Monday, 17 February 2020

Killing Them With Kindness by Andy Paulcroft + #Giveaway

Killing Them With Kindness by Andy Paulcroft
Published on the 15th November 2019.

K for my 2020 Alphabet Soup Challenge

Deirdre Cossette is the self appointed carer for the elderly on The Avenue and all of her friends have stories to tell. Margery, whose comfortable life was destroyed by a knock on the door. Stan, who made a mistake as a young footballer which cost him his friends and his self-respect. Marina, whose slim and stylish figure hides a terrible secret from the summer of Live Aid. And, Oliver and Archie, who have survived everything from post war homophobia to a family tragedy – and they have done it together.

Deirdre believes that everyone should have a choice. If they want to live on a diet of cakes, drink the alcoholic equivalent of a small hydrotherapy pool, or take on a toy boy lover in spite of a dodgy heart, Deirdre believes it is their right to do so. If they remember her in their wills afterwards, that’s not her fault, is it? However, not everyone agrees with her.

When disgruntled relatives from the present meet up with disgruntled ghosts from her past, Deirdre discovers the cost of being kind.

One aspect of book blogging that I particularly love is unexpectedly discovering books that, while they seem to bear no relation to each other, actually explore similar topics but through very different narratives. Killing Them With Kindness and my previous read, Mile Marker 139, are a perfect example of this. Loneliness and social isolation were major themes of Mile Marker 139 and alleviating end-of-life isolation is the central theme of Killing Them With Kindness. I loved how Andy Paulcroft manages to tackle such an emotionally fraught subject in a humorous way, yet without ever appearing disrespectful to the outlandish characters he created. His humour is very British with lots of silliness thrown in, the style reminding me of Charlie Laidlaw's Love Potions so fans of Laidlaw's work may well enjoy Paulcroft and vice versa.

Our heroine, Deidre, is simply wonderful! A large, vividly clothed woman with a heart of gold, she is the hub around which the rest of the novel unfolds and, with so many larger-than-life characters clamouring for our attention, she needed her distinctive voice in order to fulful this central role. Her friends and lame-duck projects - often the very same people - interlink through various events, often with observant Deirdre giving them a good shove in the 'right' direction, and I can't begin to imagine how tricky it must have been for Paulcroft to map out all the individual timelines. Imagine a kitten with a ball of wool to give you an idea of the complexity! Sometimes I did lose track of whose irate relatives were whose. I did like the periodic time jumps to focus on each character's back story. By the time Deirdre appears in their lives, Margery, Stan, Marina and Deirdre herself seem resolutely settled into their self-destructive behaviours, so seeing the life events which led each of them to that point allowed me to really understand and empathise with their choices. The humorous caricatures regain their poignant humanity.

Behind the entertainingly implausible antics that lead this story, there is a serious social commentary about how elderly people often find themselves isolated. Families move away, personal mobility is limited, and friends or partners die. In Killing Them With Kindness, Deirdre takes the view that a long life has little value if it has no enjoyment so gives her ailing pensioners the treats they crave - even when the calories, for example, or the alcohol will end their lives more quickly. Her ambiguous morality is an interesting question to ponder - and means, I think, that Killing Them With Kindness would lead to energetic book club discussions! 

Meet the author   

Andy Paulcroft grew up in Weston-super-Mare, and his love of books started when he borrowed his sister’s copy of Five Run Away Together and exaggerated a minor illness in order to finish reading it. He has since worked as a chef in France, Switzerland, Corsica and the North Highlands of Scotland before settling as a catering manager at a boarding school in Dorset. After many years of writing two to three chapters of a book before discarding it, he finally published his first novel Postcards From Another Life – in December 2017. The wonderful feeling of completing a novel was only surpassed by receiving a positive reaction from people who had read it. He retired from catering and recently published his second novel Killing Them With Kindness. He is now working on his third book.

Author links: 
Facebook ~ Twitter

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

Win a signed copy of Killing Them With Kindness by Andy Paulcroft
Open INT until the 27th February.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Etsy Find!
by Becka Griffin in
Liverpool, England

Click pic to visit Etsy Shop

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Andy Paulcroft / Humorous fiction / Books from England


  1. In this world of constant competition, it is difficult to survive as a self-pub author. Every detail matters and getting reviews is a big part of my marketing strategy. I ordered a few reviews from to get more visibility and sales this Christmas season..

    1. Clara's strategy obviously doesn't actually work as proven by her repeated desperate spamming of my blog with these out-of-date messages!
      I've not deleted this in the hope that allowing one to remain might induce her to fuck off. Genuine visitors however please DO NOT click the link. I don't know what spammy nastiness it might lead to.

    2. I'm so glad I read this as I was about to click the link... not good.
      As for the book, I think the cover is cute!