Nine Lives unfolds like an Agatha Christie classic crossed with a slasher film - a modernised And Then There Were None for the TikTok generation.
Christie once called And Then There Were None her hardest novel to write, and I suspect Peter Swanson has taken on the challenge to also construct a “perfect crime puzzle”. If this is the case, I believe he has succeeded.
I was immediately hooked by the novel’s central conceit - nine strangers receive a list of their names on it in the mail. None of the nine people recognise the other names. Unbeknownst to them, they are all marked for death.
How are they connected? Who sent the letters? And who is killing them off, one by one?
The mystery at hand kept me guessing. I am ashamed to admit that I did not see the end coming - all the clues were there, but I missed them, caught up in the zippy change of POVs and the rapidly unfurling plot.
It was only upon reaching the resolution that I could look back at the clues and understand how hoodwinked I had been.
I wish we had gotten to spend some more time with certain characters, with some of them feeling underdeveloped before being dispatched. It would not be a spoiler to suggest that you should read this book without getting attached to any character in particular.
Nine Lives is a twisty, fun mystery, and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for an exciting but easy read.
Title: Nine Lives
Author: Peter Swanson
Publisher: Faber & Faber (Allen & Unwin)
Publication date: March 2022
RRP: AUD $32.99
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.