Originally published: 3 March 2022
Author: Peter Swanson
Published by: Faber & Faber
Genre: Crime thriller
Page count: 336
Reading dates: 28 February-3 March 2022
If you’re on the list you’re marked for death…
The envelope is unremarkable. There is no return address. It contains a single, folded, sheet of white paper.
The envelope drops through the mail slot like any other piece of post. But for the nine complete strangers who receive it – each of them recognising just one name, their own, on the enclosed list – it will be the most life altering letter they ever receive. It could also be the last, as one by one, they start to meet their end.
Nine people receive the same list of names – all strangers, they have no idea what the list is about but most shrug it off assuming it is some junk mail. But FBI agent Jessica Winslow is one of the names and she is determined to find out the connection between the people listed, especially after Frank Hopkins, the owner of the Windward Resort is found dead under suspicious circumstances. As people with the other names start getting picked off, the others on the list are concerned and it is a race against time to find out what connects the people on the list of names and to find who sent it.
Told from everyone’s point of view, I found it easy to keep track of the individuals – some nicer than others! I was lucky enough to receive a proof with a letter from Swanson who says he was inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None in which nine strangers are brought together on a remote island and killed off one by one. This is a clever take on that idea and I really like we got to know the person behind each name, although each chapter was stressful, not knowing if the person was going to make it to the next!
An absolutely gripping book with fantastic characterisation, I had trouble putting this down, I thoroughly enjoyed The Kind Worth Killing when I read it back in 2017 and I’m glad I got to return to this author. Swanson successfully gives life to each character – highly recommended for a cracking mystery.
Many thanks to Faber & Faber for sending me both a proof copy.
About the author:
Peter Swanson is the author of five novels, including The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, and Her Every Fear, an NPR book of the year. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian, The Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine.
A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, he lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife and cat.