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

Title: The Girl with a Clock for a Heart

Author: Peter Swanson

Published: Faber and Faber February 2014

Status: Read from February 05 to 07, 2014 — I own a copy {Courtesy Allen & Unwin}

My Thoughts:

It has been twenty years since George Foss last saw the first girl who broke his heart. He and Audrey were inseparable for the first semester of college but over the Christmas break he was devastated to discover he never really knew her at all, not even her real name. In the intervening years he has both dreamed of, and dreaded the idea of, seeing her again and now she sits across from him, Liana Dector, begging for his help. George knows he should turn Liana away, she is a con woman, a fugitive, suspected of murder, but he finds he can’t resist and is soon ensnared in her web of lies, theft, violence and betrayal.

Swanson justifies George’s willingness to become involved with Liana’s manipulations in the present by illustrating the fervour of their short-lived college romance. Despite time and truth, George’s youthful obsession with the enigmatic Liana has barely faded and given the opportunity to be her hero, to save her, and perhaps win her back, he disregards the danger to himself. In part his involvement is also a manifestation of a mid life crisis, George’s life has been ordinary, and he has never recaptured the intensity of his time with Audrey/Liana. I believed in George’s motivation to help Liana but I can’t say I understand his compulsion, as such I didn’t really engage fully with him.

Liana is a classic femme fatale, a manipulative, intelligent, seductress who uses men to get what she wants. As the narrative shifts between George and Liana’s past and their reunion, the author slowly exposes her history, though never really confirming what George, or the reader, suspects, and makes it clear that she can’t be trusted.

As such the twist to the tale is not entirely unexpected but it does have impact. There is no tidy resolution to The Girl With a Clock For a Heart, leaving Swanson the opportunity to revive the characters at a later date. I don’t mind an open ending, and think in this case it is appropriate, but it may irritate some readers.

The Girl with a Clock for a Heart has a noir-ish feel which is evident in his characterisation and Peter Swanson’s admiration for Hitchcock shows in his storytelling. It didn’t grip me but the novel is an easy read and a solid debut thriller.

Available to Purchase From

Allen & Unwin I boomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AU I via Booko I AmazonUS


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Patty
    Feb 19, 2014 @ 01:53:33

    This was written by a friend of ours and I have been afraid to read it!



  2. Jo
    Feb 19, 2014 @ 03:58:59

    Hmmm. Not what I expected from the title. I occasionally enjoy the noir-ish feel, but I don’t know if I’d be up for what you’re describing.



  3. Kailana
    Feb 19, 2014 @ 09:04:31

    This has been around lately and it does sound good. When I first heard of it I thought it was a fantasy novel based on the title



  4. 5eyedbookworm
    Feb 20, 2014 @ 20:57:04

    I’m really looking forward to reading this. I’m a big fan of thrillers and mysteries so this something right up my alley. 🙂



  5. stacybuckeye
    Feb 21, 2014 @ 15:01:51

    I thought I wanted to read this but now I’m not sure.



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