I can count on Peter Swanson for a solid mystery and Nine Lives, his latest book, is no exception. The premise is borrowed from Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, which is mentioned several times in the book. (Including the alternate titles the Christie story had, one which is considered offensive)
Nine people receive a list of nine names in the mail, including their own. They don’t know each other and nobody is sure what the link is between these nine lives. Then, like in the Christie story, the killings start. Each new chapter is a countdown beginning with nine as one by one, the nine people on the list are being murdered.
There are a lot of characters to follow (including, of course, the nine on the list), but the book starts with a list of the nine and a brief description of each of them. The nine are very different ranging from a kept woman to a sociopathic aspiring actor to an FBI agent trying to solve the case. The book moves around between these characters a lot, but I enjoyed that style.
Swanson does a good job of moving the story along and it is a quick read. As the mystery unfolds you can figure out parts of it, but there are two good surprises in the end. I am not a fan of the thriller style mysteries that are all the rage the past few years and really prefer this style of mystery. I have been in a reading slump this year (haven’t read anything I really liked) and this book broke that slump for me. I recommend reading this book and all of Swanson’s others, as they are all good.