Kill Swap by James LovegroveThe idea for Kill Swap came to me, as the author’s note in the book states, when I was lying awake at four o’clock one morning. I’m not an insomniac, at least not much of one, but I do sometimes find myself snapping into consciousness at around 3 or 4 a.m. with my brain whirling full of thoughts, often bad ones (what my friend Peter Crowther calls “the rats”).

On this occasion, what waltzed into my head was a simple idea: what reason would someone have to kill a person they’d never met? I was due to write another Barrington Stoke title at this point anyway, and I suddenly realised I had the germ of a story right there. I freely admit that the initial part of the tale is a crib from Strangers On A Train (as pointed out in the review below) but the rest of it, with all its twists and turns, is pure spontaneous, original invention.

Amazon UK:


  • “Barrington Stoke is a new venture publishing short novels for reluctant readers. Universally excellent, its list features thrillers by such leading authors such as Robert Swindells, Kaye Umansky, Terry Deary and Catherine McPhail. James Lovegrove’s Kill Swap is typically clever and gripping.”Jack’s father is in debt to a gangster. He rings a mysterious company called Trouble Fix and is told that the gangster will be murdered if Jack murders a banker in turn. It’s like Strangers on a Train crossed with Big Brother, as the plot twists in an unexpected direction. Written in clear, terse prose, and typeset in easy-to-read paragraphs, this is hard-edged, fast-paced reading that does credit to an excellent enterprise.

    “[The book is] pure gold for boys who have read everything by Anthony Horowitz… or have not been able to tackle him yet.” – Amanda Craig, The Times

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26 Responses to “Kill Swap”

  1. jason says:

    it was a good book but the ending was a bit of a bumer do u have a second book

  2. James says:

    There’s no sequel, if that’s what you mean, Jason. But I’ve other books like it. Try Free Runner, Cold Keep, Ant God, or my 5 Lords Of Pain series, starting with The Lord Of The Mountain.

  3. Jonti says:

    ending was crap… :S sorry James. You can do better.

  4. James says:

    Fair comment. How should I have ended it, then?

  5. Kyle says:

    Hello James, I have read your book “kill swap” and I thought it was a great book but the ending could of been better or a seccond book, now that would be great and I would get it as soon as it comes out but you u can do wat ever you want because ur the author and you make them so i don’t know what im talking about I really hope you do make a 2nd book about “kill swap” thanks =]

  6. James says:

    I don’t know about a sequel to Kill Swap, Kyle. I’m not sure where the story or the characters could go after the end of the book. However, if you liked it (apart from the ending), you might also like Free Runner. It has the same sort of vibe.

  7. Jaymi says:

    Hey James, I loved the story. The only part that didn’t really catch my attention was the ending. My opinion is, in order to make KILL SWAP better is to make the 2nd book, but that is only my opinion. I hope some of this feed back has helped. Thanks 😛

  8. James says:

    No probs, Jaymi. In fact, you’ve planted the seed of the idea for a sequel. I’ll mull it over. I can see a way it might work! I’d have to see if Barrington Stoke, the publisher, would be interested, though.

  9. Montana says:

    Well james i though it was an amazing book, well done 🙂

  10. Lucinda says:

    Hey James, i read kill swap the book was amazing, loved every part of it.
    I think you should make a 2nd book for it that would top it

  11. James says:

    Hi, Lucinda. That’s not a bad idea, a follow-up to Kill Swap. We could find out if Jack really did kill the producer, and if so, how it changed him. Even if he didn’t, the experience of being on that reality show would definitely have changed him. I’ll have to wait and see if the publisher, Barrington Stoke, ask me to do another book for them. Then I might suggest the idea of Kill Swap 2 to them!

  12. Robert says:

    Why do all blame the ending?? I think the whole book was great, i read it in school for an analysis, it was the right grade of book for me, I live in Sweden 🙂
    Loved the book, and Ps th ending wasent crap, write ass you want, if they dont like it, then why did they read the book. Ds
    Thanks for the book James

  13. James says:

    Thanks for saying so, Robert. I’m glad you liked the book… and the ending!

  14. Lucinda says:

    Hello again James,Could you please suggest a book to me that you have written… I Loved Kill Swap ans you would not think that it would have ended in such a way 😀 Could you please suggest a book to me that is like Kill Swap? Thanks Lucinda x

  15. James says:

    Hi, Lucinda. You might like to try Free Runner or the 5 Lords Of Pain series, if you’re into martial arts stories, or perhaps Warsuit 1.0, if you like sci-fi. I’ve also just published the first book in what I hope will be a series, a detective story called The Black Phone. Hope that helps.

  16. Aneesah says:

    Hello James, Kill Swap was on of the first books of your I have read. I, myself do like to write stories, I may be 15 but as a young girl I have caught the interest of many people/writers. Kill Swap totally lured me into wanting to read more about what was happening, if I were in such a situation I wouldnt have thought of such.The first chapter completely mezmorized me, honestly. James, you are a really good writer and I enjoy reading your books, and intend to carry on doing so! Great book, loved it!

  17. James says:

    Thanks for saying so, Aneesah. Keep up the good work with your writing. Something will surely come of it. The trick is not just to have talent but to have the ambition to succeed in the publishing world, as well as the self-belief to keep going if rejection or disappointment comes your way. Oh, and having some good stories to tell helps too!

  18. Jawad Zahid says:

    I really liked your book it was fun to read,but you could of made the ending better, but still it was fun and you might make the second book for killswap it would be good

  19. James says:

    I did have an idea for a follow-up to Kill Swap, Jawad, but I don’t think I will get a chance to write it, unfortunately. Unless enough people demand it…!

  20. Eddie says:

    The end was bulshit You could have done a lot better

    i loved the book thrugh think of better names though for the charecters

  21. oliver says:

    did you rite in old english or contemporary? what is the clear message in the book?

  22. Zak Beck says:

    Hey james , got your book from the school library becaude I had just finished a series and as I picked it up I thpught looks crap bit mightaswell take it.
    I went to bed that night and read it all in one ! I really loved it the ending was goof I think people just wanted tonkeep reading . If you brought out a second book thatwould be AWESOME !!!! This was totally up to standards w/ alex rider , cherub , harry potter and divergent. Keep up the good work!

  23. James says:

    I’m glad it wasn’t as crap as it looked, Zak! No plans for a second book, unfortunately, though it might be fun to see what other trouble Jack might get into.

  24. Zain rafiq says:

    Hey James, like most of people I didn’t really like the ending. Any word on a sequel? I would totally publish it if I was them!

  25. James says:

    No sequel planned, I’m afraid. You’ll just have to imagine what Jack does next!

  26. Ryan says:

    james good book but the same with me the end was not good but make a second book and make it better

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• Filed under Books • 01/01/2007 •