Member Reviews

This was a twisty read. I enjoyed it but, sometimes I got frustrated with the wife as she seemed to be so lame. The story was very good but sometimes it slowed right down for me. My thanks to netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.

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Peter Swanson is an auto read/ buy author for me. I enjoy his writing style and the majority of his book have been winners for me. I was delighted to see the return of Lily Kintner and Henry Kimball, first introduced in The Kind Worth Killing ( which is probably my favourite of Swanson's books). While this book didn't quite reach the same level to the two that came before, this was still a great read. Brilliantly paced, twisty and impossible to predict where it was going, I audibly gasped twice when reading the concluding chapters. A perfect summer thriller, recommend.

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I enjoyed this book. It was a thriller and kept me guessing with a twists, turns and a few shock moments. Definitely recommended for a summer thriller read.

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#ATalentForMurder #NetGalley
Awesome. 5 ⭐
How well do you really know your husband? After an unexpected, whirlwind romance, quiet librarian Martha married Alan. But when she thinks she sees his mask slip, she starts to fear that the conferences he travels the country to attend might be a cover for something far more sinister. As she secretly starts to map his movements she unearths a string of dead women, but could these two things really be linked? Unsure of her own instincts, Martha turns to an old friend, Lily Kintner, who once helped her escape a toxic relationship in grad school. But what Martha doesn’t know is that Lily has a dark side of her own .
I didn't know back then that this character of Lily would be going to come in the future books but I'm starting to like her. I enjoyed this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Faber & Faber for giving me an advance copy.

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Wow!!! What an amazing & brilliant read. This is one of the books of the year. The storyline is gripping & had me full attention from the very first page. Swanson is amazing at creating brilliant thrillers & this is an example of that.

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Peter Swanson’s A Talent for Murder was an absolute blast to read!
Martha Ratliff suspects her husband Alan is doing more on his conferences away than he leads her to believe. So she contacts a long lost friend of hers to help her found out the truth. What follows is an absolutely captivating story about deception, friendship and finding out the truth.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the previous books with Henry & Lily and this one was a pleasant surprise! Although it was a bit of a slow start once things starting happening it really had me hooked, I didn’t want this book to end. The last few chapters really had me anticipating the worst! And the end caught me off guard! Cannot wait to read more from Peter Swanson!
Thanks to Netgalley and Faber and Faber ltd for the arc!

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Peter Swanson is a clever writer and this kept me gripped from the first page .
Martha suspects her husband of being a serial killer, he travels to conventions and whilst he’s there a murder takes place it’s got to be him hasn’t it?
The only person Martha can think to discuss it with is an old school friend Lily Kinter .
Martha and Lily begin to investigate Martha’s husband can he really be a killer?
This book is dark at times but the writing makes it an enjoyable read with plenty of twists and turns that kept me hooked .
Peter Swanson is a unique writer and definitely on my favourites list .
Thanks to NetGalley and Faber and Faber Ltd.

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I have read lots of Peter Swanson books and loved them. Sadly I didn’t enjoy this one. Maybe I needed to read the two previous books in the series. I didn’t feel anything for any of the characters, I felt the plot was a little absurd and there wasn’t any real twists or turns.
Not one I’d recommend this time

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Thanks to NetGalley and Faber & Faber for ARC.

Full disclosure - I'm predisposed to think highly of any new novel from Swanson. One that features Lily Kintner, her family and Henry Kimball is a real bonus. This is a treat from start to finish. Very dark themes are explored and those who can't read about violence, even obliquely, should stay well clear.

Martha is married to a travelling salesman and begins to wonder about her husband. His behaviour is odd, and violence seems to happen in the towns he's been in recently. On impulse she contacts old college friend Lily, who has helped her work through a difficult relationship dilemma before. They meet and agree to look into things a little more. You don't need to know any more about plot, just that Swanson skilfully weaves, twists, turns and confounds to a very satisfying conclusion.

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Dark and twisted thriller with the repeat characters Lily Kintner and Henry Kimball (3rd in the series). This novel can easily be read as a standalone thriller but then you would be missing out on the first two amazing novels (The Kind Worth Killing, The Kind Worth Saving).
Martha has begun to doubt that her kind natured husband of 2-years may not be the sweet natured man he has seemed to be. Alan travels constantly for business and when Martha starts to suspect him of being a serial killer there is only one person she can confide in, her old college friend Lily.
This is a fast paced, fun and compelling read.
Strong well developed, dark and twisty characters with an excellent plot.
Many thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley UK for the ARC.

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Slight disclaimer, I’ve not read the first two Lily Kintner books. I’ve read reviews saying that this can be read as a standalone and while I’d agree with that, be warned that there are definite spoilers.

Part One was a slow burn for me but how it ended made my jaw drop and ramped up the action for the rest of the book.

I found the change from third person POV for Martha to first person POV for Lily a little jarring at first but it did mean you easily knew who was telling the next part of the story.

I really enjoyed the Lily chapters and I’m curious enough about her - and Henry - that I’ll be going back to read the first two books. I thought the ending might have gone differently but I like the way it ended. No matter what, Lily Kintner is certainly no damsel in distress.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Faber and Faber Ltd for the ARC.

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A must read! Such and original concept and something completely different from the dozens of thrillers always following the same basic plot. It's a quick read without any pointless filler which I loved. I really couldn't fault it, this is the kind if thriller I love for

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Thank you to Netgalley and Faber and Faber Ltd for an early copy to enjoy.
Sadly when I requested this I didn't realise this was a 3rd book of a trilogy and in my opinion I don't think it's a stand alone either.
However, I did fly through the book. Peter's writing keeps you turning the pages regardless so I can see how good this would be if I had read the previous 2 books.
His writing is good and I can't fault it!

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This book starts and end with a BANG. All the rest is an excellent thriller featuring a wife who thinks her husband could be a serial killer and ask Kimball&Kintner to investigate.
If you read the two previous books by this author you know you already know them, I didn't but fell hard for Eight Perfect Murders and Nine Lives and had high expectations.
I wasn't disappointed and had to add two books to my endless TBR.
Intriguing, disturbing, gripping: a book that surprised me and kept me hooked.
Loved it, highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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This is the third instalment of the Henry Kimball/Lily Kintner Series. I read the two previous books and enjoyed them. And I was not disappointed by this one as well.

Martha suspects her husband, who travels a lot for his business, to be a serial killer. The only person she knows who she can talk to about this surreal suspicion is her old schoolfriend Lily. She once helped her get away from an abusive boyfriend. Lily is a killer herself, but one with a moral compass. She only kills men who deserve it. So she follows Martha’s husband to his next business trip.

This book is short and on point without too many unnecessary filled pages. It’s an easy and quick read in the habit of the two previous books. I would only criticize that there is a lot of telling and not showing. But it is entertaining and I would always read another one of Swanson’s books.

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There is no doubting Peter Swanson’s love of the crime fiction genre. His books bristle with references to old crime novels and movies, and he enjoys taking familiar mystery tropes and playing with them and updating them. Probably my favourite of Swanson’s novels is The Kind Worth Killing, which was a loose variation on Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers On A Train, but with lots of originality and cleverness. He followed it up with the equally good The Kind Worth Saving in 2022 and now we have a new novel in the sequence, A Talent For Murder.

A Talent For Murder plays with that popular domestic suspense device of “How well do you really know your husband?”, but with more twists and less romantic angst.

Martha was quick to marry Alan two years ago, without really knowing him. He was sweet to her and that was enough. But when Martha thinks she sees Alan’s mask slip, she starts to fear that the conferences he travels the country to attend might be a cover for something far more sinister. As her research unearths a string of dead women, she enlists the help of Lily Kintner, an old friend from grad school. What Martha doesn’t know is that Lily has a dark side of her own and some dead bodies in her past. Readers of the first two books also know that Lily is not adverse to administering her own form of justice when necessary.

As with all of Swanson’s books, the plot unfolds in unexpected ways and there are a couple of good shocks along the way to the tense and exciting ending. The characters and the small town milieu are well done, and Swanson is also good at skewering the teachers conferences where much of the action occurs. Adding to the pleasure are the literary references and the amusing crime fiction jokes, as well as Lily’s dark sense of humour.

In all, A Talent For Murder is another enjoying outing for Swanson. The pace is a little slow at times, but overall it works quite well and it is always a pleasure making Lily’s acquaintance again.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the copy of the book for review.

Rating 4.5 - rounded up

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I could see this book as a dark noir type film. The beginning especially, I played in my mind as a black and white moving picture with a moody and deep voiced narrator.
Probably just how this book made me feel personally but that made it more enjoyable for me!

The narrative was descriptive without droning and this is a major plus for me as I struggle to enjoy books that want to delve deep into the psyche of the character and analyse every thought they have.

The plot itself was interesting but didn’t drop anything completely unexpected.

As the book progressed, I quickly realised that this is not a stand alone book. While you don’t need to have read the previous books, it’s very clear that some of these characters have backgrounds that it would be useful to have awareness of.

This one is a so-so for me. An enjoyable read overall but no wow factor.

Thank you to NetGalley and publisher for the ARC.

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I’ve read a few of Peter Swanson’s books and usually enjoy them so I was looking forward to reading his latest novel. Thanks to Faber and Faber Ltd and NetGalley for my copy.

The story starts with a woman being pushed off a balcony and then introduces newlywed couple Martha and Alan. Alan travels a lot for work and Martha becomes suspicious of him. What’s he really doing on his trips away? Martha contacts an old university friend for help.

I got into the story straight away and it’s not a difficult read. The chapters alternate between Martha and Lily’s points of view and this works reasonably well.

The book was missing something for me and I’m not sure what that is. For me, there wasn’t much of a twist and I was a bit underwhelmed by it. The characters were OK, but I didn’t really connect with any of them.

Overall, the book was fine and I would recommend it, but I’ve read other books by this author that I prefer.

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**A seemingly ordinary librarian's life takes a horrifying turn when she stumbles upon a chilling suspicion about her husband. With nowhere else to turn, she seeks help from an old friend with a unique skill set: assessing "the kind worth killing or the kind worth saving."

This fast-paced follow-up to the beloved "The Kind Worth Killing" throws Lily Kintner back into the dark underbelly of human nature. But this time, the danger hits uncomfortably close to home. Filled with classic Swanson twists and shocking revelations, the book keeps you guessing until the very last page.

Be warned: The initial charm of Martha's new marriage crumbles quickly, replaced by a gnawing sense of dread. However, the second half, while still suspenseful, relies more on exposition than the first half's masterfully woven clues. Despite this, the thrilling reunion of Lily and her unique brand of justice make "The Kind Worth Saving" a gripping read.**

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EXCERPT: . . . and somehow he talked her into stepping outside on the balcony in order to face her fears. They were both naked out there, the sky swarming with stars, their bodies drying in the cool night air. It was actually good - exciting, really - maybe only because it was dark and she couldn't actually see how high up they were, or maybe it was because she was now having the kind of experience that she thought she might have on this trip. Something new, and a little dangerous. She felt alive, but she also felt excited that the next day she would be returning home. It was time. And now she had new ideas for her classroom, plus she couldn't wait to see Travis, tell him all about her weekend. They hadn't spoken that day at all. Suddenly she realised just how much she missed him.
And that was when she was thrown off the balcony.

ABOUT ' A TALENT FOR MURDER': Martha Ratliff conceded long ago that she’d likely spend her life alone. She was fine with it, happy with her solo existence, stimulated by her job as an archival librarian, constantly surrounded by thought-provoking ideas and the books she loved. But then she met Alan, a charming and sweet-natured divorcee with a job that took him on the road for half the year. When he asked her to marry him, she said yes, even though he still felt a little bit like a stranger.

A year in and the marriage was good, except for that strange blood streak on the back of one of his shirts he’d worn to a conference in Denver. Her curiosity turning to suspicion, Martha investigates the cities Alan visited over the past year and uncovers a disturbing pattern—five unsolved cases of murdered women.

Is she married to a serial killer? Or could it merely be a coincidence? Unsure what to think, Martha contacts an old friend from graduate school for advice. Lily Kintner once helped Martha out of a jam with an abusive boyfriend and may have some insight. Intrigued, Lily offers to meet Alan to find out what kind of man he really is . . . but what Lily uncovers is more perplexing and wicked than they ever could have expected.

MY THOUGHTS: Peter Swanson has a talent for writing deliciously twisty and deviously clever books, and A Talent for Murder definitely fits the bill. I read this book overnight, unable to put it aside.

The characters enthralled me. Lily Kinter we have encountered previously in The Kind Worth Killing and The Kind Worth Saving, but don't feel that you have to have read these previous books to enjoy this one. It can definitely be read as a stand-alone. A Talent for Murder is, initially, more about Martha, a librarian with a very active imagination and a curiosity that is off the scale.

We all know that saying Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you, well, in this case just because what Martha's imagining sounds like something out of a novel, doesn't mean it doesn't have some basis in fact. And no, this is NOT a spoiler! Give the woman some credit. Although, to be fair, Martha does believe she is affected by a curse placed on her by a rival in college . . .

Reading A Talent for Murder is kind of like watching a car wreck happen in front of you. You can see it happening, you don't want to watch, but there is no way in hell that you can look away. A couple of times I found myself thinking 'I don't want to read this!' as I greedily read on. I swear that at the end of Part One, my heart actually stopped!

A Talent for Murder is a book of unusual relationships - Josie and Travis, Martha and Alan, Lily and Henry. The relationships alone have enough material for a good novel, without the twists, intrigue and suspense that Swanson has injected. It is a story of manipulation, of spine-chilling evil, of characters who are chameleons. I loved it despite the fact that there is a bit more 'telling' than 'showing' in parts of the book. And please, can we have a little more Henry in the next?


#ATalentforMurder #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, Peter Swanson lives on the North Shore of Massachusetts with his wife and cat.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Faber and Faber via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of A Talent for Murder by Peter Swanson for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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