Review by Booklist Review
This isn't exactly a sequel to Swanson's The Kind Worth Killing (2015), though several of the characters, including the gloriously warped Lily Kintner, reappear here, but it does reprise the same creepy theme: sociopathic spiders and the not-quite-innocent flies they attempt to entrap in their labyrinthine webs (when they aren't trapping one another). Only this time Swanson ups the ante dramatically, improvising in triple time on his theme and introducing a new queen spider to the game, Joan Grieve, who hires a private detective, Henry Kimball, to determine if her husband is cheating. Oh, but there's so much more to it than that: Henry knows Joan from years before, when he was her teacher in high school and a tragic shooting impacted them both. And let's not forget Lily, who was involved in her own tragedy long ago and who was investigated by Henry, with whom she now has a very odd friendship. When Henry turns to Lily for help after the matter of Joan's philandering husband takes an unexpected turn, the stage is set for another of Swanson's signature feats of vertigo-inducing legerdemain. It isn't so much plot twists that keep the reader reeling here (though there are plenty of those) as it is the growing realization of the horrors lurking within the minds of seemingly ordinary people.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Bestseller Swanson (Nine Lives) cleverly plays with genre conventions in this twist-filled mystery. Boston PI Henry Kimball's two previous jobs had bad endings. He'd been a Massachusetts high school English teacher but left after a student pulled a gun and killed a classmate before turning the weapon on himself, leaving Kimball tormented by thoughts he could have prevented those deaths. His time with the Boston PD ended after he formed an unhealthy obsession with a homicide suspect, penning "multiple unsavory limericks about her." Kimball's past resurfaces when he's retained by former student Joan Whalen, who wants him to prove that her real estate broker husband, Richard, is unfaithful. The detective isn't convinced that his client is being completely truthful. Flashbacks to the couple's first interactions when they were teenagers and their families were both vacationing in Maine up the ante, as does Kimball's discovery of two bodies in an uninhabited house with a for sale sign outside. Swanson's especially good at capturing the complexity of Kimball's inner life. Readers will be hard-pressed not to devour this in one sitting to ascertain whether, and how, past and present connect. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Assoc. (Mar.)
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Review by Library Journal Review
In this sequel to his 2015 best-seller The Kind Worth Killing, Swanson delves into the depraved mind of a killer through the lens of an oddly matched murderous duo. Fifteen years ago, first-year teacher Henry Kimball's classroom was the scene of a school shooting that resulted in one casualty. Now working as a private investigator, Henry is hired by Joan Whalen, a model student from his brief teaching career. Joan enlists Henry to investigate her real estate broker husband, whom she suspects of infidelity. Henry's somewhat unscrupulous methods put him in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he quickly realizes that he is ensnared in much more than a simple case of adultery. Henry reunites with an unexpected ghost from his past to help unravel a decades-old trail of deception and evil. As Henry inches closer to the truth, his own life hangs precariously in the balance. The result is a spine-tingling quest to expose evil before evil wins. VERDICT Psychological thriller fanatics will scramble to complete this satisfyingly twisty novel.--Mary Todd Chesnut
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