The Kind Worth Killing Book Review

The Kind Worth Killing Book Cover The Kind Worth Killing
Peter Swanson
Thriller, Suspense
02/03/2015
Audible
312 pages; 10 hrs 18 mins

Synopsis (from Harper Collins):

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.

 

My Review: 

Whenever my husband and I have to go on a trip, I always try to find a good audio book so that we can listen along on the drive. It makes the boring road trips go by faster. We don’t always have the same taste in books, but he’s usually on board with a good thriller. So, I usually do some research on Goodreads, find a title I think we’d both like, and then order it through Audible. The last book I ordered for us to listen to together was The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson.

This is a thriller about Ted & Lily, who meet at an airport and instantly connect. Ted opens up to Lily about Miranda, his cheating wife. Lily then offers to help Ted kill Miranda. From there, the story takes many unexpected twists and turns. The story is alternately told from Ted, Lily, Miranda, and a police detective’s perspective. Lily’s narration also alternates between present-day and background on how she learned so much about killing people.

I enjoyed The Kind Worth Killing. The story was interesting, and I liked learning about the background of each character, especially Lily. She was definitely the main character, and I liked how smart, capable, and shrewd Swanson made her. Lily was a woman who could take care of herself. She didn’t always make choices I would condone, but still there was something to admire in how calculated and thought-out her actions were.

There were quite a few plot twists that I didn’t see coming, and I enjoyed how Swanson kept me guessing. The ending was great – everything seems to be tied up quite nicely and then Swanson ends with one last surprise. It definitely stayed with me and I found myself thinking about the book and the ending for a few days after, imagining what happened after the story ended.

I gave it 4 stars because I felt the story dragged a bit at times. This very well could be the result of the audio book narrators, but it was just a bit slow for me. The backstory on each character was great, but there were some sections I could have done without, mainly because I wanted to get past the background and back into the action. Still, overall I liked the book, and would be interested in reading more by Peter Swanson. I’d recommend trying it as a traditional book or ebook. Let me know if you’ve read it and what you thought!


 

Next Up: Check back soon for my review of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline!

Bird Box Book Review

Bird Box Book Cover Bird Box
Josh Malerman
Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, Thriller
05/13/2014
Kindle
272 pages

At a Glance:

Malorie and her children live in constant fear. Five years ago something began to wreak havoc on Earth. No one knows exactly what it is or where it came from, but once a person sets eyes on it, they become uncontrollably violent and eventually kill themselves. Most survivors, including Malorie and her children, never leave their homes for fear of accidentally encountering one of these mysterious creatures. But now, Malorie must find a way to get her children to safety, and that means going outside...where THEY are.

 

I’m back! It’s been an absolutely crazy six months, but I really, really missed blogging. So I’m back and going to do my best to keep putting out reviews for you guys to read. And I’m going to start with a book I read at the beginning of this year. Enjoy!

My Review:

So, full disclosure, I’ve been on quite the post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction kick as of late. Not sure why, but the genre has really hooked me. The genre has also caused me to stay up nights thinking “what if?” and “could this happen??” and “holy crap is the end coming?!”

the-end-of-the-old-syllabus-is-near

LOL. Anyways, Bird Box was the book that first got me into this genre. It’s a very interesting concept. Earth has been taken over by some sort of creature. And whenever a person looks at one of these…things…they go crazy and end up committing suicide. So now nobody ever goes outside without blindfolding themselves. The main character, Marjorie, lives in seclusion with her two young children. She has trained them, from birth, to use their other senses so that they can function extremely well in a world without sight. She eventually realizes that it’s not tenable to continue living in the old house they stay in, so the three of them have to venture outside to try to get to a safer place.

One of the things I like most about post-apocalyptic or dystopian fiction, is getting to learn about how people live. In this new world that they’re living in, how have the daily functions of live changed? By this I mean finding food, shelter, water, etc. I just find it fascinating to learn about how people persevere through, what may appear to be the most mundane of tasks, but in reality are the actions that make the most difference.

In Bird Box, the story alternates between present day and flashbacks. I loved this because you slowly learn the events that led Marjorie to be living alone with her kids. You slowly start to see the adaptations Marjorie had to make to make life in her new reality possible. You can see the progression of events that turned Marjorie from a fun-loving woman into a hard and no-nonsense mother. This alternating format also allowed for the suspense to really build. There are two very climactic points in the narrative, and I found myself racing through the book to find out what happened.

Overall, I really liked Bird Box. There were definitely moments where I wanted more…more explanation, more back-story, etc. But, I think Malerman did a great job crafting a suspenseful story that really draws the reader in. If you’re into that delicious shiver of anticipation you get from a proper thriller, give this a book a try!

Next Up: My recap of BookCon 2015! I’ll be posting about all of the fun panels I attended, and ALL of the goodies I picked up. Check back soon!

 

The Book of You Book Review

The Book of You Book Cover The Book of You
Claire Kendal
Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
04/24/2014
Audible
384; 9 hrs 43 mins

 

At a Glance

Clarissa is a 38 year-old woman living and working in London. Through her job, she comes into contact with Rafe, the man who eventually becomes her stalker. As Clarissa tries to ignore the issue in the hopes that it will go away, she is called to serve on a Jury for a trial involving the brutal kidnapping and rape of a woman. As Clarissa goes through the trial, she begins to see that she must find a way to fight back against Rafe and his suffocating nature in order to regain her freedom.

My Review

The Book of You is the story of a woman dealing with a terrifying stalker, the lengths he’ll go to in order to control her, and how she tries to break free. Clarissa is a quiet woman who lives alone and keeps to herself. One evening, she’s coerced into going to an event held by her co-worker, Rafe. From the events that transpired that night, Rafe has built an obsession with Clarissa, and will not leave her alone. He’s constantly following her, watching her, calling her. Clarissa, unsure of how to handle this unwanted attention, is slowly unraveling. She tries to speak up to friends about her fear of this situation, but no one believes her. Her only peace comes when she’s selected for jury duty in a neighboring town. The weeks she’s in the courthouse serve as a respite from Rafe and his incessant stalking. She connects with Robert, another juror, and their blossoming friendship brings some light into her dark life. Clarissa tries to find the courage to shut down Rafe’s advances once and for all. Unfortunately, this only serves to excite him more and his horrifying behavior begins to escalate.

I decided on this book for my monthly Audible subscription pick because it seemed like it would be a fast-paced story with an aspect of suspense. (Sidenote: if you’re not already an Audible subscriber, I highly recommend you check it out. The plans are priced very reasonably and it’s a great option, especially if you commute or travel a lot. I listen to my monthly book to and from work and I love it!)

First things first, the narrator, Orlagh Cassidy, is amazing. She was able to differentiate the different voices in the book really well. Every time she spoke any of Rafe’s dialogue, it sent chills down my spine. She was able to capture all of his sliminess and treachery and really bring that character to life.

The story itself was interesting, and, at first, I really connected with Clarissa’s character. This may have been a result of listening to Ms. Cassidy narrate; thus hearing the story versus reading. From the beginning, I got wrapped up in Clarissa’s story, and how hopeless and isolated she felt. But, by the half-way point of the book. I felt that the story started to lag and become repetitive. Clarissa’s passivity became extremely annoying and I found myself wanting her to just do something, anything. From the summary of the book, I thought there would be more parallels between Clarissa’s situation and the trial she was involved with. Instead, I found the trial difficult to follow and it took away from the main plot. Also, there were some very graphic portions of the story; e.g. rape, torture, etc., that I wasn’t prepared to hear. Finally, I didn’t like the ending at all. It felt like an afterthought and, based on the ending, I didn’t see the point of Robert’s character or his storyline at all. I almost feel like I started one book, and finished a completely different story.

Overall, I liked it but definitely not one of my favorites. I felt it was a good debut effort, and I’m interested to see what Claire Kendal comes up with next.

The One I Left Behind Book Review

The One I Left Behind Book Cover The One I Left Behind
Jennifer McMahon
Fiction, Thriller
1/02/2013
Kindle
422

 

At a Glance

The summer of 1985 was a turning point in the life of Reggie Dufrane. She was thirteen years old when her hometown of Brighton Falls, CT was targeted by a serial killer. Neptune, as the killer was nicknamed by the press, would kidnap local women and hold them captive for five days. On day one, he would leave a severed hand of the victim by the police headquarters. On day five, the lifeless body of the woman would be posed by a local landmark. As the police scrambled to find Neptune, Reggie and her friends, Charlie and Tara, mount their own investigation, mainly just as a way to pass time. But, the stakes are raised when Reggie's own mother, Vera, disappears, and her hand shows up at the police department. Reggie, Charlie, and Tara try their best to find Vera, but their search is fruitless. Vera's body is never recovered, and Neptune is never heard from again.

Until, twenty-five years later, when Vera, presumed dead after all of these years, turns up in a homeless shelter. Reggie, now a successful architect, returns to Brighton Falls to take care of her mother. The police and media catch wind of Vera's homecoming, and try to speak to her to find out who Neptune was. Vera is battling cancer and experiences varying levels of lucidity. But then, Neptune resurfaces and Tara, Reggie's old friend, is his latest victim. Reggie must try to navigate her memories as well as her mother's to solve the mystery of Neptune and save Tara before it's too late.

My Review

I’m a big fan of thrillers, most likely stemming from my love of Law & Order: SVU. So, this book seemed to be right up my alley with a serial killer and a twenty-five year-old mystery. I’ve read a few other Jennifer McMahon thrillers in the past, but I have to say that The One I Left Behind was the one that most impressed me.

The story starts off with Reggie receiving a phone call informing her that her mother, Vera, has been found alive after being missing for 25 years. Right off the bat, you’re caught up in the suspense: Who is Neptune? Where has Vera been for all of these years? From there the story alternates between present-day (narrated by adult-Reggie) and 1985 (narrated by teenager-Reggie).  You’re able to get to know 13 year-old Reggie, and learn about the complicated relationship she had with her mother. The present-day chapters give you an understanding on how Vera’s disappearance affected Reggie, and how she’s still dealing with those issues. You meet a variety of characters, and it seems there’s a possibility that anyone could be Neptune.

Overall, I really enjoyed The One I Left Behind. Once I got used to the back and forth narration, I felt the plot moved at a fairly fast pace. I found myself reading as quickly as possible to try to figure out who Neptune was and what happened to Vera. McMahon drops little clues throughout the story, and it was fun to try to guess who the serial killer was. The end payoff was worth it, as I was surprised by the final twist.

The One I Left Behind is a quick read, but it packs a punch. If you’re into criminal thrillers, I think you’ll definitely be a fan!