Thursday, May 23, 2019
Short and Sweet # 3 - Before She Knew Him - Peter Swanson
I love Peter Swanson's books - he writes lovely, twisted suspense that's unpredictable. Before She Knew Him is his latest.
From the publisher:
"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. . ."
See what I mean by twisted? What a premise! Hen is a decidedly unreliable narrator. She doesn't act or follow the path I thought she would have , given her discovery. And this is what I like about Swanson's writing - the not knowing what's going to happen next. I should be afraid for Hen right? Nope, she's a little bit scary herself....And the neighbour? He's uber creepy - and a high school teacher to boot. Swanson has come up with some fantastic last minute twists in the final chapters of previous books and does so again in Before She Knew Him. Didn't see it coming - and not sure I love it, but I was indeed surprised. Swanson's writing makes for addictive reading. Creepy, crawly good. Here's an excerpt of Before She Knew Him.