The elderly owner of a decaying hotel in Kennewick, Maine, is shoved to the ground, dragged to a tidal pool, and held there face down until he drowns. When police arrive, they find a crumpled piece of paper clutched in his hand.
On it is a typewritten list of nine names. Nothing more. But the hotel owner’s name is among them.
Meanwhile, in cities and towns scattered the length of the country, eight other people receive the same list in the mail. They include a struggling actor in Los Angeles, a college professor in Michigan and an FBI agent in New York. Some of them are men and some are women. Most, but not all, are middle-aged. They appear to have nothing in common.
The only name any of them recognize is their own.
Before long, another person on the list is murdered. And then another. Realizing it’s a kill list, the FBI scrambles to locate and offer protection to everyone left — no easy task since some of the names are common.
Mystery fans will be quick to recognize that the plot of Peter Swanson’s “Nine Lives” resembles Agatha Christie’s classic novel, “And Then There Were None.”
For the full text of my review for The Associated Press, please click here.