelve years old and has lived under the shadow of that night ever since. Taken away by her Nannie from Cork to live near Dublin to escape the horror of what happened Eve grew up with questions she didn’t, couldn’t ask her Nannie, not anyone. She went to college. She took a writing course. She kept her horror to herself. She wrote about anything other than that. Then, up against a deadline, she wrote a piece so instinctively it all came out – yes, it was fiction but it was also true and her tutor encouraged Eve to publish it, which she did. Then she was introduced to a publisher and so began the road to writing her book ‘The Nothing Man’, her search to find the man behind that name and bring him to justice.

As we alternate between the book – Eve’s true crime memoir – and Jim’s story we are given two points of view that of the perpetrator and, quite unusually, of the victim. It is the victim’s story – mainly Eve’s but also her family’s and the other victims – that is given, quite rightly, such an important and unique place in the book within this book.

The juxtaposition of the two points of view, which are very clear, tells not just the story of what happened but it shows the role reversal as the story unfolds. There are some terrible, brutal and incredibly sad things happening through the book; dark, shocking revelations are made and the ending well it felt right.

This is clever storytelling and the book is very well written. If there are any tiny issues, for me, there was nothing to detract or distract from this cracking story. It feels like true crime, as you read it feels very real and is all the more chilling for that. It is a nightmare come true and the tension builds as each crime is retold until the very last one. Will Jim remain a free man? Can a murderer and rapist remain free forever? Or has time run out and has Jim finally made that vital, inevitable mistake? Had he already made it? Will there be more victims? Will the victims be remembered? Will Eve get her justice?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard.

Book: Purchased

The Nothing Man was our latest book club read. For all information about the Virtual Crime Book Club visit The Virtual Crime Book Club where you will find links to our zoom meetings, how to sign up and much more.


Be aware! There are spoilers in the book club chat. Spoiler alert!


The Nothing Man was received very well by the book club who thought is was an really good read. You can watch our latest book club and hear from the author who joined us for July Book club chat. Thanks to Rebecca Bradley for a terrific evening.

The voting for August is open, maybe you are looking for something a little different in the Crime Fiction genre. If so why not join us? The next meeting is Monday 16th August 2021 at 8pm GMT (UK time zone).

To vote for your book comment on Rebecca’s blog. You have until the end of Friday, 23rd July 2021. You will need to be a member of the book club to get your zoom invite so please do join HERE. We’d love to see you!

Well that’s my sixth review done! Yes, I’ve now read eleven books so I’ve got some posts to catch up with. I link all my posts back to the main one and so at the end of the summer I’ll be, hopefully, not only fully read but also all up to date. Cathy’s easy way with the 20booksofsummer is why I love this challenge so much.

You can find out all you need to know about this challenge at Cathy’s 746Books and lot’s of other great book stuff. My list for this year’s challenge is on my blog if you’d like to check it out.


Publisher: Atlantic Books | ISBN: 9781786496614

Buy: | Waterstones | | AmazonEUzonsearch | The ebook is currently 99p on AmazonSmileUK and KOBO

Catherine Ryan Howard by City Headshots Dublin


Catherine Ryan Howard is an internationally bestselling crime writer from Cork, Ireland.

Prior to writing full-time, Catherine worked as an administrator for a travel company in the Netherlands and a front desk agent in a hotel in Walt Disney World, Florida. She was once obsessed with the idea of becoming a BSL4 virologist and she still hopes to be a NASA astronaut when she grows up. (She’s 39.) She studied English Literature at Trinity College Dublin as a mature student – taking the first of her first-year exams the day before the launch of Distress Signals – and alongside internationally bestselling authors Carmel Harrington and Hazel Gaynor, is a founding member of The Inspiration Project. She is currently based in Dublin where she is binge-watching Netflix, drinking copious amounts of coffee and working on her next novel.

Catherine’s website | @catherineryanhoward |Catherine’s AmazonUK page


Catherine Ryan Howard’s debut thriller, Distress Signals (2016), was an Irish Times and USA Today bestseller. It was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey/New Blood Dagger and Irish Crime Novel of the Year. The Irish Times hailed it ‘a highly confident and accomplished debut novel, impeccably sustained, with not a false note.’

The Liar’s Girl (2018) was a finalist for the prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best Novel. It was named a Best Book of 2018 by the Irish Independent and Crime Time (UK), a Best Audiobook of 2018 by Library Journal (USA) and was included in a list of 50 great thrillers written by women since 1945 compiled by the Guardian.

Rewind (2019) debuted at No. 2 in the Irish bestseller chart and was shortlisted for Irish Crime Novel of the Year. Clerkenwell Films (Misfits, Lovesick, The End of the F***ing World) are currently developing it for the screen.

The Nothing Man (2020) debuted at no. 1 in the Irish bestsellers chart and later became a no. 1 UK Kindle bestseller. It was shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger.

Catherine’s next novel is 56 Days, a thriller about a couple locked down together in Dublin, that Catherine wrote while she was locked down in Dublin. It will be published on August 17 (USA) / August 19 (U.K./Ireland) 2021.

One Comment on “The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard #20booksofsummer2021

  1. Pingback: #20booksofsummer21 – my list. – Love Books, Read Books


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