I picked this off the library shelf because I really liked a previous book by Peter Swanson, Eight Perfect Murders, although I found it "gimmicky".
Well, guess what, reader? Nine Lives is also super-gimmicky. But Swanson can bring this sort of thing off, because he's a very good writer and knows that you can't get away with mere gimmickry.
The gimmick here is a list of nine names. The opening chapters show the named people receiving their copy of the list, including Frank Hopkins, the elderly owner of the Windward Resort in "Kennewick", Maine. He picks his copy of the list off a beachside rock, and…
Everyone else gets their copy of the list in the mail. We get a brief intro to each of them and they are a diverse bunch, men and women scattered throughout the nation, with no obvious link between them. Slight spoiler: it becomes clear that they are targets for murder most foul.
It's a page-turner, no doubt. Will law enforcement figure out what's going on and thwart the killer before it's too late for everyone on the list? I liked the ending, but I can understand people who might not.