Growing up, Kate Priddy was always a bit neurotic, experiencing momentary bouts of anxiety that exploded into full-blown panic attacks after an ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and nearly ended her life. When Corbin Dell, a distant cousin in Boston, suggests the two temporarily swap apartments, Kate, an art student in London, agrees, hoping that time away in a new place will help her overcome the recent wreckage of her life. Soon after her arrival at Corbin’s grand apartment on Beacon Hill, Kate makes a shocking discovery: his next-door neighbor, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police question her about Corbin, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own—curiosity that intensifies when she meets Alan Cherney, a handsome, quiet tenant who lives across the courtyard, in the apartment facing Audrey’s. Alan saw Corbin surreptitiously come and go from Audrey’s place, yet he’s denied knowing her. Then, Kate runs into a tearful man claiming to be the dead woman’s old boyfriend, who insists Corbin did the deed the night that he left for London. When she reaches out to her cousin, he proclaims his innocence and calms her nerves–until she comes across disturbing objects hidden in the apartment and accidentally learns that Corbin is not where he says he is. Could Corbin be a killer? What about Alan? Kate finds herself drawn to this appealing man who seems so sincere, yet she isn’t sure. Jet-lagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination full of dark images caused by the terror of her past, Kate can barely trust herself, so how could she take the chance on a stranger she’s just met?
The Kind Worth Killing is still one of those books I keep recommending to almost everyone. It was twisty and lots of fun, and it also had a great ending… And yes, it was also a rarity: a book where I didn’t like anyone yet I loved everything that was going on. Needless to say, I was quite excited to read Peter Swanson’s new novel: Her Every Fear.
I saw others reviews that stated that this was a very different book, that it didn’t have anything in common with The Kind Worth Killing. I disagree. I though the Hitchcock/Highsmith vibe was more present than ever, and the whole Strangers on a train homage was still a big part of the story. I haven’t found other authors that feature this kind of “Hitchcock suspense” and that’s why I love Peter Swanson so much. His books are unique.
One thing I loved and didn’t particularly think I would, at first, was the structure. It was a bit chaotic (if you’ve read it, you know that’s true); but I think it worked pretty well in the end. Third person narrative, loooong chapters, multiple points of view. But keep in mind that it doesn’t actually follow a pattern and the timeline is also kind of weird. Because the story takes place in the present, but we discover important information from the characters’ past without “going back in time” as you normally would in this kind of books. So no “Now” and “Then” and no first person’s POV.
The characters were a bit more likable this time, although the story was so engrossing that it didn’t really matter. We have poor and lonely Kate, creepy-but-kinda-sweet neighbor Alan and the famous cousin, Corbin. I don’t know why, but I was also reminded of Hitchcock’s film: Shadow Of A Doubt and “uncle Charlie”. The writing was flawless and I found myself completely captivated by the story and its fascinating characters. It was never boring and the tension was present throughout.
You should know that there are no big twists, as you find out who killed Audrey Marshall at approximately 50%. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed reading about the twisted past story and how it all started. I had my suspicions about a certain character and I was right, but I still think this was a smart and stylish noir novel. My only complaint is that when you reach about 75%, there aren’t many surprises left and the plot can become a bit too predictable. Although I might have loved TKWK more, this one was equally engaging.
Edelweiss, William Morrow, 2017