Author: Vicki Pettersson
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Swerve is the horrifying psychological thriller that ensues after Kristine Rush and her fiancé, Daniel, stop at an abandoned rest stop in the middle of the desert on their way to his mother’s house for a Fourth of July party. Kristine desperately needs a place to change and although she is leery of the deserted rest stop, she goes in. As she changes, Kristine is ambushed by a man and when she narrowly escapes with her life, she finds that Daniel is missing. When Kristine gets into the car, she discovers that Daniel’s phone has been left behind and a message from her phone illuminates the screen. She realizes that her attacker is communicating with her through Daniel’s phone and if Kristine wants him back alive, she will need to follow all of the attacker’s instructions. Kristine is pushed to her limits as her attacker tests how far she will go to keep Daniel alive. She has twenty four hours to save Daniel and her attacker ensures that each obstacle is more terrifying than the last.
The entire story is told from Kristine’s point of view, as she struggles to complete the tasks that her attacker demands of her. It’s obvious from Kristine’s inner dialogue that she has a dark past, but her past doesn’t become clear until much later in the book. She continuously mentions the Coal Man and thinks back to how she has dealt with a psychopath before, but what she is alluding to isn’t revealed until the end of the novel. After learning about Kristine’s past, I really respected her as a character and continued to root her on. Kristine will stop at nothing to find Daniel and she proves to be resilient in her mission to find him. Her daughter, Abby, is mentioned throughout the book and eventually appears in a few of the later scenes. The love that Kristine has for her daughter is so unconditional and I really enjoyed the scenes that they shared together.
About halfway through the novel, Kristine discovers who her attacker is. I hadn’t been able to guess who the attacker was, and it left me a little shocked. As she interacted with her attacker, his twisted and psychotic thoughts are revealed. The attacker justifies all of his actions and truly believes that he is doing good in the world. In fact, he even tries to blame some of his actions on Kristine. When the attacker shares the a scene with Kristine, it’s cringe worthy and enough to make your skin crawl. I think Pettersson did a great job creating such a frightening villain and his actions kept me on edge until the end of the novel.
One of the main reasons that I did not really enjoy the novel is the amount of gore that it contained. The book is filled with graphic and violent scenes and although the plot was interesting, the violence was too much for me to handle. I also did not really like how the motivation of Kristine’s attacker seemed to change. In the beginning, the attacker tells Kristen that he is doing all of this to see if she cares about people, rather than the possessions she seems to value instead. The motivation then changes and the attacker claims that he kills in the name of evolutionary progress. Although a small disconnect, the inconsistency stuck with me throughout the novel.
Swerve is a psychological thriller that will keep you at the edge of your seat and afraid to turn off the lights. It is definitely a book for those who enjoy the horror genre and not for those who are a bit more sensitive. I am not personally a horror fan, nor do I enjoy copious amounts of gore, so this wasn’t the book for me. However, I appreciated the plot and storyline and thought that it was a very engaging novel. The characters were interesting and if you can handle disturbing, horrifying, and violent scenes, this would be a good novel to read.
If you have read Swerve, please share your thoughts in the comments. To view Swerve on Amazon, click here.
I received a copy of Swerve from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.