Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: 3 February 2015
Format: Paperback, 320 pgs
A modern re-imagining of Patricia Highsmith's classic Strangers on a Train (which I've yet to read but has piqued my interest after the brief mention on the back blurb), The Kind Worth Killing is a chilling, gripping story of an accidental encounter that leads to murder.
Ted Severson's marriage is on the rocks. After married Miranda for three years he's discovered she's having an affair with their contractor. He's wondering if he should confront her when a chance encounter with a beautiful stranger at an airport lounge makes him a deal that she'd help him with murdering his wife, after they have exchanged conversations and telling each other bits about themselves. Ted is somewhat shocked by her suggestion, after all they've had a few too many drinks and he didn't mean she'd treat his words seriously. Sure, he'd wanted to kill his wife after learning of her affair but to murder someone in cold blood is entirely another matter.
Ted is both intrigued and attracted by Lily, but how true is she and her suggestion? So they arranged to meet a week later after they've returned to Boston, to see if each other means business. They both showed up, and after exchanging some more information a deal is made.
Split into three parts and told in Ted's, Lily's, Miranda's and Detective Kimball's perspectives, The Kind Worth Killing is one chilling psychological thriller that will make your heart race and ponder at the same time. Ted is a rich businessman who definitely knows how to make a deal, but the deal he's making with Lily makes me wonder if his love for his wife means nothing, or something so much more that he couldn't bear the betrayal. Lily, on the other hand is a damaged woman who's carried her secret past through the years since she was a teenager. Since then, she has believed that the abuser who has the power to intimidate or cause harm to the weaker peer should be punished severely. It all started when she killed a tom cat to prevent it from tormenting another feline. That satisfaction of killing and not being discovered has allowed her to commit another murder; a painter who stayed at their house for the summer and was also her mother's friend. He'd shown interest in little Lily and it wasn't paternal.
While I enjoy reading thrillers that make me guess the identity of the killer, occasionally I am fascinated by thrillers such as The Kind Worth Killing; one that allows me to get into the minds of the deranged protagonists and makes me think of their purposes and the choices they have made. The plot is full of twists and turns, and before I could fathom what's happening another event happens (I was still pondering over the ending as of writing this.) Truth be told it was a compelling read and I could have given this book a 5-stars rating if not for the characterisations and their purposes, all of which have left me cold with dread. I wouldn't be surprised if this is to be made into a film in the near future.