The Kind Worth Killing: A Novel

( 13 )

Overview

A devious tale of psychological suspense involving sex, deception, and an accidental encounter that leads to murder. Fans of Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train will love this modern reimagining of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Train from the author of the acclaimed The Girl with a Clock for a Heart—which the Washington Post said “should be a contender for crime fiction’s best first novel of 2014.”

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the ...

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The Kind Worth Killing: A Novel

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Overview

A devious tale of psychological suspense involving sex, deception, and an accidental encounter that leads to murder. Fans of Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train will love this modern reimagining of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Train from the author of the acclaimed The Girl with a Clock for a Heart—which the Washington Post said “should be a contender for crime fiction’s best first novel of 2014.”

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start—he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit—a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a cliché.

But their game turns a little darker 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.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse. . . .

Back in Boston, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they begin to plot Miranda's demise. But there are a few things about Lily’s past that she hasn’t shared with Ted, namely her experience in the art and craft of murder, a journey that began in her very precocious youth.

Suddenly these co-conspirators are embroiled in a chilling game of cat-and-mouse, one they both cannot survive . . . with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2014-12-20
A chance airport meeting between strangers sets in motion a Strangers on a Train-inspired murder plot. During a delay at Heathrow, wealthy Boston businessman Ted Severson shares drinks with fellow American Lily Kintner, an archivist at a small Massachusetts college. One thing leads to another, but instead of sleeping together, the two confess their deepest secrets: Ted wants to kill his two-timing wife, Miranda, and Lily wants to help him. In case the Patricia Highsmith connection isn't blatant enough, Swanson (The Girl With a Clock for a Heart, 2014) shows Lily reading The Two Faces of January—"not one of her best"—in the airport. While the title implies that Ted's (and Lily's) enemies are the kind worth killing, the reader almost immediately decides it's the cold, heartless protagonists who should ultimately get the ax. Miranda is indeed cheating on Ted with Brad Daggett, the handsome and dim contractor who's building the couple's extravagant Maine vacation home, yet it's hard to feel sorry for a man who tells a complete stranger that he fantasizes about killing his spouse, let alone a woman who openly encourages such behavior. Lily's past is slowly, predictably revealed, and we discover her penchant for violence, but instead of making her character more complex, it merely becomes another layer of frustration. While there are twists, most of them are so clearly telegraphed that only the most careless of readers won't see what's coming, especially since Swanson needlessly doubles back over the same events from different points of view.
Mysteryplayground.net
“Grabbed me right from the beginning, and kept me hooked until the end. . . . The author did a great job pulling off a difficult challenge and writing style. The uniqueness of this, and the skill with which it was executed, made for a really great book.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“This devilishly clever noir thriller [has] head-spinning surprises that make it an intoxicating read. . . . The book will inevitably earn comparisons to Gone Girl. . . . This one makes good on the promise, right down to the chilling final paragraph.”
Boston Globe
“A fun read, full of switchbacks and double crosses… With classic misdirection, Swanson distracts us from the details - changing up murderers and victims fast enough to keep us reading. And, implausibly, rooting for the cold-blooded killer at this thriller’s core.”
Shelf Awareness
“Suspenseful twists and turns, expert pacing and a breathless race to a surprise ending. . . . [A] captivating, powerful thriller about sex, deception, secrets, revenge, the strange things we get ourselves wrapped up in, and the magnetic pull of the past.”
Bookreporter.com
“THE KIND WORTH KILLING . . . meets and exceeds the high-water mark that its predecessor established. . . . The floor underneath the novel doesn’t just shift, it turns upside down. . . . This top-notch thriller has enough twists and surprises for three books.”
Huffington Post
“A wicked tale full of wicked characters... Sublime writing and more than a few sit-up-straight surprises.”
Sunday Times (UK)
“From its initial nod to Strangers on a Train onwards, this is a homage to Patricia Highsmith, but in some ways it outdoes the queen of queasy in sheer nastiness. . . . [Swanson] continually juggles narrators and pulls off surprises.”
Financial Times (UK)
“His central premise may be borrowed from Strangers on a Train, but Swanson takes the notion in some truly startling directions, excelling in the vividly etched characterisation of his protagonists. . . . But what makes The Kind Worth Killing so enjoyable is the beautifully constructed plotting.”
Big Issue (UK)
The Kind Worth Killing has made me fall in love with plot twists again. . . . A brilliantly written thriller with a heart of darkness, executed with great skill and style. Seriously impressive writing.”
Bookseller (UK)
“A devilishly twisty plot, with some gasp-inducing moments. And the ending is terrific.”
Daily Mail (UK)
“[Lily] becomes my favourite sociopath—and believe me, there are plenty of them in this very convincing, tightly-plotted novel of revenge and betrayal. . . . Very entertaining.”
Tatler (UK)
“Peter Swanson has updated Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train for the new millennium...This is a well written and highly accomplished thriller… You cannot fail to be captivated by this book.”
Good Housekeeping
“A terrifically hypnotic page-turner that marks Peter Swanson as an exciting new talent.”
Sunday Mirror (UK)
“Nothing and no one are as they first appear in this deliciously twisted and devious thriller… A classy, slick and stiletto-sharp thriller that builds to a nerve-shredding climax.”
BBC Radio 4 (UK)
“[There are] many surprises in a plot that twists and turns like a jack-knife.”
Shortlist (UK)
“A dark tale of an affair that ends in murder, with a number of Gone Girl-esque twists along the way.”
BookPage
“An intricate tale of murder planned and plans gone hopelessly awry. . . . There are Hitchockian overtones, as well as the sort of last-page narrative tweak that would undoubtedly bring a Mona Lisa smile to Sir Alfred’s usually taciturn countenance.”
Booklist
“A twisty tale of warring sociopaths [and] a good companion to similar stories by Laura Lippman and Gillian Flynn.”
Upcoming4me.com
“Might be first truly unputdownable book of 2015. . . . A whole plethora of gasping surprises and gutting reveals that’ll will keep you on the edge of the seat all to the end. . . . An addictive and seductive read. . . .Simply brilliant stuff.”
Entertainment Weekly
“The next Gone Girl? . . . There aren’t just two unreliable narrators, there are four. There isn’t just one enormous, game-changing twist. Try three. . . . You’ll also lose count of all the sociopaths . . . they’re each deranged but oh-so-compelling.”
Lee Child
“Chilling and hypnotically suspenseful … could be an instant classic.”
Joe Hill
“A work of lovely violence and graceful malevolence, The Kind Worth Killing slips into your life like a stiletto in the ribs. This is a book that launches Peter Swanson straight into the ranks of the killer elite, alongside Tana French and Gillian Flynn. He’s the real deal.”
Sophie Hannah
“Gripping, elegantly and stylishly written, and extremely hard to put down!”
Chris Pavone
“Filled with double-timers and double-crossers, cold-eyed stalkers and cold-blooded murderers, The Kind Worth Killing paints a riveting, disturbing picture of marriage gone horribly awry, with no shortage of startling surprises. If you’re engaged to get married, by all means read something else.”
Nelson DeMille
“An extraordinarily well-written tale of deceit and revenge told by a very gifted writer. . . . The characters [] seem normal on the outside, but are deliciously abnormal on the inside. The twists are not just in the plot; they are also in the heads of the plotters.”
Library Journal
09/15/2014
Swanson's rivetingly creepy The Girl with a Clock for a Heart was declared crime fiction's best first novel of 2014 by the Washington Post and has been optioned for film. In his new work, also optioned, Ted Severson is flying from London to Boston when he gets into an intense tête-à-tête with striking but enigmatic Lily Kintner, finally blurting out that he could just kill his wife. When Lily coolly replies that she'd like to help, a murder plot is born. With a 50,000-copy first printing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062267528
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/3/2015
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 24,378
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Swanson has degrees in creative writing, education, and literature from Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College. His stories and poems have appeared in the Atlantic, Mysterical-E, Vocabula Review, and Yankee Magazine. He lives with his wife in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is at work on his second novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 14, 2015

    In a few short words, this is one of the best I've read in a lon

    In a few short words, this is one of the best I've read in a long time! Grabs you from the 1st page & does not let go till the last page. I highly recommend this for all who like a good suspense novel!!!!!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 1, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    Insanely good book about love and revenge. Chilling, haunting,

    Insanely good book about love and revenge. Chilling, haunting, dark and mysterious. This book will pull you in from the very beginning and not let you go. If you liked Gone Girl, then you will also like this book. More twists than a plate of spaghetti. Read it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2015

    Great Read

    This was a great story. I loved how it was written from different perspectives and kept me guessing until the last page...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2015

    Hard to top this one.

    Awesome book. Constant unexpected twists and turns! I had a hard time putting this one down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2015

    Really entertaining book

    Highly recommend this one.










    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2015

    Don't bother

    Pretty forgettable book. Most of the characters were unlikable. The story was unbelievable and poorly written.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 23, 2015

    Honestly I would give this a 4.5, but that is not an option  I t

    Honestly I would give this a 4.5, but that is not an option 
    I tore through this book in two days. I read reviews stating the twists in the plot were predictable. I thought the opposite. I was amazed every time the book took another unexpected turn. I simply could not put it down. 
    I enjoyed hearing from several different narrators. Each of the characters were interesting in their own way, especially Lily. Although you cannot trust any of them, it is interesting to see things from their point of view. I felt their voices added to the mysterious tone of the story.
    The pace of the story was my favorite part about it. Unlike most crime novels, this one did not get lost in the petty details of the investigation. I often find myself bored at some point in most crime novels because there is not enough action. This is not the case in this book.  
    My only complaint is that the characters drew conclusions about events and made connections to people that were rather impossible.  After a murder would happen they would wonder if a long lost person they once knew had something to do with it. This seemed a little unrealistic. 
    Overall, this is a must read for those who enjoy fast paced psychological thrillers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2015

    Great read!

    Very suspenseful. I loved this book. Hated the end!

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  • Posted March 13, 2015

    dont recomend

    Not belivable story.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2015

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2015

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2015

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2015

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews

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