Today I have a review of Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson, publishing via William Morrow on March 5, 2019. Friends, I have to tell you. Peter Swanson’s The Kind Worth Killing is often what I name as the best thriller I’ve ever read! Please read on to find out how Before She Knew Him measures up!
Hen and Lloyd are married living the suburban life just outside of Boston. Hen has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and has recently found the perfect balance of medications to help her feel in control. Her life is peaceful, and she’s happy.
All of that changes when they meet their next-door neighbors. While visiting their home, Hen recognizes an object she knows belongs to a young man who was murdered two years ago. How does she know this? Because she’s been obsessed with the crime ever since it happened.
Is her neighbor, Matthew, a murderer? Or is Hen losing the tenuous grip on her mental health?
Hen becomes more and more obsessed with Matthew. As she observes him, she is increasingly convinced that he is responsible. It all comes to a head when she is alone in a parking lot with Matthew, and she knows he realizes what she believes about him. What happens next?
Peter Swanson knows how to write intense and captivating characters. While Hen was analyzing Matthew, I was, too, but I was also piecing together things about her. The writing is smooth, the pacing builds speedily along, and I was gripped for the whole ride. Also of note: Swanson is sensitive in his portrayal of Hen. He handles her diagnosis with care.
Overall, Before She Knew Him may rival The Kind Worth Killing for my top thriller spot! It has all the secrets, pacing, dynamic characters, and plot I long for in my thrillers, and I’ll be tapping my foot waiting for Swanson’s next effort!
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
Catching a killer is dangerous—especially if he lives next door
From the hugely talented author of The Kind Worth Killing comes an exquisitely chilling tale of a young suburban wife with a history of psychological instability whose fears about her new neighbor could lead them both to murder . . .
Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen (short for Henrietta) is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace.
But when they meet the neighbors next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder—an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either.
Could her neighbor, Matthew, be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate?
The more Hen observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her. Then one night, when she comes face to face with Matthew in a dark parking lot, she realizes that he knows she’s been watching him, that she’s really on to him. And that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape. . .
Have you read Before She Knew Him, or is it on your TBR? Have you read any other books from Peter Swanson? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR