Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman: A Twisty Thriller feat. The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

I didn’t realize I wanted to read a thriller, but I wanted to read a thriller.

Swipe Right for Murder is a twisty, action-packed, on-the-run type of thriller where you can’t be sure who’s the bad guy, but you know things are going on. It’s full of “everything is going to hell,” teens making bad decisions (and learning from it!), and some romance too.

I totally loved the thriller portion, but I definitely didn’t expect some of the added depth to it too. If you’re looking for something super gay, full of Complicated Feelings While You’re Maybe Going To Die™, definitely pick up Milman’s sophomore novel, Swipe Right for Murder!

Content Warnings: p*dophilia, death, murder, suicide, stalking

Obviously there were twisty thrills!

This was the part I didn’t know I needed, but I definitely loved the twists and turns.

I love how Milman messed with our minds and made us doubt who was good, who was bad, and everyone’s motivations. We weren’t even sure what Aidan might do sometimes, and for someone who was looking for a fun read (not necessarily something to solve), this was really enjoyable.

It built a lot of suspense and really kept us reading. I do think if you want to solve the mystery, this might not be the book for you, but if you want to experience a thriller, definitely check it out!

There are mysterious third parties, the FBI, terrorist hacker groups, and more. And a lot more going on than Aidan thinks.

It explored a lot of complicated topics—grief, relationships, and activism.

This was definitely the surprising part of this because I wasn’t expecting these elements.

Grief, because Aidan suffers nightmares and other effects after his older brother’s death when Aidan was 11, as well as the suicide of one of Aidan’s hookups, who was the father of his best friend.

I definitely was cautious about this because that’s very predatory of the father and something that Swipe Right for Murder didn’t necessarily condemn at the beginning. I would say that it is condemned (The adult being predatory, I mean. This isn’t Aidan’s fault.) in the story in the end, but I also don’t know if the disapproving message got across as strongly as I wanted to.

I think teens & adults reading this who are at risk of feeling like predatory action from adults is okay should steer clear, just because I don’t feel like Swipe Right for Murder was clear enough in the end that an adult having sex with a minor is wrong. That’s p*dophilia.

So yeah, I think people who read this need to understand that adults having sex with minors is (1) wrong and (2) not the minor’s fault, just going into the book.

It also does a bit of a take on activism and combatting homophobia, which was surprising and I’ll get into in a second.

I did think some of the philosophy was relatively simplified?

This is part of the reason why I’m not sold on this.

I felt like in the book the philosophy surrounding activism was largely boiled down to “love! being the better person! peaceful protest!” vs. “anger! violence! getting revenge!” and I felt like it ignored a lot of the nuance. I realize that this is already a large book and it is primarily a thriller and YA, but I felt like there was the implication of the message that “love will heal our nation” *cOUGH Marianne Williamson*

I think it’s a little more complex to this and I’m definitely not saying that violence is the answer, but I wanted to get a little more from this topic since Milman did decide to tackle it.

It was geared around homophobia and fighting it, and I also think that Milman’s take was a bit . . . white. The contributions black trans folks had in queer history felt a little bit glossed over, and I was looking for something a little more inclusive in the philosophy, something with a little more acknowledgement of QPOC.

The philosophy wasn’t terrible, but it did feel like it was missing something.

But overall, this was a fun read!

It wasn’t perfect, but it was thrilling and engaging and we got a lot of the gays, haha!

Swipe Right for Murder makes me excited to pick up Milman’s debut which is another dark comedy (Scream All Night)!

3 stars

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Aidan is a perfect case of “wrong place, wrong time.” After a hookup arranged by a gay dating site goes wrong (The hookup, dead. Aidan, framed. Scary people, after Aidan.), Aidan is on the run from both the FBI, needing to acquire dangerous code that he doesn’t have.

But as Aidan runs from both physical threats and his demons, he doesn’t know who to trust, who’s the bad guy, and what he should do. He’s just trying to survive.

Content Warnings: p*dophilia, death, murder, suicide, stalking

add to goodreads here

Thank you to Jimmy Patterson for sending me an advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review!

What queer thrillers would you recommend?

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