Killing State – Judith O’Reilly


Michael North, assassin and spy-for-hire, is very good at killing bad guys. But what happens when his shadowy bosses at the dark heart of the post-Brexit British government, order him to kill an innocent woman and North can’t bring himself to do it?

The woman is rising political star, Honor Jones, MP. She has started asking dangerous questions about the powerful men running her country. The trouble is, Honour doesn’t know when to stop. And, now that he’s met her, neither does North…




I hope you enjoy it.


This morning for Honor Jones MP was unremarkable, except in one respect. She was going to die.

In a dark fleece and trainers, a black Dockers cap pulled over his ears, her killer looked like any other jogger as he waited. It wouldn’t be long now. She liked to run when the streets were quiet and the park was empty.

The day before, he watched her as she stepped out with her shiny blonde hair in a ponytail and white earbuds. She was alone. He could have told her that was dangerous. When there’s a predator about, you’re safest in the herd.

She’d eased the door shut behind her – a considerate neighbour – and, yawning, she fiddled with the iPod. He could have told the Tory MP for Mile End that she should vary her habits. That routine would be the death of her. Down the short herringbone path, through the cast-iron gate which creaked, and onto the street. Stretching out her quads, her slim leg doubled as she pulled her foot up behind her. She did the same with the other leg and then set off. Running steadily down her street, across the road, ducking under the railway bridge, into the park where small-time dealers did small-time deals, by the canal, past the graffitied lock and right into Majesty Park. By the time she was round the far edge of the lake, she was breathing hard but even.

It was there he planned to move in behind her, and, with her listening to her music, he hoped she wouldn’t hear him. He would slide the blade once through the heart, and once through the wall of the stomach, aiming to catch the artery so she would bleed out before help came. Precise. Efficient. Professional. He had been through it in his mind a hundred times, counting it out: she would die forty-two seconds after she first felt his breath on her neck under the swing of that blonde ponytail. He would be careful not to get blood on his running shoes.

After yesterday’s run, the banker who lived in the flat above hers came out as she left for Westminster. She smiled, her hand on his forearm as she said something that made him laugh, leaving him staring after her as she headed for the tube station. The police would question the city boy after the body was found. Had he found her attractive and did she reject him? Did that make him angry? He’d be appalled at her death, distraught, and then outraged that anyone would think that he could do such a thing.

Across the road, Honor pulled the front door behind her, and the watcher felt the oak thud of it. She yawned as she opened the creaking gate, and behind the privet hedge, in the shadowed doorway, he flexed his muscles. He let her go, drawing out the two purple horse-pills from his fleece pocket, chewing them, swallowing.

Thank you, Judith O’Reilly and Love Books Group Tours.


About the author

Judith O’Reilly is the author of Wife in the North, a top-three Sunday Times bestseller and BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. Judith is a former political producer with BBC 2’s Newsnight and ITN’s Channel 4 News, and, when she isn’t writing novels, she writes for The Sunday Times. Judith lives in Durham.