eARC Review: Nine Lives by Peter Swanson (NO SPOILERS)

Nine Lives by Peter Swanson

Categories: Thriller, Mystery

First Publication Date: March 15th 2022


Nine strangers receive a list with their names on it in the mail. Nothing else, just a list of names on a single sheet of paper. None of the nine people know or have ever met the others on the list. They dismiss it as junk mail, a fluke–until very, very bad things begin happening to people on the list.

First, a well-liked old man is drowned on a beach in the small town of Kennewick, Maine. Then, a father is shot in the back while running through his quiet neighborhood in suburban Massachusetts. A frightening pattern is emerging, but what do these nine people have in common? Their professions range from oncology nurse to aspiring actor, and they’re located all over the country. So why are they all on the list, and who sent it?

FBI agent Jessica Winslow, who is on the list herself, is determined to find out. Could there be some dark secret that binds them all together? Or is this the work of a murderous madman? As the mysterious sender stalks these nine strangers, they find themselves constantly looking over their shoulders, wondering who will be crossed off next…

Nine Lives is a retelling of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, and in my opinion it was pretty heavy-handed in its approach. It honestly threw me off how many times the book was mentioned and how much it felt like reading something I’d already read before. I had not realized this would be a retelling – they don’t usually work for me, so it’s no surprise this one didn’t work much for me either. Still, I was actually loving the first half… and then it kind of went downhill.

For the first half you’re basically being introduced to all the characters and then the murders start. It was chaotic and confusing and the reader has no idea what’s going on, which I actually enjoyed because it made me think about all the possible ways the story could go. But as more people get murdered and the reveals start happening, I was very let down by it and some of the deaths actually upset me with how outlandish they were. The ending was kind of unsatisfying for me as well. The whole book just felt a little too forced, unconvincing and frustrating.

Not everything was bad though – I did have a great time on the first half and sometimes the book got really intriguing and fun to read, but these were such momentary experiences and my final impression was not very positive overall. If you’re looking for a quick, entertaining read and have been looking for a And Then There Were None retelling, you might enjoy this! I will definitely still read other books by Peter Swanson because I enjoy his writing style and I loved The Kind Worth Killing For, but this was a flop.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

4 thoughts on “eARC Review: Nine Lives by Peter Swanson (NO SPOILERS)

    • Thank you, Carla! I’ll be curious to see what you think of it if you do decide to pick it up in the end, though. I feel like this will be a divisive one, but I haven’t seen many reviews.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I love Christie as well and really enjoyed The Kind Worth Killing For, but this really didn’t work for me! Great to know you liked Rules for Perfect Murders, I have that one on my list!

      Liked by 1 person

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