Faber & Faber | September 2014
Source: Library

I've been meaning to read this book for a while, since I'd read Peter Swanson's other later releases and enjoyed them. This book has the style of a contemporary noir and is plot driven with a pair of intriguing characters. After finishing this book I wasn't sure what to think of the overall plot and the direction which this story finally led to, but I did know I've tons of things to say but ultimately it just left me flabbergasted. 

To begin with, our main protagonist George Foss is a man in his forties and he is living a simple, bland life. He has a job in a magazine industry and his on-off relationship with Irene Dimas is anything but exciting. During a night out drinking at a bar, he thought he saw his first love, Liana Dexter. He and Liana knew each other in college and they hit it off quickly. George is smitten by Liana because she seemed different from the other girls. And George is a good guy in Liana's eyes so it is no surprise they become a couple in no time. After their exams Liana left for home and the next thing they know Liana committed suicide. George then began a trip back to her hometown to look for answers and found out a few, but they are rather vague. 

Twenty years later Liana is back and she needs George's help. George has begun to see her reason for her fake suicide, but what he doesn't understand is her request and why him. Nonetheless he decided to help her; after all he still reminiscent of their past and truth be told he has never forgotten about her all this time. But Liana's request is no ordinary task, and soon George finds himself in a seriously troubling situation. 

Fast-paced and intriguing, this book had me on the edge of my seat and while it was compelling, I was also frustrated by George's bad choices at times. Liana is an interesting character but she is hard to like, the same goes to George due to his stupidity naivety. The plot may be predictable but Liana was the draw in this story. She was unreliable yet she could be charming; I could see why George was drawn to her like a moth to a flame. This story is told between flashbacks and present so there is a better understanding for readers to connect whatever happened then together. I suppose the story, especially the ending, would lead to some discussions because I just couldn't fathom everything and most of all, I'd some questions for George. Hmph. That said, it was quite a thrilling ride for me and I understand that this book has been acquired for film by James Marsh.  

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14 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    It sounds like this one is frustrating but good. Can’t decide if I could put up with that.

  2. Melody Says:

    Jenny - The story was addicting; one couldn't help but to get sucked into it. While I was frustrated at some scenarios, it was curiosity which pulled me in and on top of it I want to know the ending.

  3. Kay Says:

    Interesting. I've had a copy of this one for quite a while. Think I got it soon after The Kind Worth Killing was published. I think that yours is the first review I've read of it though. Now I know the storyline, I'll keep it in mind. Do you think his writing improved from this one and TKWK, which was the next?

  4. jenclair Says:

    It is strange how personally we take a characters bad choices! I have wanted to reach in and shake characters at times. One bad choice--OK, but the consistent bad choices drive me nuts. Doesn't keep me from wanting to know how the book turns out though. :)

  5. Lark Says:

    I don't know if I'll like this one, but your review makes me want to give it a try! :D

  6. Melody Says:

    Kay - I think his writing has definitely improved from this book to TKWK. I really loved the plot in TKWK (the best among all his books to date); I hope his next book will surpass it.

  7. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Indeed, Jenclair. But thank goodness they're fictional. ;)

  8. Melody Says:

    Lark - I'd recommend reading "The Kind Worth Killing" as a start because that's the best one in my opinion. Once you're familiar with his writing style then you may wish to read his other books. Just my two cents. :)

  9. Lark Says:

    Thanks, Melody! I'll start with The Kind Worth Killing and let you know what I think of it. :)

  10. This is the only Swanson book I have read so far and I felt much the same as you, Melody. What was George thinking most of the time?! I do want to read more by him as I've heard his other books are better.

  11. Melody Says:

    Lark - I'll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts, Lark. :)

  12. Melody Says:

    Wendy - His other books are definitely better. I think my favourite thus far is "The Kind Worth Killing". :)

  13. Iliana Says:

    While it may not have been as good as the other book of his you've read, nevertheless you've left me seriously intrigued! I do have an issue with characters that seem to make one bad decision after another but I guess that happens in real life too!

  14. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Yes, I suppose that's life. I'm curious about the film adaptation so I'll probably watch it once it's released.

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