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Publisher's Summary

She is the perfect assassin.

A Russian orphan, saved from the death penalty for the brutal revenge she took on her gangster father's killers.

Ruthlessly trained. Given a new life. New names, new faces - whichever fits.

Her paymasters call themselves The Twelve. But she knows nothing of them. Konstantin is the man who saved her and the one she answers to.

She is Villanelle. Without conscience. Without guilt. Without weakness.

Eve Polastri is the woman who hunts her. MI5, until one error of judgment costs her everything.

Then stopping a ruthless assassin becomes more than her job. It becomes personal.

©2018 Luke Jennings (P)2018 W. F. Howes Ltd

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What listeners say about Codename Villanelle

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My favorite books I have bought from Audible!

I got into this writer's work after watching the stellar TV show "Killing Eve". What I really loved was that although the TV and book's main characters are very alike, the stories are different. The book isn't just a complex rehashed screenplay version of the show. You can read and watch both, and not be experiencing the same stories. Although the show borrows heavily from the books environment and main characters, many parts and stories about Villanelle and Eve are different. To be honest, some of the killings Villanelle carries out in the book, couldn't even be on TV. I was excited about how the characters seem so human; real, confused and conflicted about things they feel they have to do regardless of their feelings. The moral quandary for both the hero and villain, protagonist and antagonist, is fascinating. The narrator was perfect for the story. Her expression, variation and pacing of the storytelling and characters and moods made me feel it was really happening. I went through both audio books "Codename Villanelle" and "No Tomorrow" in less than a week! I often lose interest in a so-so book and never finish them, so this isn't typical for me. Dark, deep, character driven, gritty and engaging books and well worth the money. Hope we'll see more like this soon. I have read a lot of suspense, but there is something unique about the world Jennings creates that draws you into it and you don't want to leave.These are my favorite books I have bought from Audible!

18 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Four and a half stars for WHAT?

Male authors, here's a tip. DON'T WRITE FROM A FEMALE PERSPECTIVE. Please. I beg you. Luke Jennings' spy/assassin novel has two main characters: Villanelle, the sociopathic Russian ex-convict turned assassin. And Eve, the frumpy yet persistent British detective committed to finding the lady assassin and bringing her to justice. What's going on with these characters? Well, one is sexy with cute clothes. The other is dowdy with cheap clothes. What do they eat? One eats champagne and sushi and caviar, the other is ashamed she doesn't cook. One has no feelings. The other feels guilty that she's solving international crime instead of playing bridge with her husband's friends. Other character traits? Uh . . . none. Because all women think about, apparently, is how they look, what they're wearing, and work. I just summed up the entire character development in one paragraph. Here's a summary of the entire plot: Villanelle kills people. Eve tries to figure out who she is. The reader gets to find out why she kills her first target - a mafioso, but apparently it's not important whom her future quarries are. She just kills them in clever ways, all of which involve her outfits in some way or another. This could have been SUCH an amazing story, with rich psychological detail and motivations and some real dimension to both female characters. Nope. Guess not. The audible narrator is a monotone Brit whose voice varies so little that the listener isn't sure if someone's being murdered or putting on makeup. What a waste of a credit.

6 people found this helpful

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very exciting and different from the show

the plot is far more complex in this book than in the show. the characters are also very different

6 people found this helpful

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Awesome

I watched the show before I had the pleasure of reading the book. The show was so great that when I heard there was a book series for them I didn’t wait to get a copy of them both. The book has similarities to the show but the book is more sexual and has more details in certain things that the show leaves viewers to wonder about. The show only took certain parts from the book so don’t think because you read the book it will spoil the show or vice versa. I recommend this book to all killing eve fans, it was truly a great read!

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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the show is way better

the book is nowhere near as interesting as the show which is surprising cuz usually everyone says the book is better but not in this case

4 people found this helpful

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Not the Same as the TV Show -- But Worthwhile!

I thought I would read the gook after watching Season 1 on Hulu. I am glad to say that it is not a duplicate of the show's storyline and, if you like the characters on the show, you should enjoy the book. My problem is that Villanelle is "beautiful" but has a visible scar. When in fact to be unnoticeable, it is best to not stand out in any way. Take a look at most models without make-up -- very plain. But it is their ability to be "transformed" that makes them stars. If Villanelle is trying to become an assassin who is internationally known but elusive -- like the Jackal -- this story-line makes sense. And I enjoy Eve's home life. She is accessible and understandable. However, both women need a little more fleshing out in the books and need more twists in the book like the TV show has. I don't like to know where a story is going before the writer gets there, and some of the scenes in the book I can predict too easily. The narrator has a bit of a hard time keeping accents straight, which becomes a bit irritating. Other than that it is a good performance.

8 people found this helpful

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skip it

if you want mindless sex and violence with a sprinkling of transphobia, read this. if you want genuine suspense and meaningful characterization/character interactions, watch the show.

10 people found this helpful

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if you love the show do not read this book...

I had to check twice to make sure I didn't have an abridged copy. The book made no sense. I was so disappointed but we have an amazing show out of it so it isn't a total loss!

2 people found this helpful

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Poor writing and underwhelming plot

I normally don’t read such novels but I heard such positive reviews about this book and the fact that it was turned into a tv series. I found the writing and the plot to be extremely weak and was waiting for something to change my view the entire time with no luck. Would not recommend it.

2 people found this helpful

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Hard to follow via audiobook

Maybe I wasn't in the right headspace to listen to a very intense/detailed audiobook, but I got lost (and then bored) right away. There are a lot of characters to keep track of while listening, and the story line and locations jump around quickly and frequently. Overall, I found the story over-the-top, like a satire of a crime novel. The narrator was excellent, but the content just wasn't for me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • M. Ruscombe-king
  • 06-13-19

Gripping

Having seen the TV series and loved that, I thought I’d try the book. IMO this is much better than the TV series and is sufficiently different to have kept my interest. I’m off to download book two.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Graham
  • 04-22-20

Buyer beware

I loved the tv series( I dont watch much but this had me gripped) and the book does not disappoint in fact it is better than the tv series. However be aware this is only half a book and ends abruptly, dont get me wrong I love a cliff hanger but now I have to buy book two and at almost £20 each that seems excessive. I guess you can use credits but I still think to use 2 on was is effectively one book is a bit much. The book is fantastic, the pricing is not!!!!

6 people found this helpful

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  • City designer
  • 07-11-19

Excellent, thoroughly enjoyable. Highly recommend!

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Luke Jennings first installment of Codename Villanelle Book 1. The actress, Laura Kirman, was excellent, changing from accent to accent, and different characters. She really brought the book to life! I have also watched tv series season 1 and 2 and, the audio books, really fill in the gaps and the back story of Villanelle and Eve. I have also listened to book 2 which was highly compelling. Looking forward to book 3 with great anticipation. Great work and inspiring me to get on with my writing ambitions and dreams! looking forward to season 3 on tv, which has been commissioned!

15 people found this helpful

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  • Mariangela
  • 03-11-19

the TV series is better than the book

I left that the TV series has better character construction and is less OTT. I feel some of especially Villanelle's scenes are just so exaggerated that they become a bit ridiculous. Also, although the narrator is generally good, there's a lot of foreign words in the book and I'm Italian-French and feel a bit annoyed that so many are mis-pronounced. I completely understand it's very difficult to pronounce foreign words, but I felt like there hadn't been enough attention/research to how they are supposed to be pronounced and instead it was kind of just 'winging it's but putting on a French or Italian accent (I can't comment on the Russian since I don't speak it!). I literally rather hear an anglophone prononciation of an Italian word than a trying-to-pull-off-sounding-Italian-without-checking-how-to-say-this-word attempt. This happens in so many audiobook to be fair and it's frankly a bit insulting. it's particularly obvious in this mover because of how many words there are.... I feel it's worth while having a translator work closely with the narrator to get the pronounciation right, or just stick to how one would just say it in English. thanks

51 people found this helpful

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  • Stephen
  • 08-02-19

As good as the TV Series

I watched the Killing Eve TV Series and really enjoyed it. If you did too – you won't be disappointed. The entire listen is really brought to life by the excellent narration of Laura Kirman. Superb.

14 people found this helpful

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  • vs
  • 05-28-19

"Unputdownable"

Really good audio narration, storyline is richer and different to the BBC Drama. Keeps you gripped and not wanting to stop. Could have listened to in one go if ordinary life didn't get in the way, would be perfect for long travels.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Day Tripper
  • 04-16-20

I felt cheated

I thought I was about a third of the way through the book...and it ended. Will be sticking to the tv version

2 people found this helpful

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  • ligsy
  • 08-17-19

Disappointing

This started off well but soon lost its way. The end came before I even thought it had reached a conclusion. I guess it's making us all yearn for book 2! A few dreadful pronunciation errors really should have been edited out.

3 people found this helpful

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  • HarrietJ
  • 05-20-19

Fantastic

Loved the story, excellent narration. Brilliant writing. Very entertaining and vivid read. Highly recommend it.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Rhiannon Jones
  • 10-29-20

A good background

I'm a huge KE fan and the books don't disappoint. They differ enough from the show to be interesting and thrilling and the performance is brilliant. The ending is very abrupt but it just meant I had to buy book two!

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  • Geneva
  • 05-07-19

Boring af

I was really expecting some VAVAVOOM from the way people talk about the show. I really wanted to catch the book before I watched the series but this just wasn’t my thing. Some of the characters were annoying to follow and despite being short it felt like walking through quicksand from about halfway through. The sex and sensuality feels highly gratuitous, only “edgy” because it’s gay, which is funny since the tv show has been lauded as a great lgbt series (or that’s the impression I’ve had from the sidelines so far). I will now move on and watch the show!! Not as good as I had hoped.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-29-19

Great!

Very unlike the TV show if that's what you need but altogether a fun and engaging listen and pretty well narrated.

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  • Steph
  • 06-20-19

Less than riveting

I bought this after watching the Killing Eve series and was sorely disappointed. The plot is dull and the characters one-dimensional.