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Book Review: ‘The Kind Worth Killing’ by Peter Swanson

Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’m going to be posting my review of Peter Swanson’s spectacular novel, ‘The Kind Worth Killing’. I recently read and reviewed his latest novel ‘Her Every Fear’ and absolutely loved it, so I just had to pick this up! So, here goes…

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‘Hello there.’
I looked at the pale, freckled hand on the back of the empty bar seat next to me in the business class lounge of Heathrow airport, then up into the stranger’s face.
‘Do I know you?’

Delayed in London, Ted Severson meets a woman at the airport bar. Over cocktails they tell each other rather more than they should, and a dark plan is hatched – but are either of them being serious, could they actually go through with it and, if they did, what would be their chances of getting away with it?

Back in Boston, Ted’s wife Miranda is busy site managing the construction of their dream home, a beautiful house out on the Maine coastline. But what secrets is she carrying and to what lengths might she go to protect the vision she has of her deserved future?

‘The Kind Worth Killing’ was released in 2015 and is Peter Swanson’s second novel, following on from ‘The Girl With A Clock For A Heart’ (2014) and coming before ‘Her Every Fear’ (2017) which I reviewed here. ‘The Kind Worth Killing’ won the New England Society Book Award and was a finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger prize, as well as being a Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller and a Richard & Judy Book Club Choice.

‘The Kind Worth Killing’ received so much positive praise – everybody loved it! Sunday Mirror called it “Nerve-shredding”, Lovereading labelled it “A perfect thriller”, Guardian called it “Smart and addictive”, and Big Issue said it was “Seriously impressive…It made me fall in love with plot twists again”. Many authors also loved the novel, such as Lee Child: “Chilling and hypnotically suspenseful”, Sophie Hannah: “Extremely hard to put down” and Chris Pavone: “If you’re engaged to get married, by all means read something else.”

I absolutely adored ‘The Kind Worth Killing’. It’s a sensational thriller/crime novel, jam-packed with suspense and filled with so many twists and turns. The narrative essentially follows the protagonists Ted, Lily and Miranda, as Ted plans to murder his wife after seeing her with another man. But not everything goes to plan…

The main protagonists in the novel are Ted, Lily, Miranda, Brad and Detective Kimball. Ted is devastated at his wife’s infidelity and is in denial, but is easily persuaded by Lily to go through with his idea of killing his wife. Lily is a complex character, who has a dark history and sees murder in a very different light to any of the others. Miranda is Ted’s wife – a cold, selfish character who manipulates people for her own personal gain. Brad is the couple’s contractor and Miranda’s lover, but there is much more to him than the reader may first think. And Detective Kimball comes into play later in the novel – a seemingly innocent character with much more lurking beneath the surface.

For Part 1 of the novel, the narrative switches in perspectives between Ted and Lily, each narrating one chapter in turn. The reader is given a thorough insight into these two characters’ lives – they are very different, but come together in the most astounding way. Part 2 of the novel also introduces Miranda’s voice, which is very interesting as previously we only see her through others’ eyes. Part 3 of the novel then introduces Detective Kimball’s perspective too, giving the novel more of a crime fiction edge as we see him attempt to solve some of the novel’s mysteries.

I personally enjoyed reading events through Lily’s perspective the most. She was the most interesting and intriguing character to me – at first I really didn’t understand her or her choices, but as we are taken through her dark past we find out much more about her. She’s callous, cold and manipulative, but she’s also likeable in some regards. She’s a complex character, and she has many secrets that eventually all come to light.

Swanson has this incredible skill of making the reader feel like they know precisely what is about to happen, but then completely reverses these expectations and throws a new curveball into play. This novel is full of twists and turns, and I found that I could never accurately predict what was going to happen. There’s so much drama and suspense packed into these 400 pages – I was on the edge of my seat so often whilst reading this.

This novel is extremely clever and sophisticated. There are so many little secrets and details which seem insignificant at first, but it turns out that everything in this novel is significant in some way. There are lots of little clues and tricks, and it’s an extremely thorough and detailed work of writing. The novel also explores many issues: such as relationships, infidelity, murder, betrayal, lies, revenge and much more. It’s a dark novel overall, and I would say that you definitely need to prepare yourself for a complex, difficult read. But that’s what makes it so good!

I’m not going to give too much emphasis to one “ending” over another here. Each Part of the novel has its own shocking revelation at the end – the kind that makes you re-read it several times in disbelief, just to check that that’s actually what happened. There were so many moments of surprise whilst reading this, and it was just an overall psychological rollercoaster! The ending to Part 1 in particular really got me, and I couldn’t believe what happened!

The overall ending to the novel will be satisfactory to readers who crave justice. For me, personally, this wasn’t quite what I wanted to happen, and I would have preferred something different – but I can see the merit to this kind of ending, and still can very much appreciate it. Things are finally brought to a close in the most shocking way, and you feel like you can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Closure is finally achieved!

Overall, I would describe this novel as sensational, gripping and extremely clever. I enjoyed every moment of reading it, and became obsessed by this novel. It has stuck in my mind ever since reading it, and I’m sure I will think about it for a long time. Swanson creates amazing characters and complex plots, and I highly recommend his novels to all you fellow lovers of thrillers/crime novels out there. For me personally, I loved ‘Her Every Fear’ just that little bit more (an unpopular opinion), but that was simply due to the ending – which I know most of you will probably love more than me anyway! A brilliant read.

Sound good? Click here to purchase your copy!

Happy reading 🙂

7 thoughts on “Book Review: ‘The Kind Worth Killing’ by Peter Swanson

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