The Kind Worth Killing, by Peter Swanson
I got this book for my birthday, and from the blurb it seemed like a typical thriller/murder mystery. And I was sort of right. You’ll soon see why. Right off the bat, I immediately got a ‘Strangers on a Train’ vibe (one of the most chilling movies I’ve ever seen..., but I’m getting off topic here).
Two complete strangers that happen to end up in the same place start up a conversation. A seemingly casual conversation that ends up altering their lives forever. Lily Hayward is an enigmatic stranger that Ted Severson can’t help but open up to. Every personal detail about his life and his marital problems are spilt in a second. Even his darkest secret that he never imagined he would ever reveal comes out in front of Lily, the beautiful stranger he’s inexplicably drawn to. Then again, Lily talks little and unveils even less about herself, hence making her the ideal audience. Their conversation seems innocent enough. However, it takes a dark turn when Lily offers to put an end to Ted’s problem once and for all. Ted, though initially shocked, quickly realizes she’s serious. The more he thinks about it, the more entranced he gets. Soon, he is unable to refuse. Together, Lily and Ted begin hatching a plan to solve his problem. This was no ordinary conversation, and nothing was as simple as seemed. You see, the two of them were planning a murder. A murder that would end in the death of Ted’s wife, Miranda.
Before anything can take place, a series of unforeseen circumstances leave Lily all alone to carry out the plan. And Lily wasn’t going to hold back. She has a past, a complicated one, one that Miranda had also been a part of. Meeting Ted wasn’t just a coincidence for Lily. It was a stroke of luck. A chance to get back at the woman who had wronged her. A chance for revenge. What follows is almost like a game of chess. Every player in the game has something to lose, some more than others, but something is at stake for everyone. Players are sacrificed, but it’s all a smokescreen. Nobody sees the real game. The real, vicious cutthroat game between the two queens, one that could only end with one of them dead.
Confusion. It was the one emotion running through my head when I finally finished reading. My thoughts on this book were complicated to say the least. The book concludes in an extremely open-ended way. You don’t really know what to do with it. It’s just there, for lack of a better explanation. All the twists and suspense just seem to lead to nothing. The twists themselves were slightly underwhelming. They just seemed like they were thrown in at random points to add some complication to the story. The result was messy and sort of puzzling instead. Don’t get me wrong; I did enjoy reading the book. However, after I finished it, I was gripped with a feeling of dissatisfaction and irritation.
Looking back, I realised that the entire time I had been reading the book, I had been waiting for something to happen. This book, despite all its good qualities, was missing the moment that makes you gasp. It lacked the one thing that turns a good murder mystery/thriller into a phenomenal one. It wasn’t all negative though. The characters were spectacularly written. Lily was by far one of the best written characters I have ever read. She has a level of calmness and lack of remorse that I have never seen before. Murder comes easy to her. She has a twisted brand of logic which she uses to justify her motives and it also somehow manages to convince you of her cause. Lily is an amazing example of a grey character. You don’t view her as good or evil, you don’t condone or condemn her actions. Instead you just wait to see what her next move is. You know that whatever she does next is definitely going to be interesting. It will add a twist that leads the story down a completely new path.
This book does make for an interesting and enjoyable read. It would almost be the perfect read had it not been for the disappointing ending. In my opinion, read this book if you’re looking for a one time read but don’t expect too much out of it.
© 2022, Anika Agarwal. All rights reserved.
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