With shades of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, this story opens with nine people receiving a list of names without an explanation. It soon becomes obvious what the list means as they start to die, one by one, in mysterious circumstances. If you haven't read Christie's book, there is a spoiler towards the end of Nine Lives, so be aware.
The people on the list do not know each other and there is no obvious link between them. One is a member of the FBI but their detective work is limited as they go into hiding as a potential victim themselves. So there are nine rather mundane people going about their lives and the reader gets a snapshot before they are bumped off.
The book is clearly written with short chapters from the point of view each of the nine characters. Given this, it is a little difficult to remember some of those who are unremarkable and thus it is hard have empathy for any character really. The brevity of the chapters keeps the pace and works well in this way.
A quick mystery whodunnit, perhaps a little tenuous in the motivation, but a fairly good read for fans of Swanson, even if this isn't one of his better novels.
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Published by Faber on 3 March 2022.
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.