The Kind Worth Killing

The Kind Worth Killing




A classic example of kill or be killed, survive or die.


From the author of the acclaimed The Girl with a Clock for a Heart – hailed by the Washington Post as crime fiction’s best first novel of 2014 – comes a devious tale of psychological suspense involving sex, deception, and an accidental encounter that leads to murder that is a modern reimagining of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Train.
On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife, Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start – he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit – a contrast that once inflamed their passion but has now become a cliché.
But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse.
Back in Boston Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they begin to plot Miranda’s demise. But there are a few things about Lily’s past that she hasn’t shared with Ted, namely her experience in the art and craft of murder, a journey that began in her very precocious youth.
Suddenly these coconspirators are embroiled in a chilling game of cat and mouse, one they both cannot survive…with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.
©2015 Peter Swanson (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.


When rich businessman Ted Severson encounters the mysterious Lily Kintner in an airport bar, little does he know the chain of events that this meeting will unleash. For one thing, when the two decide to be completely truthful with one another on their flight from London to Boston, Ted opens up about his desire to kill his cheating wife Miranda. Fortunately or unfortunately for Ted, he has come across someone in the person of Lily who has no problem with this notion at all and, in fact, would be happy to help.
What Ted and Lily don’t know is that Miranda and her lover Brad, the general contractor hired to work on Ted and Miranda’s new home, have a plan of their own. What happens from there is a series of events sparked by anger, greed, lust, betrayal, over-confidence and revenge.
The book shifts from the perspective of Ted, Lily, Miranda and the Boston PD detective who is tasked with investigating major developments in the story. The only major character in the book that we never get inside the head of is Brad, which is probably for the best because, as Miranda implies, there’s not really a lot going on in there.
Lily is the catalyst for a lot of what happens in the book. LiShe views herself as an animal in many respects, and that is what motivates her actions throughout the telling of her story. However, it is her one desire to see justice done and revenge exacted, some very human qualities that might be her own undoing. Oddly, even though she has a blatant disregard for human life (at least in certain cases), she is also probably the most likable of the main characters. In Lily, it is fair to consider the question of whether a perverted sense of justice is better than no sense of justice at all.


In ‘The Kind Worth Killing’ Peter Swanson examines how human desires can ultimately be the undoing of anyone. It seems that the more cocky and over-confident one of these characters gets as the story progresses, the more sudden and devastating the downfall. ‘The Kind Worth Killing’ is less about the things his characters do and more about the way they thin,k and how it causes them to do what they do for better or worse.
I enjoyed Swanson’s writing style quite a bit. Where everyone ends up at the end of the book isn’t as surprising as what put each character on the path to his or her final destiny.


Johnny Heller, Karen White, Kathleen Early and Keith Szarabajka handle narration duties, with each one of them handling a different character’s perspective as it switches between chapters.
Early handles most of the narration, and that makes for a very good thing. She plays Lily in exactly the right way. She is calm and business like at all times, almost never gets flustered, and discusses serious subjects such as life and murder with an eerie sense of detachment.
The other three narrators seem to have one thing in common – they all have voices that range from a little raspy (White) to completely raspy (Heller and Szarabajka). I always enjoy Heller’s work and this time is no different. His Ted is as emotionally all over the map as he is on the page, ranging from uncertain to confident, angry to cocky.
Basically, there’s nothing really wrong with the performance of anyone here. White probably had the widest range of emotion to convey because Miranda is the most vindictive and coniving part and gives her a lot to work with and Szarabajka has the best sounding Boston accent.


There are no musical cues or other sound effects to be found on this track. There are 34 audio chapter stops which match to the book’s actual 34 chapters. Everything sounds great with no detected glitches.

I wish that on audio tracks with multiple narrators, the production companies would allow each narrator to introduce him or herself. This would make it easier for listeners to figure out who is responsible for which part of the narration. If you’ve heard one or all of the narrators in the past, it becomes easier to figure out, but if there is a large cast, it would be nice to be able to place a voice to a role.


I’ve never read ‘Strangers on a Train,’ but after reading ‘The Kind Worth Killing’ I may have to correct that one of these days.
This is an interesting psychological thriller filled with many different twists that will keep you turning those pages or watching that time-remaining clock march closer to zero.


Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Score
The Kind Worth Killing Peter Swanson Johnny Heller, Karen White, Kathleen Early, Keith Szarabajka Blackstone Audio, Inc. Mystery & Thriller 02/10/2015 10 hours, 18 minutes 8.25/10


A copy of ‘THE KIND WORTH KILLING’ was purchased from Audible for review.