Publication Date: February 3, 2015
When Ted Severson meets a mysterious woman on his flight home from London, he finds himself sharing about the affair his wife is having. As the night goes on, he jokes that he could kill her for what she did. To his surprise, the woman, Lily Kintner, says she can help.
In a series of secret meetings, detailed plans, and new dreams, Ted gets ready to kill his wife. But he has no idea that Lily has a darker past that she hasn’t told him about.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Date Read: September 6, 2018
I’ve heard a couple of things here and there about this, and the premise sounded interesting enough. The problem with these kinds of books is that the plot has been done so well by Alfred Hitchcock, it’s almost impossible to do anything that comes close or produce something that doesn’t piggyback off the brilliant Dial M for Murder.
Right off the bat, I didn’t like Ted’s character. I’ll go into more detail about it later, but I found him really annoying. Nothing about his story made me interested in him. On the other hand, I found Lily’s story to be incredibly interesting. The way her character was written and how she talked about things, it just made me want to hear more about her. I could have read/listened to a whole book about her.
I thought that the book could have been condensed more, as there were moments when it dragged quite heavily. They were all the transitioning scenes, and while I know the importance of transitioning, this just felt like it was done poorly. There were many scenes that could have been cut out as they were just there to give us more time between the action.
I wouldn’t really say that there’s a mystery here. We know from the beginning that Ted wants to kill his wife and that Lily is going to help him. The only question is how they’re going to pull that off and what will happen afterwards. Having that in mind, I thought that there could have been something else thrown into the mix to make things more interesting. By the end of the book, I could say that it was an interesting read, but not in the way that I wanted it to be.
Really, only a couple of things caught me by surprise, and not really in a good way. It was more repetitive than anything else, and I was just ready for all of it to be done before the book even ended.
The ending was…somewhat satisfactory. It could have come sooner and been more interesting. I guess I was just looking for something else, despite the rating that I gave it.
Ted is so incredibly annoying. He may not have a faithful wife, but that’s really not a reason to jump to murder so quickly instead of trying to confront her or divorce her. There are easier solutions than murder, and it felt like he didn’t really think about the reality of what he was doing. Not only that, he was so ready to abandon everything with his wife and move on to Lily like he had never even been married in the first place. I couldn’t wait for his parts of the book to end because being in his head was just so frustrating.
Lily was so intriguing to read about and so much fun to spend time with. Her backstory was the most interesting of them all, and her motivations were so varied. I greatly enjoyed learning about her as a character and seeing how her story unfolded. The more time I spent with her, the more I liked her. Give me a whole book about her life and what she does and I’ll be happy. Heck, I’ll read a series about her helping people to plan the deaths of people who wronged them and I’ll be more than happy.
Miranda, Ted’s wife, is also very annoying. For different reasons though, she’s just an awful human being and I hated her. Getting to hear from her POV wasn’t anything special and it didn’t help to make me more sympathetic toward her. She was almost as annoying as Ted, but not quite. They’re definitely a wining team for “Most Annoying Couple” though.
4 stars. A decent read if you’re trying out mysteries to see what you like. I wouldn’t say this is for everyone, but it’s interesting enough that it’s worth checking out if you want to see what Swanson did with a premise this famous.