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The Kind Worth Killing: A Novel Hardcover – February 3, 2015
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“Chilling and hypnotically suspenseful … could be an instant classic.” (Lee Child, author of Personal)
“A fun read, full of switchbacks and double crosses… With classic misdirection, Swanson distracts us from the details - changing up murderers and victims fast enough to keep us reading. And, implausibly, rooting for the cold-blooded killer at this thriller’s core.” (Boston Globe)
“A twisty tale of warring sociopaths [and] a good companion to similar stories by Laura Lippman and Gillian Flynn.” (Booklist)
“Revenge has rarely been served colder than in Swanson’s exceptional thriller....With scalpel-sharp prose, Swanson probes the nature of coldblooded evil. Few will be prepared for the crushing climax.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“A devilishly twisty plot, with some gasp-inducing moments. And the ending is terrific.” (Bookseller (UK))
“[Lily] becomes my favourite sociopath—and believe me, there are plenty of them in this very convincing, tightly-plotted novel of revenge and betrayal. . . . Very entertaining.” (Daily Mail (UK))
“A work of lovely violence and graceful malevolence, The Kind Worth Killing slips into your life like a stiletto in the ribs. This is a book that launches Peter Swanson straight into the ranks of the killer elite, alongside Tana French and Gillian Flynn. He’s the real deal.” (Joe Hill, author of NOS4A2)
“Peter Swanson has updated Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train for the new millennium...This is a well written and highly accomplished thriller… You cannot fail to be captivated by this book.” (Tatler (UK))
“A wicked tale full of wicked characters... Sublime writing and more than a few sit-up-straight surprises.” (Huffington Post)
“Gripping, elegantly and stylishly written, and extremely hard to put down!” (Sophie Hannah, author of The Monogram Murders and Kind of Cruel)
“Filled with double-timers and double-crossers, cold-eyed stalkers and cold-blooded murderers, The Kind Worth Killing paints a riveting, disturbing picture of marriage gone horribly awry, with no shortage of startling surprises. If you’re engaged to get married, by all means read something else.” (Chris Pavone, author of The Expats)
“A terrifically hypnotic page-turner that marks Peter Swanson as an exciting new talent.” (Good Housekeeping, Thriller of the Month (UK))
“From its initial nod to Strangers on a Train onwards, this is a homage to Patricia Highsmith, but in some ways it outdoes the queen of queasy in sheer nastiness. . . . [Swanson] continually juggles narrators and pulls off surprises.” (Sunday Times (UK))
“Nothing and no one are as they first appear in this deliciously twisted and devious thriller… A classy, slick and stiletto-sharp thriller that builds to a nerve-shredding climax.” (Sunday Mirror (UK))
“[There are] many surprises in a plot that twists and turns like a jack-knife.” (BBC Radio 4 (UK))
“A dark tale of an affair that ends in murder, with a number of Gone Girl-esque twists along the way.” (Shortlist (UK))
“An extraordinarily well-written tale of deceit and revenge told by a very gifted writer. . . . The characters  seem normal on the outside, but are deliciously abnormal on the inside. The twists are not just in the plot; they are also in the heads of the plotters.” (Nelson DeMille)
“Revenge has rarely been served colder than in Swanson’s exceptional thriller, his second standalone after 2013’s The Girl with a Clock for a Heart. . . . With scalpel-sharp prose, Swanson probes the nature of coldblooded evil. Few will be prepared for the crushing climax.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Might be first truly unputdownable book of 2015. . . . A whole plethora of gasping surprises and gutting reveals that’ll will keep you on the edge of the seat all to the end. . . . An addictive and seductive read. . . .Simply brilliant stuff.” (Upcoming4me.com)
“The next Gone Girl? . . . There aren’t just two unreliable narrators, there are four. There isn’t just one enormous, game-changing twist. Try three. . . . You’ll also lose count of all the sociopaths . . . they’re each deranged but oh-so-compelling.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Grabbed me right from the beginning, and kept me hooked until the end. . . . The author did a great job pulling off a difficult challenge and writing style. The uniqueness of this, and the skill with which it was executed, made for a really great book.” (Mysteryplayground.net)
“This devilishly clever noir thriller [has] head-spinning surprises that make it an intoxicating read. . . . The book will inevitably earn comparisons to Gone Girl. . . . This one makes good on the promise, right down to the chilling final paragraph.” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
“Suspenseful twists and turns, expert pacing and a breathless race to a surprise ending. . . . [A] captivating, powerful thriller about sex, deception, secrets, revenge, the strange things we get ourselves wrapped up in, and the magnetic pull of the past.” (Shelf Awareness)
“THE KIND WORTH KILLING . . . meets and exceeds the high-water mark that its predecessor established. . . . The floor underneath the novel doesn’t just shift, it turns upside down. . . . This top-notch thriller has enough twists and surprises for three books.” (Bookreporter.com)
“His central premise may be borrowed from Strangers on a Train, but Swanson takes the notion in some truly startling directions, excelling in the vividly etched characterisation of his protagonists. . . . But what makes The Kind Worth Killing so enjoyable is the beautifully constructed plotting.” (Financial Times (UK))
“The Kind Worth Killing has made me fall in love with plot twists again. . . . A brilliantly written thriller with a heart of darkness, executed with great skill and style. Seriously impressive writing.” (Big Issue (UK))
“An intricate tale of murder planned and plans gone hopelessly awry. . . . There are Hitchockian overtones, as well as the sort of last-page narrative tweak that would undoubtedly bring a Mona Lisa smile to Sir Alfred’s usually taciturn countenance.” (BookPage)
“The Year’s Best Fiction: Publishers now love to dub any sociopathic take on a broken marriage ‘the next Gone Girl.’ Swanson’s vicious little novel actually earns that comparison, but it has just as much in common with Patricia Highsmith [and] Raymond Chandler… So ruthlessly clever it’s criminal.” (Entertainment Weekly)
From the Back Cover
“Shares a lot of Gone Girl’s hallmarks but cranks up the volume . . . ”—Entertainment Weekly
On a flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning Lily Kintner. Over martinis, the strangers play a game in which they reveal intimate details about themselves. But what begins as playful banter between Ted and Lily takes a turn when Ted claims, half-seriously, that he would like to kill his wife. Then Lily surprises him by saying that she’d like to help.
Back in Boston, Ted and Lily forge an unusual bond and talk about the ways Ted can get out of his marriage. But Lily has her own dark history she’s not sharing with Ted. As Ted begins to fall in love with Lily, he grows anxious about any holes in their scheme that could give them away. And suddenly the two are pulled into a very lethal game of cat and mouse, one in which both are not likely to survive when all is said and done.
“[It] would have made a great Hitchcock movie.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Extraordinarily well-written.”—Nelson DeMille
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Top customer reviews
I thought the style of writing was very well done, and very interesting to read from a different character's point of view, and really be opened up into their sociopathic way of thinking. I will be reading more of Peter Swanson's work for sure in the future. If you like books with interesting characters, and dark plots filled with a few unexpected twists along the way, then I highly recommend reading this book. I bought it just to kill time on the plane for a short visit to my brother's house, and ended up reading this during every few minutes of downtime I could get. This was one of the best, most entertaining books I have read in a long time.
While the initial premise is not unique—what happens when both of the people involved are kind of sociopathic?! The story alternates between Lily, telling of the people she's had to kill, who were all “the kind worth killing”, and Ted, who is not reluctant to kill his wayward, and who is falling in lust with Lily.
The book is exciting, and the author does a great job of making these psycho main characters somehow appealing. SERIOUSLY suspenseful, with lots of twists and turns to keep you up all night finishing!! Definitely plan to read anything else Peter Swanson writes!! Recommend for anyone who likes thrillers, mysteries, or who is a fan of the classic Alfred Hitchcock story.
A nice set up but the follow through is weak.
Gone Girl or Basic Instinct are kissing cousins. Are there "good guys"? No, not really, except for the (minor) detective chapters. And... who cares? It's a crime novel, largely written around one, reasonable-sounding and self-justifying, psychopath. Very little gore, some sex. Good, understated, ending.
On the less-than-perfect side, I started hitting a bit of disbelief around 2/3rd into the book. Less would probably have been more, it ended up being a bit too sensationalist and contrived.
The second issue I had was that each character gets multiple POV chapters, but each expresses herself just like the other characters. I.e. the set up is with a story with 4 largely different people. But they feel the same, even if their circumstances, viewpoints and motivations were different. That wasn't a huge deal to me, but I hope the author runs with his success and hones that part a bit more in his next novel.
Overall, a very solid 4 star.