Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman
While on spring break during his senior year, Aiden is just looking for a hookup to kill time and soothe wounds from his past, but when he wakes up next to a dead lover, his life changes forever. A gay terrorist organization and the authorities seem to believe he’s an expert black hat hacker capable of controlling government drones. When they begin to threaten his already heart-broken family, Aiden decides to fight to get his life back and prove to himself and everyone else that he is more than damaged goods.
Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller that you won’t be able to put down. There are guns, hitmen, electrocutions, bombs, arrows, car chases, and more. Woven throughout this hectic plot is a teenager trying to find himself and come to terms with his family’s distance and opinion on his sexual orientation (Aiden’s gay).
That said, there were some believability issues. At one point, the authorities decide to use Aiden to get to the terrorist organization. The way this was executed and how his parents seemed to just let Aiden run off into danger was not believable. Because of these issues, the novel felt more like the author’s fantasy than a book in some places. If you love action movies, this might not bother you as much.
Aiden’s decisions were also a bit unbelievable at times. Teenagers can be stubborn and rash, but they aren’t stupid. Aiden insists on not going to the police and dealing with his mistaken identity and the terrorists all by himself consistently, despite making everything worse. This made him rash and unlikeable at times. He also didn’t seem to have any goals for the future and his life beyond his spring break. Without a desire – other than survival and proof of innocence – Aiden didn’t feel real enough for me.
However, his relationship with his family and introduction into his sexuality were completely genuine. Aiden’s family experienced a major tragedy, causing his parents to become distant and Aiden to feel a bit abandoned. This was very real. Aiden’s first love and the scars it left behind were also well-executed and honest. You get to see Aiden’s thoughts and feelings about his past throughout the novel because Swipe Right for Murder is written in first person present tense.
Even though there are some brief sex scenes, they are not overly graphic or violent. These are not tacked on either. They are important for the plot and reveal pieces of who Aiden is. There is some violence and death, but they are not graphic either.
One aspect of the story I loved was the terrorist organization. They were well-organized, cult-ish, and realistic. Their motivations for doing what they did and how they aligned with some of Aiden’s beliefs and experiences were thought-provoking.
Overall, I was hooked by the title of this book: Swipe Right for Murder instantly caught my attention. It delivered on its action-adventure, murder mystery promise, but I just couldn’t get past some of the believability issues or as into the characters as I wanted to. If you love murder mysteries and action, you might find Milman’s novel worth reading.