Thursday 22 September 2022

Book Review (Blog Tour) | The Killing Code by Ellie Marney

Publication Date: 20th September 2022 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Netgalley ARC
Target Audience: Young Adult

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Virginia, 1943: World War II is raging in Europe and on the Pacific front when Kit Sutherland is recruited to help the war effort as a codebreaker at Arlington Hall, a former girls’ college now serving as the site of a secret US Signals Intelligence facility in Virginia. But Kit is soon involved in another kind of fight: Government girls are being brutally murdered in Washington DC, and when Kit stumbles onto a bloody homicide scene, she is drawn into the hunt for the killer.
To find the man responsible for the gruesome murders and bring him to justice, Kit joins forces with other female codebreakers at Arlington Hall—gossip queen Dottie Crockford, sharp-tongued intelligence maven Moya Kershaw, and cleverly resourceful Violet DuLac from the segregated codebreaking unit. But as the girls begin to work together and develop friendships—and romance—that they never expected, two things begin to come clear: the murderer they’re hunting is closing in on them…and Kit is hiding a dangerous secret.


My Thoughts

"But the largest percentage of code is broken by a group of people working together. It's the power of a collective bunch of brains."   

I've always been wary of YA mysteries as I tend to find some of them too predictable and to have a lack of cohesiveness but The Killing Code reminds me why I keep picking them up because you do come across gems like this one. 

We follow a group of young women working as codebreakers during the Second World War who find themselves hunting a serial killer. My first thoughts after finishing this book was pure satisfaction. It was just so good, I was completely hooked the entire time and I finished it way quicker then I was expecting to. 

I'm not overly familiar with codebreakers and that part of history particularly in the US. I thought it was such an interesting setting though, Arlington Hall being a base during the war effort. Using it as the backdrop for the mystery side of the plot really elevated it and you can tell a ton of research was done by the author for authenticity. Those glimpses into the lives of the girls, from what they wore to the long hours spent hunched over numerous codes, was equally fascinating and has made me want to go away and read more about these incredible women. 

Kit, Moya, Dottie and Violet are an extraordinary group of women and I loved this crime fighting team that they formed. They are all equally clever and fearless with a determination I found inspiring. They work together so well and it was lovely to see how supportive they all of are of each other and the work they're doing. I also adored the relationship between Kit and Moya, a little insta-lovey but really cute!  

The actual mystery is really well formed too. Without giving away too much, it really felt like it could have been based on a true story and I would have believed you. It actually gets a bit violent at times and I appreciated that the author wasn't afraid to water it down for the audience. The darker edge gives it that extra grit and gripped me that much more. I did guess the culprit fairly early on but that didn't detract from my enjoyment hardly at all because it was so fun reading about all the pieces slotting together. 

This is a potential favourite of 2022! Such an exciting, unputdownable thriller that has me eager to read more historical mysteries. I'm so looking forward to reading None Shall Sleep by the same author now as it's been on my TBR for ages! Read it if you loved Code Name Verity but wanted plenty of murder, it won't disappoint!

Ellie Marney is a New York Times bestselling and multi-award-winning crime author who has gone behind the scenes at the Westminster Mortuary in London and interviewed forensic and technical specialists around the world in pursuit of just the right details for her brand of pulse-pounding thrillers.

Her titles include The Killing Code, None Shall Sleep, the Every trilogy, No Limits, White Night and the Circus Hearts series. She has lived in Indonesia, India and Singapore, and is now based in Australia with her partner and their four sons.

Ellie has been involved in the creation of the national campaign called #LoveOzYA to promote and advocate for Australian YA literature. She contributed to the critically-acclaimed Begin End Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, and co-runs the popular #LoveOzYAbookclub online. She also co-coordinates an online info-sharing group for Australian women self-publishers. She teaches writing and publishing through Writers Victoria, advocates for Australian women’s writing as a Stella Ambassador in schools, and is a regular speaker at festivals and events.

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I received an ARC copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes included in this review are subject to change. Massive thank you to Little, Brown for providing me with a review copy. A huge thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours for letting me take part in the blog tour. 

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