A friend recommended this book to me after I requested a fast, action-packed read. The Kind Worth Killing did not disappoint.
The story is centered around Ted and Lily, two strangers who meet in an airport bar. During conversation, Ted reveals he’d like to kill his cheating wife, and Lily is more than happy to assist.
From there, things get very complex as their pasts become interwoven with the present. The author, Peter Swanson, also alternates perspectives from Ted to Lily with each chapter. As the book progresses, however, new perspectives enter the fray, which offers fresh insights into the overall story.
Swanson absolutely knows how to write a fast-paced story. The chapters are short, the plot races forward, and the dialogue flows smoothly. The twists and turns were very entertaining, and the book as a whole proved quite fun.
My only complaints are that the characters tended to sound the same to me. The men all seemed to have the same voice, as did the women. Their plots and circumstances set them apart, but their voices did not. None of their personalities were unique.
I also found the very last two pages of the book unnecessary. A revelation occurs that is executed in a manner inconsistent with the rest of the style, and this revelation really serves no purpose other than to suggest a sequel. As it stands, those last two pages usurp an otherwise satisfying ending.
This is a slight grievance, however. Overall, the book thrilled me for several days as I truly enjoyed it. If you’re looking for an exciting mystery or thriller, I recommend The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson.
Click the image to view the author’s latest book at Amazon.com.
Sadie and Braxton just finished their show and were in the process of turning off the lights before heading upstairs to bed. As was Sadie’s habit, she peeked out the curtains into the backyard. She never expected to see anything, but it’s something she did all fourteen years of their marriage.
Braxton questioned, “Did you say a clown?”
“Turn off the kitchen light so I can see better.”
“How about we turn on the back patio light instead?”
“No!” Sadie cried. “I don’t want him to know we see him. Turn them off, Brax.”
Braxton relented, then joined his wife at the sliding glass door. They peered through a slight gap of the curtains. The landscaping lights lit up their backyard well, and so even though the hour neared midnight, they could easily distinguish the person on the swings at the back edge of their property.
“I’ve heard about these nuts,” Braxton groaned. “I’m calling the cops.”
“What? No!” Sadie replied. “The kids are sound asleep. The commotion will wake them up and then they’ll never go back to bed. Besides, if they see this guy, they’ll be traumatized for life.”
Braxton stared at his wife in disbelief. Though he already guessed her answer, he asked, “What are you suggesting?”
“It’s a prank,” Sadie began. “We’ve seen this on the web. It’s just some college kid trying to scare us. He saw our lights on and hoped we’d notice him. Well, guess what?”
“I’m afraid to ask.”
Sadie continued, “He’s going to be the one getting scared tonight, buddy boy. How do you like that?”
“I don’t,” Braxton said. “This is crazy. It’s late. You’re not thinking straight. Let’s call the police.”
Edging past her husband, Sadie crept into their adjacent kitchen. She pulled the big knife from the block.
“Have you lost your mind?”
“Look,” Sadie said, “we’ve seen the videos. When you confront them, they walk away. He’s on our property. It’s just a knife. I’m well within my rights.”
“Actually, I don’t think you are.”
Sadie brushed by her husband again, this time in order to unlock the sliding glass door. Before she pushed the curtains aside, she asked, “You ready?”
“No,” Braxton answered. “I’m calling the police the minute he comes at you.”
“Nothing’s going to happen,” Sadie lectured as she opened the curtains. “But … leave the sliding door open, okay?”
“Uh, yeah,” Braxton deadpanned. “Besides, I want to hear what’s going on out there.”
Sadie closed the screen door, then traversed the damp grass while crickets warned her away. She ignored them.
As she approached the figure sitting upon the swings, she noticed his puffy blue wig. She also saw that, like her, he remained barefoot. His dingy jeans were patched. He wore no shirt, which exposed a stomach, chest, and arms so thin that she could make out every vein. The landscaping lights cast imperfect shadows, so when she got close enough to see the toothy smile painted upon his face from chin to ears, it unnerved her. Furthermore, he’d painted black, frowning circles over his eyes, making them appear angry and unnatural.
He hunched in the swing, but he did not sway.
Sadie came to a stop five feet from the stranger. He rolled his eyes up to look at her without raising his head.
“That ain’t much of a knife,” he croaked.
Though she fought to control her emotion, she could feel her heart fighting against her chest and a slight buzzing in her ears—a sure sign of adrenaline. She said, “You need to get out of here.”
“I ain’t hurtin’ you.”
“What the hell do you want?”
“To swing. Just to swing. I Swingin the Clown.”
“You’re an asshole and you need to get off my property before you get hurt.”
Though he still didn’t lift his head, the clown smirked. After a few moments, he said, “You gonna hurt me? With that knife?”
“If I have to,” Sadie responded. Her eyes remained fixed upon him—she would not be caught off guard. Things weren’t going the way she planned, but she still refused to let him gain the upper hand.
“You don’t wanna hurt me,” he uttered. “We the same. You ain’t the hurtin’ type. I ain’t, neither.”
His grin faded.
“Get out of here,” Sadie said. “Get out of here or I’ll call the cops.”
“Go on in and call ‘em. See what’s waitin’ for you.”
“Never you mind.”
Sadie glanced back at the sliding door. It remained open, but she didn’t remember also leaving the sliding screen door ajar. Did Brax do that?
A rustle caught her attention so she thrust the knife out in front of her before whipping her eyes back to the clown. He shifted from one swing to the other.
“Just wanna try t’other one.”
“Leave. Now,” Sadie commanded. “You can’t do this.”
The clown lifted his dirty feet from the ground and rocked a little bit.
“You’re trespassing,” Sadie replied.
“No, I Swingin. Never met no Trespassin. I know Bustin and Killin, though. They pals. They in you house right now.”
Sadie turned and sprinted across her lawn to the sliding door. She distinctly remembered closing the screen door so the bugs wouldn’t fly in—they terrified her sons. Yet there it was, wide open.
As she crossed the threshold, Sadie contemplated whether she would suffer a lifetime of regret, or simply mere moments.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental
All rights reserved. No part of this story may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews or articles.
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I found Foe at the Normal Public Library as I wondered the new books section. The title initially caught my attention, plus the fact that it’s pretty thin. I read the inside of the jacket and was sold.
This book absolutely riveted me. I read it in three days, which, for me, is very fast. I really don’t want to tell you too much about the book for fear of spoiling it. However, I will say that it is sparsely written, quickly paced, and a real page-turner.
I thought I had this book figured out about half way through it, but Reid introduces so many possibilities, I couldn’t be sure I was right until the very end. And even though I had it right, Reid managed to throw in an unexpected twist that I didn’t see coming.
If you’re looking for a fast, captivating read with a plot that will enthrall you, I recommend Foe by Iain Reid.
Written by Luke Jennings, this fast-paced, brisk thriller served as the basis for the television show. However, as you read the book, you’ll notice the show greatly enriched virtually every character.
Villanelle is still present–obviously. So is Eve. Konstantin and Niko, too. Several other characters were adapted into new characters for the show, or outright jettisoned.
The show also used the same general plot. Villanelle is an international assassin who comes from less than nothing. Konstantin is her handler. Eve is a UK agent obsessed with apprehending Villanelle. Niko is still her husband. However, Jennings keeps them fairly bare-bones. Yes, he introduces some of their little idiosyncrasies. Eve is still something of a social train-wreck. Villanelle is still a sociopath. Niko is still incredibly patient and helpful. But, we seem to just skim the surface of these interesting attributes. None of them have the charm nor the depth of their televised counterparts.
The novel is very plot driven. Jennings is incredibly specific with locations, weaponry, procedures, and technology. There is ample action that moves at a whiplash pace, but, again, the characters are somewhat flat.
I have to wonder if I’m being unfair to the book. Killing Eve is clearly such a special show, is it unfair to judge the source material too harshly in this case? Could Killing Eve’s charming, odd, wonderful characters have existed without Jennings groundwork?
Honestly, I don’t think I’m being unfair. The book was an entertaining read, but it didn’t strike me as monumental. Without the show, I don’t think it would have made much of an impression on me. Keep in mind, though, I don’t read much suspense or espionage spy stories.
Frankly, there were times when I thought the book was a little sexually gratuitous. Jennings makes a point to depict Villanelle as a sexual predator. He absolutely objectifies her and her prey. It largely felt unnecessary to me, because it is–again–dealt with at a very shallow level that makes it seem like it’s there only to shock the reader.
If you like quick reads full of detail, action, violence, and suspense, this is the book for you.
(Did you enjoy this review? Check out Scott William Foley’s latest book HERE!)
Thanks so much to Jen Weaver! She not only wrote a very flattering review regarding Dr. Nekros: Book One, but she also managed to be the first ever to do so! I am so appreciative that she took the time and effort to say a few words about my book.
I happen to really enjoy Alex Garland’s work, particularly Ex Machina. Annihilation hit the theaters and disappeared almost immediately, so I didn’t get a chance to see it until last night.
In preparation for the film, back when I thought I’d catch it in the theaters, I read the source material. (My review for the book can be found HERE.) This action proved totally unnecessary. You can watch Annihilation without reading a single page of the book and be just fine. This is the case for two reasons. Firstly, Garland stripped the book’s sci-fi elements down to the barest essentials, which made a murky plot in the book very easy to digest on film. Secondly, Garland radically changed almost every personality aspect of Lena, Natalie Portman’s character. She is far more balanced, warm, and sociable in the movie than in the book. Garland also created a mainstream background for Lena compared to what existed in the book.
In fact, Garland altered a great deal of the movie from the book. The general premise is the same, but the circumstances, environments, and characters are all very different. This is not a bad thing at all. Garland delivered a tight, suspenseful movie that kept me guessing throughout. At times it struck me as almost horror because the scenes were so intense. But, I wouldn’t call it a horror movie — not by a long shot. I wouldn’t even call it a science fiction movie, though it exists firmly within that world. I would rather label this movie as a thrilling character study.
Portman plays a complex person. Her husband in the film, played by Oscar Isaac, is equally complicated. And while I found Portman’s supporting characters a little flat, everyone must agree that Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Gina Rodriguez gave it their all. Again, it has much in common with a horror movie in that we get snippets of who these characters are amidst the suspense, but we get to know none of them deeply.
I keep mentioning horror, yet the movie is actually very quiet in many ways, which certainly builds the suspense. It doesn’t feel obligated to tell you everything going on, though much is revealed by story’s end. However, stay loose and enjoy the ride. The movie demands a certain level of interpretation from the viewer.
Finally, the special effects are beautiful. The premise is that a meteorite hits a remote area in Florida. It begins to change the life within an ever-expanding zone. This is a mutation occurring at the cellular level, so the results are pretty astounding. Garland definitely succeeds at providing lifeforms that are both exotic but also within the realm of reality. It’s quite a sight to behold.
All in all, I feel that this is a severely underappreciated movie. It’s strange and demands a certain level of intellectual engagement by the audience, but it’s also well-made, well-acted, thrilling, and unique. I highly recommend you give it a try.
(Did you enjoy this review? Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)
A checked this book out because I read in Entertainment Weekly about a film adaptation coming soon called Nocturnal Animals. Tony and Susan originally published in 1993. The author died ten years later.
The EW article made the premise sound fascinating, so I couldn’t wait to read the book. The plot is that Susan Morrow unexpectedly receives a manuscript from her ex-husband, Edward Sheffield. They’ve been divorced nearly two decades and Susan is quite established in her new life with her new husband and new family. The manuscript unnerves her because Edward’s writing is noted right away as a catalyst for their divorce all those years ago.
Tony and Susan quickly becomes a book within a book, and that inner book is entitled Nocturnal Animals. Susan’s ex-husband, Edward, has written a story in which his main character, Tony, gets involved with the wrong group of guys during a highway grudge match. Unfortunately, his wife and college-aged daughter are in the car with him, and his actions have consequences for them as well.
As Susan reads about Tony’s horrific event, she is drawn in and can’t help but wonder why Edward has sent this manuscript to her after so many years of silence. Is she meant to read something into it? Should she take it at face value, or try to decipher some sort of message?
I’m torn about this book. It starts off incredibly strong. Tony’s plight with a gang of toughs made my heart race and I literally lost track of time as I read that part of the book – it flew by!
But when that initial thrill ended, Tony’s story lost a certain amount of urgency for me. Furthermore, the book shifts in tone and begins to become very much about Susan as she reads Nocturnal Animals. We learn more and more about she and Edward’s past, their marriage, and certain things that led to that marriage’s demise.
The first forty pages were absolutely riveting as Tony gambled with his family’s life while trying to stick it to a bunch of punks. But when that primary conflict reached its immediate conclusion, I felt a little cheated. I expected the vast majority of the book to be about Tony struggling to save his wife and child, but that wasn’t the case. It instead turned very much into a character study of Tony, as well as Susan. Hence, Tony and Susan, I suppose.
I still plan to see the movie, but more on the strength of the actors involved than the story itself. Tony and Susan isn’t a bad read, but it certainly does not maintain its opening appeal.
I’m pleased to announce that I have an original short story available for your Amazon Kindle or Kindle App. Never before published, “Childhood Demons” is a disturbing tale to help you get in the Halloween mood.
Here is what you can expect …
“Henry Mansell must return to his boyhood home to handle some unfortunate business. Henry brings his wife and four year old son along, and when Henry reads his child a bedtime story in the bedroom from his youth, old demons arise.”
You can download your copy now by visiting the link:
I recently discovered Steve Hamilton and read his work entitled The Lock Artist, a book I thoroughly enjoyed. So when the opportunity arose to procure an advance copy of his latest, a thriller called Misery Bay, I jumped at the chance.
Misery Bay stars a character called Alex McKnight. McKnight has, apparently, appeared before in previous Hamilton works, but my unfamiliarity with McKnight proved inconsequential. Hamilton eased me into McKnight’s world by utilizing an organic, smooth narrative style that subtly revealed the character’s history. In fact, so seamless was Hamilton’s introduction of McKnight that I wouldn’t have been surprised at all if this was the character’s first appearance!
McKnight is a former Detroit cop who now resides in Paradise, a frigid little town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. McKnight has a long history of tragedy, one I won’t spoil here, but the man keeps a good sense of sardonic humor about him and is, by all accounts, a capable protagonist. He doesn’t particularly want to be a hero, however, and is very much at ease hanging out at his favorite bar and drinking his favorite beer.
Through a series of gruesome events, though, McKnight finds himself ensnared in a case involving multiple suicides and murders, all involving state police officers and their children. Honor and duty binds him to the case, and while he doesn’t necessarily want to take on the role of “detective,” he can’t turn his back on those in need of help. In the end, it’s a grisly affair, one that will shock you and keep you on the edge of your seat.
Hamilton’s writing style is fluid and conversational with a special emphasis on realistic, dynamic dialogue. Though there’s a mystery in Misery Bay, I’m not sure I would classify it as such. I would be more comfortable calling it a thriller. There’s plenty of action, humor, gore, and even a touch of drama which all come together to form a true page-turner. Michael Connelly and James Patterson offer favorable quotes in regards to Hamilton and his McKnight, and after reading Misery Bay I can understand why!