Published by HarperCollins Publishers on May 27, 2022
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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 strangers, seemingly unrelated. Each one of them receives a list containing their name. Most of them looks at it and promptly forget about it or ignore it, they don’t know anyone on the list apart from themselves so dismiss it. However, they soon start to turn up murdered.
Swanson has stated that he drew inspration from Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None for this book and there were definitely some heavy parralels to be found between the two. However, there is a warning to be had in imitating a master of the craft. You’re work, no matter how good, is never likely to live up to the original.
“The awful thing about loneliness, Jack thought, not for the first time, is that it isn’t always cured by other people.”
There are a lot of characters to keep on top of in this, there’s obviously the 9 people on the list, there’s also the murderer and there’s the police who are (not really) investigating. I did find it quite difficult to keep on top of who was who, I didn’t feel that I really got a chance to get to know the characters all that well.
“He’d always wondered what was worse: to feel emptiness and not know what would make it go away, or to feel emptiness and know exactly what was missing. Tonight, for whatever reason, he seemed to have the answer. He understood with evangelical clarity how fleeting our lives are, and how foolish it is to mourn those who’ve left too soon.”