“George Foss never thought he’d see her again, but on a late-August night in Boston, there she is, in his local bar, Jack’s Tavern.
When George first met her, she was an eighteen-year-old college freshman from Sweetgum, Florida. She and George became inseparable in their first fall semester, so George was devastated when he got the news that she had committed suicide over Christmas break. But, as he stood in the living room of the girl’s grieving parents, he realized the girl in the photo on their mantelpiece – the one who had committed suicide – was not his girlfriend. Later, he discovered the true identity of the girl he had loved – and of the things she may have done to escape her past.
Now, twenty years later, she’s back, and she’s telling George that he’s the only one who can help her…
In his electrifying debut, Peter Swanson evokes the spirit of Body Heat and Double Indemnity, in a thriller about love, loss and those memories we hold closest to our hearts.”
Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson. The Girl with a Clock for a Heart was published by Faber & Faber on 2nd June 2016 and is available in all formats.
It’s a well-known fact that I am, officially, the world’s biggest Peter Swanson fan (the nice kind, of course, not the stalker kind 😬). So I was aghast when I realised that one book from Swanson’s back catalogue was missing from my shelf, his debut – The Girl with a Clock for a Heart. I wanted to rectify this heinous oversight of mine as quickly as possible so bumped everything else I was planning on reading down a notch to make room for this cracking debut!
George Foss lives a fairly ordinary life where nothing much happens, which is exactly how George likes it. Until the day he sees someone he recognises in a bar. He thinks it’s his college girlfriend, the woman who broke his heart and, if truth be told, he never got over. But that can’t be right. Because George’s college girlfriend committed suicide. Or so he thought. On leaving the bar George knows he’ll never rest if he doesn’t check, so he returns, spinning his date a tall tale in order to call an early halt to the evening’s proceedings. Within moments of re-entering the bar he knows for sure, it’s her. And she needs George’s help. He’s the only person who can help her. But George’s willingness to do anything for the love of his life may be the death of him…
The Girl with a Clock for a Heart is an intriguing, well written mystery full of, what has become over time, Swanson’s trademark suspense. I really liked George but wanted to him to wake up and smell the coffee. However, his obsession with Liana seems to completely cloud his judgment (it did then, it certainly does now), very much returning him to the intensity of first love infatuation. And don’t we all remember that?! Well, no…perhaps not to George’s extremes, but each to their own.
Told in the past and the present, I really enjoyed the flashbacks to the early years of George and Liana’s relationship. Discovering exactly what terrible deceit Liana had spun to George as teens. There are multiple twists and turns throughout the book which keep the reader on their toes and I became desperate to discover the next jaw-dropping reveal, refusing to put the book down for any length of time. The way the author slowly reveals to the reader what happened twenty years ago had me on the edge of my seat.
Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I would recommend The Girl with a Clock for a Heart along with Swanson’s entire back catalogue because he is an absolute master storyteller. The way this author writes suspense is like nobody else and it’s an absolute joy – a tense, unnerving, pulse-racing joy – to read. I firmly remain Peter Swanson’s biggest fan and I look forward, with baited breath, to his next release which is Nine Lives in March 2022 (and then the one after that, and the one after that, and so on…). Recommended.
The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson was published in the UK by Faber and Faber on 2nd June 2016 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop |
Peter Swanson is the author of six novels including The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, Her Every Fear, an NPR book of the year, and his most recent thriller, Eight Perfect Murders. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian, The Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine.
A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, he lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife and cat.