The Kind Worth Killing: A Novel

The Kind Worth Killing: A Novel

4.4 30
by Peter Swanson

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“Shares a lot of Gone Girl’s hallmarks but cranks up the volume . . . ”—Entertainment Weekly

On a flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning Lily Kintner. Over martinis, the strangers play a game in which they reveal intimate details about themselves. But what begins as playful banter between Ted and Lily

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“Shares a lot of Gone Girl’s hallmarks but cranks up the volume . . . ”—Entertainment Weekly

On a flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning Lily Kintner. Over martinis, the strangers play a game in which they reveal intimate details about themselves. But what begins as playful banter between Ted and Lily takes a turn when Ted claims, half-seriously, that he would like to kill his wife. Then Lily surprises him by saying that she’d like to help.

Back in Boston, Ted and Lily forge an unusual bond and talk about the ways Ted can get out of his marriage. But Lily has her own dark history she’s not sharing with Ted. As Ted begins to fall in love with Lily, he grows anxious about any holes in their scheme that could give them away. And suddenly the two are pulled into a very lethal game of cat and mouse, one in which both are not likely to survive when all is said and done.

“[It] would have made a great Hitchcock movie.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Extraordinarily well-written.”—Nelson DeMille

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Editorial Reviews

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.”
“A twisty tale of warring sociopaths [and] a good companion to similar stories by Laura Lippman and Gillian Flynn.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Kirkus Reviews
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.
Library Journal
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

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

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The Kind Worth Killing: A Novel 4.4 out of 5 based on 4 ratings. 30 reviews.
karen014 More than 1 year ago
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!!!!!
booksandwine More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great story. I loved how it was written from different perspectives and kept me guessing until the last page...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book. Constant unexpected twists and turns! I had a hard time putting this one down.
jesdoit7 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very suspenseful. I loved this book. Hated the end!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too much sex in it. Almost like the author would get stuck, and the put a sex scene in because he could. Would have been better without all of it. My opinion.
JamesS777 More than 1 year ago
The Kind Worth Killing is an Amazing novel that will send you into spiraling from one place to another, until you get to the chilling ending. The book starts off with a rich businessman named Ted, who by chance meets a beautiful young girl named Lily, who in a game of truth, reveals that he recently discovered his wife has been cheating on him. He half-heartedly jokes that he’s planning on killing her, when to his surprise, Lily volunteers to help him. What suddenly seems to be a joke, turns into a serious matter, with Lily having a dark past of murder.  The book takes from the perspective of several characters, ranging from murderers to the victims. It is easy to tell apart the personalities of the characters, as the author really brings them to life, with different reactions to similar events, and what they think of the world. However, the book also suffers from the lack of backstory for some characters, such as Ted. Still, those that do are vividly detailed, and flow into every aspect of their present actions. The overall plot is good, and unpredictable, with many assumptions changing with every chapter. While there may be an average plot twist, some of them you will never see them coming. Still, some things are questionable, such as a part where a person preposterously wonders if very old acquaintance of hers was a murderer.  There aren't many technical things, going straight into the action, which even then would truly not explain it. Most of the “action” is clever, and often times are done through deception, and the exploitation of weaknesses such as the victims’ habits and personalities.  Lots of the story is made up of flashbacks explaining Lily’s horrifying past, which is richly described. The Characters are a little generic, but with a twist, such as Lily being a mysterious, girl with a dark past, but with good intentions. Every fact counts, with people only mentioned on a minor note being revealed to be a huge factor in the story, and every minor detail plays a role in foreshadowing the future in the novel.  Overall, I enjoyed reading this great book, which chilled and shocked me all the way. With fascinating characters, and a well done plot, this is a book for mystery readers and deep thinkers.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Reminiscent of stramgers on a train
Anonymous 5 months ago
I'm not huge into reading, but stumbled on this book and it is the best I have read. Amazing suspense I read it in one day!
Anonymous 6 months ago
I read slow and still finished this in a week.
Anonymous 7 months ago
This book had more twists than a corkscrew! I thought it was a great book. The ending was definitely NOT expected either!!
Anonymous 7 months ago
What a great novel by Peter Swanson. It hooked me from page 1 and held on until the last word. It's a gripping, dark story about love, revenge and betrayal. Finished in 3 days, I couldn't put it down!
Anonymous 10 months ago
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Anonymous 10 months ago
Very entertaining and suspenseful! Highly recommend!
Anonymous 10 months ago
Quick read. Well written
walc 11 months ago
Anonymous 12 months ago
I really enjoyed this book! I loved that it was fast-paced and not too dull. This book had a lot of surprising twists, but I did feel like some of them were predictable. I loved that I didn't know how the book was going to end, and that it kept me guessing until the last page. The author does a good job of keeping you interested by switching up the narratives every chapter. I recommend this book to anyone who like The Girl On The Train or Gone Girl.
TwinkiesMom1 More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've ever read!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend this one.