Book Review: The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson


The Kind Worth KillingThe Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary: A devious tale of psychological suspense involving sex, deception, and an accidental encounter that leads to murder. This is a modern re-imagining of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Trainfrom the author of the acclaimed The Girl with a Clock for a Heart.

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. But their game turns dark when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” 

From there, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they plot Miranda's demise, but soon these co-conspirators are embroiled in a game of cat-and-mouse--one they both cannot survive--with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.



I've been on a roll this year with books that feature sociopathic characters. I'm not sure if that's saying something about me being drawn to the stories or perhaps there are just so many of them around to read of late. This year I've read about the perils of a seemingly innocuous chat with a bookstore clerk (You), expatriate ennui(Hausfrau) & now chatting to strangers in the midst of travel (The Kind Worth Killing). Good times.

This re-imagined tale of Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train had me from the start. Ted, the scorned husband of Miranda (a sociopath in her own right), is musing on revenge schemes and happens to meet Lily, fellow traveller and drink seeker in the airport lounge during a flight delay. They chat & keep chatting and eventually a plan is hatched to get rid of not just Miranda but also her cheat-buddy. Lily is pretty much the one who could give a master class on dispatching people and she relates her long tenure of doing so with great effectiveness, over the course of the story. It was fascinating to read all the points of view but hers was the one that captivated me the most. And hers was the downfall I hoped for the most. Though sometimes I was able to see things coming, I can't say I was unsatisfied with those ends. This was definitely worth the read and as such, I needed to follow up with something more upbeat as my next read. Time definitely well spent. Definitely recommended for a travel or vacation read.

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