The Kind Worth Killing

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

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By Peter Swanson

avg rating

2 reviews

Delayed in London, Ted Severson meets a woman at the airport bar. Over cocktails they tell each other rather more than they should, and a dark plan is hatched – but are either of them being serious, could they actually go through with it and, if they did, what would be their chances of getting away with it?


03 Nov 2015


I was surprised by this book because I quite enjoyed it though it's not my usual style. I found it kept me reading and I thought it was well plotted. I enjoyed the shifting interplay between the characters. However I thought it was very unconvincing when she managed to dispose of the unfortunate Brad all alone! I liked the ending. Helen
I gather there has been a very polarised reaction to this book; all I can think is that the world is divided into those who have daydreamed of a convenient murder and those whose minds remain untroubled by the realisation that overcoming problems often means getting rid of problem people.
I really liked this fast-paced psychological thriller with as many twists and turns as a ski slalom. Peter Swanson takes the old 'strangers on a train' idea and updates it, not least with a female protagonist. The need to discover will-she-won't-she get away with murder kept me reading: the answer is not revealed until literally the last page.

Don't read this book if you want a cosy story and sympathetic characters-- it's not, and they're not; they are indeed the kind worth killing. Diane K
I managed to read to page 137 but the energy levels have run out and feel I don't want to read any further! As a positive person I always try to find at least one positive thing in a character but with Lily and Ted this has not been possible. As these characters are so central to the book it is impossible for me to engage with the book as I do like to establish some rapport with at least one character. There has been little else in the book to distract from Lily and Ted. I decided that there are better ways to pass the time than reading about people I dislike!
Would give it a one at most! Sorry to be soooo negative. Lynda
At what appears to be a chance meeting, Ted, a business man, tells Lily about the infidelity of his wife Miranda. This leads to a trail of murder involving the main characters, who each tell their side of the story, what secrets they are harbouring, and why they are plotting to murder.
As the twists to the plots are revealed so are the twists to minds of those involved. Is one of them “The kind worth killing” and does anyone get away with it? Ann O

Very readable book, though there were too many dead bodies for my liking - there could have been a more plausible way of showing Lily to be an unusual child than her killing a man when she was still only aged around 13. Given there was never any mystery about who was doing (or master-minding) the killing, the writer did well to establish a sufficient sense of mystery about whether the culprits would be caught. The late introduction of the policeman’s perspective not only fitted the chronology but also left the reader with a sense of the police always having to catch up and being a step behind.

It seemed unlikely to me that Lily would turn Brad the builder against Miranda so easily, or that the policeman would have kept his limericks in his pocket - so some plot devices a little forced or hard to believe in. Ann B

The title "The Kind Worth Killing" says it all; an amoral tale. It makes plotting murder seem like an everyday occurrence that requires little thought from the perpetrators beyond ensuring they do not get caught. If you can get past that and suspend disbelief, it is an easy read with enough twists to keep you engaged and guessing where the plot will go next. For me, the now familiar multivoice format did not differentiate enough between the female voices in particular, to be fully successful and at times became tedious as we revisit the same scenes.
I haven't read Swanson's first book but felt the author might have had an eye on selling the film rights as he wrote this one. Ultimately, I did not care about the fate of any of the characters, does that mean I'm little better than the main protagonists? Anne P
A well-written story in a popular modern genre, as per Gone Girl, Alys Always and Girl on a Train, where generally neither the characters nor their actions are particularly likeable. Well-drawn characters compensate to some degree for some rather implausible actions and twists which take the edge of what I found to be a very readable story. It wasn’t so much case of whodunnit but more perhaps a case of just what was done – and why. I have to confess that I did develop a soft spot for Lily – I’m not sure what that says about me………… Julia

19 Sep 2015


The group as a whole enjoyed the book. It was easy to get into, well written and an interesting and different storyline although some found the middle section a little slow. Some of us disliked all the characters although the plot was interesting, but others had a liking for Lily. Some admitted to having had interesting conversations with total strangers on long haul flights (though none about murder!) and could quite see that someone in a drunken ramble might admit to wanting to kill his wife, without really believing that anything was going to be done about it. The storyline did degenerate though, as all the main characters turned out to be quite laid back about murder, indeed serial murder. Some did feel that there was a strong undercurrent of misogyny in the book. The female characters are either evil temptresses (Lily and Miranda), sluts (Polly) or doolally (Lily’s mum) whereas the men are decent people who are basically victims who can’t themselves. One very small point – we were intrigued that the Inspector’s cat was called Pyewacket, named after a witch’s familiar spirit and would have thought that would have fitted Lily better! On the whole it was an interesting page turner although the detrimental effect on the Inspector’s career was lamented as it was felt that he was basically a good guy! Perhaps it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if one of the many murderers had gone against the tide and not carried out the deed? Altogether a very enjoyable, easy read and we gave it an overall mark of 7/10

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