Book Review: The Kind Worth Killing

The Kind Worth Killing is a fast-paced, psychological thriller about all things murder (yay!). It is a story of alternating perspectives with each short chapter focusing on one character at a time. These chapters bounce all over the timeline, some focusing on a character’s history that led them to be involved with the murderous happenings and others focusing on how they’re directly involved. While the story has been compared to Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, I felt that it lacked in intensity and believability.

Book Review: The Kind Worth KillingThe Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
Published by William Morrow on February 3rd 2015
Genres: Thriller, Mystery
Pages: 312
Format: Ebook
Buy on Amazon

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 Train from 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.

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1) murder, 2) sex, and 3) mystery

This book is undoubtedly a quick and fun read. The narrative style paces the story well, and I didn’t feel as though there were long stretches of the book that lost my interest. The twists in the story are the main appeal, and there are quite a number of them. I have to admit I loved the ending. I think Swanson summed it up perfectly (yet left just enough unanswered). In fact, the ending alone bumped up the rating almost an entire star.

But (of course there was going to be a but)…

The characters were too poorly developed and implausible for me to fully immerse myself in this story. The line-up is as follows (and perhaps there’s some mild spoilage here, so maybe you shouldn’t read the next paragraph if you want a pristine reading experience):

    1. Lily is a drop-dead (ha! No pun intended.) gorgeous girl who casually murders people for hurting her feelings. She has some stupidly unbelievable notions about death, too:
      “People make a big deal of the sanctity of life, but there’s so much life in this world, and when someone abuses his power…that person deserves to die. It sounds like an extreme punishment, but I don’t think of it that way.”
      I’m sorry, but thoughts like this were so flippant and glib that it ruined her entire character for me.
    2. Then there’s Ted who is so smart and successful that he has made himself into a multi-millionaire. Oh, but then he stupidly winds up plotting murder with Lily and only questions things mildly:
      “Again, I asked myself who I was becoming involved with. Again, I told myself I didn’t care.”
      Mmmhmm. Okay, because that’s believable: someone who has never murdered anyone before doesn’t have any real second thoughts (I mean, this is one of the very few sentences where he actually questions things…and he’s not even really questioning anything)!!!!!!!! GAH. I just can’t believe someone who has worked so hard to become successful would so easily throw it all away.
    3. The other three main characters: Miranda, Brad, and Detective Kimball have small, similar issues as well, but since I’m starting to blather a bit a lot, I won’t delve into it much.

      IMG_1185 Bottom line:
      It’s a fun read. If you can get past a little bit of implausibility mixed with shallowly developed characters, you will certainly enjoy the twists and the ending.

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      Do you like books like these (psychological thrillers/murder mysteries)? What’s one of your favorites?

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