Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson
Published March 5, 2019 by William Morrow
From Publisher: 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 . . .
My Thoughts: I should probably apologize in advance for this extremely vague review BUT this is most definitely a book you don’t want to know much about going in. Trust me. Also, I loved/hated this book so rather than be super confusing with my details as to why I’ll just give you a quick overview.
As I said, I loved this book so much…up until I didn’t. For much of the book, I couldn’t wait to pick this back up when life intervened. But then a plot development happened and I’ll admit, I got pretty mad.
Hen and her husband Lloyd are new in the neighborhood and have been invited to their neighbor’s house for a party. When Hen notices a statue on the shelf in their den, she’s convinced it belonged to a boy who was murdered years ago. A case Hen had previously been completely obsessed with. You see, Hen has her own mental health issues but she’s determined to find out if her neighbor Matthew is a killer.
I absolutely love how Swanson writes in your face psychopaths and mentally unstable people who may or may not be reliable. Truly, he’s brilliant at it. I found the fact that he shined a bright light on these characters and put the crazy front and center so refreshing. There’s no beating around the bush about who’s not playing with a full deck. And I was totally happy about that. In fact, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see how it all played out. Until one major plot point left me feeling manipulated on such a level that rather than feeling like oh you totally got me I felt angry about what I believed to be pure gimmick. This had been such an intricate, interesting story up until that point. When I read thrillers I don’t mind being kept in the dark and being surprised by the resolution (in fact I prefer it) but I don’t want to feel tricked by the author’s use of a gimmick and that’s how this one left me feeling. I know I’m being vague but I don’t want to give a single detail away. Read this for yourself and see what you think, then message me to discuss. Overall, this was an addictive, page turning read but I was disappointed in the end.
Thanks to William Morrow via Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review