Book Review / Peter Swanson / Reviews with Spoilers

Peter Swanson | The Kind Worth Saving

The Book: 

The Kind Worth Saving by Peter Swanson (Henry Kimball / Lily Kintner #2)
Published March 7, 2023 by William Morrow & Company
Date read: February 16, 2023

The Characters: 


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If you need to jog your memory before starting The Kind Worth Saving, check out my spoiler recap for The Kind Worth Killing here.

The Plot (from Goodreads):

There was always something slightly dangerous about Joan. So, when she turns up at private investigator Henry Kimball’s office asking him to investigate her husband, he can’t help feeling ill at ease. Just the sight of her stirs up a chilling memory: he knew Joan in his previous life as a high school English teacher, when he was at the center of a tragedy.

Now Joan needs his help in proving that her husband is cheating. But what should be a simple case of infidelity becomes much more complicated when Kimball finds two bodies in an uninhabited suburban home with a “for sale” sign out front. Suddenly it feels like the past is repeating itself, and Henry must go back to one of the worst days of his life to uncover the truth.

Is it possible that Joan knows something about that day, something she’s hidden all these years? Could there still be a killer out there, someone who believes they have gotten away with murder? Henry is determined to find out, but as he steps closer to the truth, a murderer is getting closer to him, and in this hair-raising game of cat and mouse only one of them will survive.

Click here for book spoilers for The Kind Worth Saving
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Kind Worth Saving, I suggest you turn back now.

The book opens with Detective Kimball’s POV, the same detective that was investigating Lily in the first book. He left the Boston police department after he was accused of attacking Lily and is now a PI in New Hampshire. One of his former students, Joan, comes in to ask him to follow her husband Richard and confirm that he is cheating on her.

When the book switches to Joan’s POV in the past, we learn that she went to school with Richard, but first became friends with him when they happened to be staying at the same hotel on vacation in Maine. (For those who have read Nine Lives, this is the same Windward Resort!) They discussed whether they would kill someone if they knew they’d get away with it, and then conspired to kill Richard’s cousin Duane, who had made creepy moves on Joan. This part feels very similar to Lily’s origin story.

We also learn that Kimball was Joan’s English teacher in high school. There was a school shooting that caused him to leave the profession and become a cop. The shooter only killed one other person before killing himself.

Kimball follows both Richard and Pam, who Joan believes is the other woman. He befriends Pam and ends up sleeping with her. The next day, he follows both Richard and Pam to an empty house (they’re real estate agents). Pam had told Kimball that she was planning on ending it with Richard. Kimball hears gunshots and goes inside to find Pam shot in the chest and head and Richard appearing to have shot himself.

In part two, Kimball thinks he might have been set up as a witness, and that a third person was involved in the shooting. He goes to see Lily to get her advice–apparently they’re friendly despite how TKWK ended. He had visited her in the psych hospital after they both agreed not to press charges against the other, and they somewhat became friends. Lily told him about the field where the bodies were about to turn up (this is how TKWK ended).

We also get our first chapter from Richard’s POV, also in the past, but five years after his summer in Maine with Joan. They haven’t spoken to each other since, until this chapter. We find out that Richard went to the same college I did! But he dropped out halfway. When he and Joan meet up, it is revealed that this Richard that she kills with is a different Richard than the one in the memory. We also learn that Joan and Richard Seddon had orchestrated the school shooting.

Joan had convinced Pam to sleep with her husband, and then asked the MC Richard to help her kill her husband. Kimball began to put together that it wasn’t a murder/suicide. He had thought Joan had behaved oddly the day of the school shooting, and he finds out about Duane’s death. He then tracks down Richard, guessing at the connection between him and Joan. After he questions Richard, Richard brings a bomb to Henry’s office, attempting to kill him. Henry survived in critical condition, while Richard died.

Lily heard what happened and decided to pick up Henry’s investigation. She befriended Joan and got her to confess, and then killed her.

The Ending:

When Henry was discharged from the hospital he came to see Lily. He didn’t remember anything after finding Richard and Pam’s bodies. Lily didn’t tell him that she had killed Joan, but she did tell him who the bodies in the well were. Henry confessed his love to her, and the book ended with them as friends.

The Review: 

I thoroughly enjoyed this continuation of Peter Swanson’s much-loved thriller, The Kind Worth Killing. TKWK ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, or at least required some speculation from the reader, so it was very satisfying to see where the characters ended up and what happened after TKWK ended. The ending of The Kind Worth Saving gave me a lot more closure than the previous book did.

Swanson said himself that TKWS is a semi-sequel. While the TKWK characters do appear and there’s some explanation given to what happened after TKWK ended, TKWS has its own plot and a new set of characters. The new plot felt very familiar compared to the previous book, but it had its differences and I enjoyed how it turned out.

Without spoilers, I can’t say much more! The character Richard went to the same college as I did! I forgot how much Kimball’s limericks cracked me up in the first book and was glad there were more in this one. Fans of The Kind Worth Killing will definitely want to read this book. If you haven’t read The Kind Worth Killing, I definitely recommend picking it up first.

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