If you’re on the list you’re marked for death.
The envelope is unremarkable. There is no return address. It contains a single, folded, sheet of white paper.
The envelope drops through the mail slot like any other piece of post. But for the nine complete strangers who receive it – each of them recognising just one name, their own, on the enclosed list – it will be the most life altering letter they ever receive. It could also be the last, as one by one, they start to meet their end.
My thoughts on Nine Lives…
I first came across Peter Swanson when I picked up The Kind Worth Killing back in 2016 without really knowing anything about it other than people were saying it was a must read. It really was. I don’t know how many times I recommended it or bought a copy as part of a birthday book bag. Since then, I’ve read all his books faithfully, though – I will admit – with mixed results (though I think this might be more my problem than his because I expect great things every time and, sometimes, books are just good).
And so it was with some trepidation that I picked up Nine Lives. I couldn’t not read it, but would it be one of the ones I ended up loving or one that left me feeling a little flat? I am pleased to report, it was the former.
Based (very loosely) on And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, nine strangers all receive a letter with their name and eight others on it. They don’t know the other people and, despite one of them being an FBI agent, can’t find the link between themselves. Some get the letter and feel worried, some feel scared, and some don’t think anything at all until people on the list start turning up dead. Then it becomes a game – will the killer get to them before the FBI get to him (or her)?
What makes this such a good book is how many twists and turns it takes to get to the end. I was constantly second-guessing who it might be and why people were on the list. The characters definitely add to the appeal to. Even the ones that end up dead early on are fully formed, designed to make you love or hate them (is – you wonder – the killer doing the world a favour?).
One of the questions I always ask myself with this type of novel is ‘did I see it coming?’ The answer is, yes, but not till I was a good way through the book and when more than a few hints had been dropped (by which point I was probably supposed to have worked it out!). The next question, is would I recommend it? Again, the answer here is yes. It’s a well-written, fast-paced, clever read, one that any fan of mystery/thrillers will enjoy. 4.5/5 stars.