The Girl With a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson

Published: 2014

Genre: fiction

Length: 289 pages

Setting: mostly Boston, MA area, present day, with some flashbacks

Interest: It was my book club’s pick for the month. They picked it because it’s in the same genre as Gone Girl (which most everyone had read, including myself) and The Girl on the Train (which was probably too popular right now to get enough library copies of the book).

Summary: George Foss has led a pretty quiet, ordinary life. However, when his college sweetheart, Liana Deeter, shows up in his neighborhood bar, his life takes a definite turn toward the “more exciting”, and not in a good way. Liana needs George to return some money to an ex for her. Turns out, she’s setting up the ex for a robbery, and using George as a patsy. The police get involved, but George decides to do a bit of detective work on his own. He finds Liana and her accomplice and nearly ends up dead. During the current story, we’re also seeing flashbacks of the time when George first met Liana in college and learned she was impersonating another girl in order to go to college.

Final thoughts: I didn’t really like this book. It reminded me a lot of Gone Girl, which I also had problems with. Liana was so manipulative I had no sympathy for her. Instead, I kept wanting to yell at George to stop listening to her and stop taking her side. Didn’t he learn in college that she was bad news? Even after he figured out her dastardly plan, he still went to look for her without telling anyone where he was going. Dumb. He seemed unbelievably obsessed with her.

We had a great discussion about the book at book club. Many people really enjoyed the book (and they were usually people who also like Gone Girl), but I wasn’t the only one who was less than thrilled. The ambiguity of the ending and Liana’s motives in killing people also led to some interesting debate. I would recommend the book for another book club for these reasons.

Title comes from: It was a phrase Liana used to describe herself. While she was impersonating Audrey Beck in college, she felt like there was a clock inside her, ticking off the moments until the alarm went off and her deception was discovered.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 64/100 in my Finally to 100 Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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