Review: Nine Lives by Peter Swanson

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….

I have yet to go wrong with a book by Peter Swanson, they’re just addictive page turners and this was no exception! That’s one way to get me out of a reading slump! It’s very clearly inspired by Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” so you can tell where the overall theme meshes with that: nine strangers receive a list with all of their names on it but do not know each other or what connects them all. Then people on the list start dying and the FBI races to find the connections and the killer.

I didn’t think this was something mind-blowingly unique or anything like that but it did keep me glued to the pages to see what was going to happen next and honestly that’s all I can ask of a thriller sometimes! There are, of course, nine differing POVs which normally can be quite a few to try and keep track of but I was never left feeling super confused because the POV shifts were always noted and there’s a list with each character’s name at the beginning of the book so I’d flip back for reference quite a bit to ensure I knew which character was which. The pacing is very fast and the writing makes it easy to breeze through the entire book in one sitting, there’s definitely no lack of action and the mystery leaves you yearning for answers.

I will say that the “big reveal” at the end wasn’t all that thrilling, it was sort of easy to put together once the information was presented. I also didn’t really agree with the reason behind all of it, it made sense in the way that it was explained, but it didn’t make sense to me overall why a person would do that. That’s all I’ll say without spoilers! There weren’t really a lot of twists with this story but as I said I found the writing style with the different POVs getting picked off one by one to be interesting enough to get through the whole book in no time. The overall ending was a little lackluster, there is an epilogue chapter that just sort of seemed unnecessary.

I wouldn’t say I was particularly attached to any of the characters either, just because there got to be so many differing ones I didn’t feel like I got to care enough about each one of them individually. However, that’s not to say that they were super one dimensional or anything, I was actually impressed with how much we got a feel for their personalities in such short bursts between that many characters. It’s definitely a testament to what a great writer Peter Swanson is, at least in my opinion!

What I Liked:

  • Fast pacing
  • Well done multiple POVs
  • Engaging storyline throughout

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Reveal at the ending
  • Overall reason for the list and killings
  • Unnecessary epilogue chapter

Overall I didn’t think this was nearly as amazing as “The Kind Worth Killing” but it’s still a good, quick read and I enjoyed it. I’ll always be picking up books by this author!

Trigger Warnings: Homophobia, Racism (Both Mentioned by Other Characters), Murder, Child Death

Links (Check it out on Goodreads or Order a Copy!):
Goodreads / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Amazon 

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