Codename Villanelle (Killing Eve): Review

We have all seen it, the brilliant TV show known as Killing Eve, but did you know that it was based on the book Codename Villanelle? Neither did I until I found it in a bookshop. I had to pick it up, and now having read it, I want to share my thoughts.


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.

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


I liked this book as it was short and straight to the point. The way the book cut between our two protagonists (Eve and Villanelle) is clean and efficient, and at no point did I wonder who we were following. I did find the four long chapters a bit annoying but on further investigation, it turns out that this book was a series of short stories and each chapter is each story.

The plot was a little bit slower than in the show (I’m sorry, I can’t help but compare the two) but it did add a lot of depth to Villanelle and removed the air of mystery about here. I quite liked this as it makes the chase more exciting. Obviously I knew what was going to happen next as I had seen the show, but I enjoyed the subtle differences.

When mafiosi kill mafiosi it’s like a self cleaning oven.

I would say this book is not as good as the TV show but it is worth reading if you can get it at a reduced price.

4 stars

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