The Kind Worth Killing

The Kind Worth Killing

4.4 43
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


“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

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.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Large Print
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(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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The Kind Worth Killing: A Novel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 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
The story itself was what kept me in it. The writing was just okay. The characters were all unlikable, although that can sometimes be an interesting touch. The problem was that none of them were believable. Each one more depraved and psychotic then that next, and they are all connected in some way? Seems a little too far fetched. That being said, the dialogue is witty and drives the plot. The plot itself was written in such a way that makes the reader believe they have figured out the next twist only to be completely wrong. Overall, a fun, quick read.
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.
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 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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very suspenseful. I loved this book. Hated the end!
Anonymous 7 months ago
So very, very good. If you love a good mystery/thriller, this is a GREAT mystery/thriller. ~*~LEB~*~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One the best books I've read in a while.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"My only companion at that moment was my younger self... We understood that survival was everything. It was the meaning of life. And to take life was, in many ways, the greatest expression of what it meant to be alive..." This is a MUST READ esp. for fans of mystery and psychological thrillers! I was hooked from the first page. Amy Dunne (Gone Girl) has met her match in Lily Kintner (Kind Worth Killing). The book is very well written, fast paced, and filled with twists and turns.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Decent psychological thriller. Ending was lacking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Teeekay 6 months ago
Really enjoyed it. Interesting characters, with each chapter written from a different characters perspective.
nfmgirl 11 months ago
Ted has a fortuitous meeting with Lily on a long plane flight. By the end of the flight, they are plotting the murder of his wife Miranda. My final word: This book is written in the style of Gone Girl, switching narratives between characters, so it gives you that interesting perspective of seeing both sides. First you see one side of the story and perhaps sympathize with the narrator. Then you see the other side and sympathize with that narrator. Or maybe you see things through one set of eyes and think the other person is benign, but when you see things through their eyes you realize how malicious they really are. The switching of perspectives was handled really well. Great character development, smooth writing. Then there is a plot twist that had our whole book club gasping with surprise! This was my first novel by author Peter Swanson, but I have a feeling it won't be my last! 4.5 stars
Claire17 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book ! And the twist in the ending was awesome !!
Windbigler More than 1 year ago
thedawnoftime More than 1 year ago
Great read... Extremely intense. Just when you think you know what's going on, you realize you don't have the slightest clue. Definitely would recommend to anyone that enjoys a chilling mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! Quickly grabbed me and kept my interest peaked the whole way through. Highly recommend!
4840318 More than 1 year ago
Can I just say "Wow"?!?!? FINALLY, a book that is worthy of being compared to Gone Girl. Lily Kitner gives Amy Dunn a run for her money on the psychotic protagonist front. I have been duped before into the tag line "if you liked Gone Girl, you will love ___" (Girl on the Train and Luckiest Girl Alive- I'm looking at you) only to be severely disappointed. Well, let me tell you, The Kind Worth Killing is anything but a disappointment. I was hooked from the first sentence and I could. not. put. it. down. Even when I wasn't reading, I was thinking about it. That, my friends, is the true sign of a good book. I wavered between giving this 4 and 5 stars, because it is just that good, but I rarely give a 5 start rating. I feel that people give 5 stars way too readily and I cherish that 5 star rating. In the end, I opted for 4 stars, but it is really 4.5. Without giving anything away, I really liked the ending. I thought it was apropos. That is all I will say, except- Get this book now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reminiscent of stramgers on a train
Anonymous More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year ago
I read slow and still finished this in a week.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had more twists than a corkscrew! I thought it was a great book. The ending was definitely NOT expected either!!
Anonymous More than 1 year 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!