by Peter Swanson, Jacques Roy (Narrator), Mark Bramhill (Narrator)
From the New York Times best-selling author of Eight Perfect Murders comes the heart-pounding story of nine strangers who receive a cryptic list with their names on it – and then begin to die in highly unusual circumstances.
Nine strangers receive a list with their names on it in the mail. Nothing else, just a list of names on a single sheet of paper. None of the nine people know or have ever met the others on the list. They dismiss it as junk mail, a fluke – until very, very bad things begin happening to people on the list. First, a well-liked old man is drowned on a beach in the small town of Kennewick, Maine. Then, a father is shot in the back while running through his quiet neighborhood in suburban Massachusetts. A frightening pattern is emerging, but what do these nine people have in common? Their professions range from oncology nurse to aspiring actor.
FBI agent Jessica Winslow, who is on the list herself, is determined to find out. Could there be some dark secret that binds them all together? Or is this the work of a murderous madman? As the mysterious sender stalks these nine strangers, they find themselves constantly looking over their shoulders, wondering who will be crossed off next….
Last year I read ‘Rules for Perfect Murders‘ by Peter Swanson, a fun, mysterious read that kept me on my toes. Almost a year on, I’ve just finished Swanson’s latest release ‘Nine Lives’, a mystery in which nine strangers receive a list with their names on it in the post. There doesn’t seem to be much connection between the names on the list but when bad things start happening to these people, it becomes FBI agent Jessica Winslow’s mission to find out what it is, especially because she herself is on the list.
“She opened the wine and poured herself a glass, then looked through her mail. Two catalogues, and Amex bill, and an envelope with no return address. She opened it, curious, and pulled out a single folded sheet of paper, and stared at a list of names.
Matthew Beaumont, Jay Coates, Ethan Dart, Caroline Geddes, Frank Hopkins, Alison Horne, Arthur Kruse, Jack Radebaugh, Jessica Winslow”
I liked several things about this fast paced story, including the premise, but I have to say I wasn’t blown away by it. In general I didn’t feel an awful lot of suspense as the story was told rather than uncovered. The ending in particular was a underwhelming for me and left me feeling quite frustrated at the reasoning behind the whole mystery.
Told from various points of view I felt that most of the story was taken up with introducing a character only to have them killed off a few pages later. This meant that I didn’t feel a great connection to any of the characters and their deaths didn’t have a great impact me. It’s rare I say this, but I feel that this book would have benefited from some more pages, giving time to build stronger characterization, to really make the reader feel something when their death eventually became imminent.
Although not my cup of tea, I would recommend this to fans of Peter Swanson looking for a quick thriller to read.
Overall rating: ‘Nine Lives’ by Peter Swanson is a quick thriller with an interesting premise. What would you do if you received a list of names in the post? I didn’t get on with the characterization and would have preferred a bit more time to get to know everyone – a 2 star read for me.
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