Faber & Faber | 3 March 2022 | 336 pgs
Nine random people from various locations receive an envelope with their names on it. There's no return address; and inside the envelope contains a single, folded sheet of white paper. Nine names are printed on the list and each of these nine recipients will find his or her own name on it. Perhaps it is junk mail, or perhaps it is a joke. But as each day passes by, these recipients will soon find out that they're targeted and one by one they're going to meet their end. But no one knows why and the motive. And as these nine people wandering clueless with a foreboding mood, so do the reader as the suspense intensifies.
Without saying too much, all I can say is this isn't my favourite Swanson book. But of course there're still some things that I liked; such as this work is a homage to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None but Swanson's story stands on its own. The eliminating style (of the victims) always make it an easier read (though it's wrong to think of that from another perspective) and the chapters are short, which made it even better.
Now onto the things I didn't really like. Nine characters mean nine perspectives, and they could be confusing from the start but this issue will go away as the story progresses (and yes, the eliminating part plays a part, too). Since there're nine characters, it could be hard making a connection with them and well, some of them were unlikable, too. The story wasn't fast-paced and the reader mostly learned about their personality and their mundane lives until the last quarter of the book in which the pace started to pick up. But alas, it all fell short to me with that anticlimactic reveal and not to mention the motive. Despite these, I didn't dislike the book (because it's Peter Swanson and I love his writing style and the suspenseful atmosphere he's always so good in creating) but this book just isn’t for me. Still, I always look forward to his new release and I hope his next book will be better.
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