52 books in 1 year. Weeks 10-14, Book 7: ‘The Kind Worth Killing’ by Peter Swanson

It has taken me 4 weeks to read ‘The Kind Worth Killing’ – not because I didn’t enjoy it, I loved it – but a few Easter egg hunts and a lot of furniture moving got in the way. I’m behind schedule to complete 52 books this year, but I won’t give up. If I read 26, I’ll be happy … an average of one every fortnight …

It has taken me longer to read ‘The Kind Worth Killing’, too, because I didn’t really want it to end. It’s one of those books I found myself ‘wallowing in’, reading slowly, not wanting to turn the pages too fast. As the book alternates the first person narratives between the key characters (and others, initially less key – but I can’t say who they are), I therefore have a tip if you haven’t yet read the book: do not flick forward to see what character might be writing the next chapter or section. Just don’t. You’ll be tempted, but don’t.

The plot starts as this: filthy rich Ted Severson meets the coolly beautiful Lily Kintner on a flight home from London to Boston. He knows that his femme fatale wife, Miranda, has been unfaithful with their building contractor, Brad, and they have had sex in the couple’s unfinished dream home on the Maine coast. Fuelled by a few drinks before and during the flight, Ted and Lily start to plot how he could kill his wife.

I found the initial flashbacks to Lily’s early life a little slow, but they’re important to the entire story, of course – and once I’d progressed past p.80, and an earlier paedophile character had been disposed of (I can’t say anymore), I was hooked, and sympathetic – in fact almost worryingly sympathetic to Lily’s idea of ‘the kind of person worth killing’.

Full of switchbacks, plot twists and the inevitable double-crosses, it’s a great thriller. It is part-Patricia Highsmith, part-Hitchcock – and part-Columbo, too, thanks to Detective Kimball’s inept-and/or-shrewd appearances, which increase as the book progresses. The way he always has a final question to ask whoever he is visiting or interviewing, just before he leaves … right up to the final pages, perhaps … but I can’t say anymore. Read it, you’ll love it.

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