Book Review: The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson

30366941Edition: Paperback, 333 pages
Published by: Faber & Faber
Genre: Crime, Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Completed: 8th August 2016

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…

Untitled 4

Many thanks to Faber & Faber publishing for kindly sending me a copy of the book!

Following the success of The Kind Worth Killing, Peter Swanson’s debut novel The Girl With A Clock For A Heart has been reissued with a new cover.

This story follows George Foss, who works at a literary magazine, lives with his cat called Nora and has a sort of girlfriend, Irene. He lives an ordinary life and nothing interesting happens, until his college one-time mysterious girlfriend appears out of the blue at a bar asking for help. Does he help her? Of course he does. He doesn’t even have to think about it.



The writing is told in the past and present tense format. For the most part, I liked reading the flashbacks from George’s time at college. It was interesting to read his first encounter with Liana, how smitten they both were by each other, only to become devastated that she committed suicide…or did she? Whilst visiting her parents, he makes a shocking discovery that the girl in the photos isn’t the girl he met at college, then who is she? Already, that’s a plot twist.

I found George as a main character is very bland and rather frankly, an idiot. He is a grown man, with a life and a brain (I should think so anyway) but after all these years, he still remains awfully smitten by Liana and hasn’t at all moved from her since college. Seriously, what is it about this girl? She is dangerous and clearly her intention was to use George for selfish reasons.

This book lacks character development. I didn’t get the sense that George matured throughout the course of this book. He still felt like that eighteen year old at college but by the time he realises the truth, it feels as though it’s too late. As you’d expect in most mystery/thriller type of book, characters are unsurprisingly unlikable. Typically in this genre, I don’t think there has been a character that I really liked.

There were twists and turns here and there and it was interesting to read how the final outcome plays out in the end. I enjoyed the easy readable writing style. It is a quick fast-paced read, where you couldn’t down the book down because you’re curious to find out where this story is heading.

Overall I rate this a 3 stars. I did enjoy the story but felt like the author could of made George a bit more interesting and I would have liked to see more character development. I liked The Kind Worth Killing so much more! That book is definitely worth reading, however The Girl With A Clock For A Heart is not a bad read. If you’re looking for a quick mystery/thriller book, then I’d recommend this.

The Kind Worth Killing Review


3 stars out of 5



11 thoughts on “Book Review: The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson

  1. The title really caught my attention. It’s really bold and unique, and I have to wonder how the title relates to the book! This review makes me want to read the book, even though you only gave it three stars. I was actually looking for a short mystery thriller to red next, so I’ll have to check this one out!
    As a means of a short introduction, my name is Grace from , and I’m excited to see all your future posts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it is quite a catchy title! It’s basically a metaphor of how George describes Liana. I had some issues with it but its still a good read if you’re after a quick mystery read! The 3 star rating was mostly due to the ending, I think and would have liked to have seen a bit more character development. Oh then you might like this one! I hope you’ll enjoy it 🙂 Nice to meet you Grace! I’m looking forward to reading your future posts as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a brilliant review, Thuong! After reading the premise, I have to admit that I feel pretty hooked. And it’s so hard to imagine that George never moved on even for 20 years. It’s too bad that his character remains stagnant throughout the book though; these type of synopses leave a lot of potential for character development… However, I’m glad you enjoyed some aspects (usually reading passages about the past tend to bore me; good thing it was incorporated well in this!). ^.^

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Summer! 🙂 Yes I agree it does sound very intriguing. Its boy meets mysterious girl but turns out she’s not who he thought she was. Its a quick read, so its probably why the author didn’t develop George’s character enough but it would have been nice to see some development. Yeah I thought the flashbacks were quite interesting! As long as it isn’t too long…I like them short where it gets straight to the point XD

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was reading the synopsis and was like “WOAH THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY”.
    What a shame this book falls short! It’s a very interesting premise, but I can definitely see how such a book would have the pitfalls you outline. I think one of the tropes I’m suuuper tired of are characters who can’t move on. I mean, don’t get me wrong, everyone has their own pace and I understand why some people never move on, but when a book centers on that very fact – meeeeeh.
    I think I’ll shelf this, as per your suggestion, as a book I’ll read if I want a quick read. :3 Thanks Thuong!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you CW! Yeah the summary actually gives it all away 😮 the summary on the back of the book was pretty brief, so I didn’t know Liana committed suicide but then it turns out to not be her?! thats a twist. The main character could have been more interesting but I think maybe the author wanted to write him this way.
      Yes I agree, it just feels unrealistic, I mean 20 years is a hella long time! Very meh XD.
      Yeah this one is definitely of one those fast pace quick reads if you’re in a mood for mystery 😉 I hope you’ll enjoy it!


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