Face it. Accept it. Float with it. Let time pass.
Kate, our anxiety riddled main character, has just flat swapped with her American cousin in order to boost her confidence and try to escape her haunted past for a little while, but as soon as she arrives at her cousin’s luxurious apartment, things begin to go sour. Her new next door neighbour has been murdered, and her secretive American cousin seems to be the main suspect.
This could have been so good. Swanson’s last hit novel, The Kind Worth Killing (aw look at my baby review) was so goddamn exciting and thrilling but this was completely missing whatever spark the other had. A co-reviewer (Maxi/Slothreads) commented that this book was “uninspired” and I couldn’t have put that any better myself, hence why I’m quoting it. This had potential to work and be great but I feel like Swanson was pushed for time by his editors on this and spewed out whatever came to mind first. I know I sound like a total arse for saying that but I’m just really disappointed in this novel! Warning: some spoilers ahead.
Let’s start off by talking about our uninteresting characters. Kate suffers from anxiety disorder, made a lot worse by a terrifying incident she had with her ex boyfriend, so she decides to travel across the pond and into her cousin’s apartment. While anxiety is something I’m all too familiar with, I don’t actually have any sympathy for Kate, as we’re supposed to. If she was really as damaged as she is made out to be, I find it very hard to believe she would move to America for 6 months all by herself, make friends and chat with everyone she comes across and sleep with a guy, Alan, who’s admitted to being a creepy window watcher after 3 days of knowing him. Next, comes ol’ cousin Corbin who’s a cliche jock. Swanson makes him out to be the guilt ridden, caring man but after the revelation of his bad deeds in the past, how are we supposed to like him or feel sorry for him? It makes all the empathetic talk from him seem so creepy. Our only interesting character is, of course, the psycho. A bit of an over-the-top, cliche psycho, but at least worth reading about.
My main issue with this novel is the repetition of scenes. Our narrator chops and changes several times in the novel, so we’re often presented with a retelling of what we’ve already been told by another narrator. I’d say that at least 25% of this book is a repeat of a part we’ve already read, so it gets very tedious, very quickly. Another issue with this novel is the lack of plot twist, I mean, there is a plot twist, but it’s not that exciting and it happens early on in the novel, so the rest of the book plays out exactly how you would expect it to. Can I also quickly just complain about the unnecessary focus on the fact that Alan is Jewish? It made me uncomfortable. And that Swanson should have done some more research into England because we don’t have £100 notes.
This novel had great potential, but in the end, it was a letdown. The “ending” was terribly mediocre and then the remaining chapters were a waste of time to read, they really could have been removed.
Thanks to Netgalley and Faber & Faber Ltd for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.