Review: The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Monday 30 March 2015
Title: The Kind Worth Killing
Author: Peter Swanson
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: 5th February 2015
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9780571302192
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
'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?

A sublimely plotted novel of trust and betrayal, The Kind Worth Killing will keep you gripped and guessing late into the night.

Beware: This book is extremely addictive and will keep you up all night

I bought The Kind Worth Killing after reading this review on Crime Worm, one of my favourite blogs and after reading it I had very high expectations for the book. I also knew it would be one that would demand a one or two-sitting read, so I saved it for when I had a couple of days off work.

I absolutely loved the premise behind The Kind Worth Killing and the opening was one of the most compelling and exciting that I have read in a long time. It had a real old school feel to it, almost like it would be in black and white if it were a movie. Ted Severson is sitting at a bar in Heathrow airport when a woman approaches him, striking up a conversation Ted confesses that his wife is cheating on him, and that he's thought about killing her. The woman, Lily, tells him that he should, proclaiming that Ted's wife sounds like 'the kind worth killing'. I could just picture the seductive way in which this line would be delivered on the big screen and found myself relieved that this story was being told by an author such as Peter Swanson, as I could imagine the 'modern day' version of two teenagers meeting on Facebook and plotting to kill off their parents, or something equally trashy.

I'm annoyed because I read a review where the idiot gave away a massive plot twist as to what happens to one of the main characters, and despite it not ruining my enjoyment of the book, it did remind me of just how cautious one needs to be when discussing the plot of a book. Told through alternating chapters from the characters that make up the book; Ted, his wife Miranda, Brad, the man she is cheating with, and of course, Lily, it is a tried and tested formula that works very well, giving the reader a real sense of each character, and what makes them tick. I found the first half of the book a little slow going, and then the second half came along and I was stunned. Absolutely brilliant stuff, it was 1am in the morning and I thought to myself, 'Yep, I'm awake until I finish this book' and then not all that long later I turned the final page, looked around the room dumbfounded thinking to myself, 'That was fucking amazing'.

I have to say that a couple of the plot twists left me wondering whether I should laugh, or whether they were just pure genius. Is this the most believable story in the world? I want to say no, yet at the same time we know just how messed up some people can be so perhaps what happens in this book isn't so unrealistic after all. Plus, it's all just so goddamn enjoyable that I honestly couldn't care less. As for the characters, did I like any of them? Not really, and I couldn't possibly elaborate further without giving details away but I did have a favourite character throughout the book.

I could easily see The Kind Worth Killing being a hugely successful movie, and having studied Film Studies in the past I found myself imagining how certain scenes would be shot, and how some creepily eerie music would be used to make those scenes even more frightening than they were in the book. As to who could play these characters, I have no idea but it would definitely have to be somebody that could do them justice.

The Kind Worth Killing is a compelling and thrilling read from start to finish, one that kept me guessing throughout the whole book and one that continued to prove me wrong with each prediction that I had along the way. I would not want to be on the radar of any of these characters. It's hard to find anything to say that hasn't been said before, I like to think if I was an author then I'd probably want to write something like this. So wonderfully messed up, but just sheer brilliance. The best thing I can do is to echo the commendations and recommendations from all the other great reviews, and urge anybody reading this review to buy this book.


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