In this spectacularly devious novel <Kind Worth Saving> by New York Times bestselling author Peter Swanson—featuring the smart and complex Lily Kintner from his acclaimed novel, The Kind Worth Killing—a private eye starts to follow a possibly adulterous husband, but little does he know that the twisted trail will lead back to the woman who hired him.
There was always something slightly dangerous about Joan. So, when she turns up at private investigator Henry Kimball’s office asking him to investigate her husband, he can’t help feeling ill. Just the sight of her stirs up a chilling memory. He knew Joan in his previous life as a high school English teacher, when he was at the center of a tragedy.
Now Joan needs his help in proving that her husband is cheating. But what should be a simple case of infidelity becomes much more complicated. Kimball finds two bodies in an uninhabited suburban home with a “for sale” sign out front. Suddenly it feels like the past is repeating itself, and Henry must go back to one of the worst days of his life to uncover the truth.
Is it possible that Joan knows something about that day? Has she been hiding something all these years? Could there still be a killer out there? Someone who believes they have gotten away with murder? Henry is determined to find out. However, as he steps closer to the truth, a murderer is getting closer to him, and in this hair-raising game of cat and mouse, only one of them will survive.
There aren’t spoilers for Kind Worth Saving, but by talking about it, there might be some for Kind Worth Killing.
Kind Worth Saving By Peter Swanson- Review
It is no secret that I’m a huge fan of Peter Swanson. Accordingly, all you have to do is look at my review of Eight Perfect Murders (linked). However, when I found out about Kind Worth Saving, I didn’t know it was a sequel. Therefore, I went back and read Kind Worth Killing. Truthfully? You can read each book together, or stand-alones. Having said that, I will say that there is more to gleam in terms of character arcs, dynamics, and the plot arc if you read Kind Worth Killing, first.
There is so much to love about Kind Worth Saving. Peter Swanson delivers a detective-based thriller that incorporates dark humor and the human condition. In order to do so, Swanson demonstrates a raw look at how people interact over time. Moreover, themes such as love vs. obsession, PTSD, and how those that we hurt/have hurt us can be fixed. Additionally, it displays co-dependent relationships based on… well… plotting murder.
Kind Worth Saving By Peter Swanson- Plot
When Joan enters the office of PI Henry Kimball (who has a penchant for limericks- see the featured image), it seems like a simple enough job. Is her husband cheating or not? However, the deeper Kimball dives in, the quicker he realizes there is more to this story. Unfortunately for Kimball, this includes a devastating event from his past life as a teacher. A school shooting in his classroom has left him reeling for most of his adult life. Furthermore, this is an event that has caused him PTSD, as he hasn’t truly processed the trauma.
Instead of a straight-up investigation into Joan’s worries about infidelity, Kimball finds something much more worrying. He comes across two dead bodies. and realizes something ominous lingers beneath the surface of this case. Desperate for help, Kimball turns to an unlikely source, Lily Kitner (I’ll get to them in a moment).
The action is explosive, the pace break-neck, and the mystery thrilling. There are multiple points of view that come into play throughout the story. This includes flashbacks. Swanson handles these moving parts, brilliantly. Equally important, Harper Audio does an incredible job of labeling each POV and timeline in the audiobook (I have not seen a hardcover to comment on). Altogether, you find yourself trying to fit pieces of the puzzle together, while also wanting to reach into the future (from the past timeline) to warn Kimball and Kitner of the danger they are in.
Thank you To Harper Audio and William Morrow for an advanced audio arc.
Kind Worth Saving By Peter Swanson- Characters
There are two main relationships that deserve standing ovations. The first starts with the POV from the past, and it is two characters that go to extreme lengths to keep their connection unknown. Together, they plot multiple murders together. For the purpose of diving into deeper themes, Swanson delivers on this relationship with relentless cores to his characters. They are exactly what they seem, and together they are co-dependent, modern, Bonnie and Clyde. I didn’t mention their names, because I don’t want to tell everything, and I don’t want to say more because of spoilers, as well.
Furthermore, Peter Swanson delivers a grand slam with the dynamic between Kimball and Kitner, in Kind Worth Saving. To go from Kimball’s obsession with Kitner, and Kitner’s nearly killing Kimball, to what we see in Kind Worth Saving is a raw and authentic look at the human condition. As individuals and together, both characters show an unlikely concern for each other, exceptional teamwork, and unwavering forgiveness. Their heart-to-heart conversations are written with an authenticity that truly brings the characters and their relationship off the page.
You didn’t think you’d be stabbed abd kuve ti tekk tge take? <Lily Said>
Kimball: I definitely didn’t think I’d get stabbed and want to visit the person who stabbed me. Why do you look so happy?
Lily: I suppose I’m happy because you’re not dead, because I didn’t kill you.
Kind Worth Saving By Peter Swanson- Final Thoughts
If you are audiobook inclined, this one is a knockout. There are actions, twists, and reveals that you won’t see coming, and are perfectly aligned with the story. The ending leaves room for more novels in this series. I truly hope they come to fruition.
In a word, Kind Worth Saving by Peter Swanson is brilliant.