Before She Knew Him

Before She Knew HimBefore She Knew Him by Peter Swanson
Published by William Morrow on March 5th 2019
Pages: 304
ISBN: 0062838156
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“They had a secret, the two of them, and there was no better way to start a friendship than with a secret.”

When I read Peter Swanson’s book, The Kind Worth Killing, I was completely blown away. I was hooked almost instantly and knew that this was only the beginning. Have you ever read an Author and thought “why have I never read a book by him/her before?” and “when I can get my hands on another of his/her books?” Well, I just got my chance!!!!!!!!!

Hen (Henrietta) and her husband Lloyd recently purchased a home outside of Boston. Hen is an artist and works at a studio nearby and is happy that she has found stability and a nice community to live in. She has bipolar disorder and is pleased that she has found the right medication for her. For once in her life, she feels in control and happy.

But during a dinner with her next-door neighbors, Matthew and Mira, she notices a sports trophy in Matthew’s office that appears to be the one which disappeared from the apartment of a man (Dustin) murdered in her former neighborhood two years ago. Hen is certain that is the dead man’s trophy. You see, she has been obsessed with Dustin’s unsolved murder. She knows absolutely everything there is to know about the case.

Could her next-door neighbor, Matthew be a killer? Is Hen on the verge of having a psychotic break? During her college years, during a manic episode she became obsessed with proving a fellow student had caused harm and ended up harming the woman in question.

Hen decides to keep a close eye on Matthew. Due to her prior history, no one believes her. Even her husband is concerned about her belief that their next-door neighbor is a killer. Is she right? Is she wrong? Then Matthew realizes that Hen is watching him one night in a dark parking lot…. this is when you know things are going to get interesting!!!! What will Matthew think about his neighbor following him? We get to know as we learn what both Hen and Matthew are thinking!!!

This is how you do it!!! I was drawn into this well written book right away. As I just stated, this book is well written, and I was captivated right away. Ever read a book that is well written but fails to grab you? I read one recently and it was disappointing. This was NOT the case here. This book grabbed my attention, drew me in, and had me glued to the pages/screen! This book is a journey to the truth. Is Hen right? Is she wrong?

I want to say so much more but I want to avoid spoilers. What I will say is that I appreciated how the Author handled Hen’s bipolar diagnosis. I cannot stand when people with a mental health diagnosis or those in psychiatric settings are portrayed in a certain way. It boils my blood. I was happy to see that Hen was never portrayed as “crazy”, “out of control” or as acting “irrationally”. She was a woman with a diagnosis who took her medication and enjoyed what she did for a living. I thought he showed respect and care with her character in terms of her diagnosis.

What I also loved was that I lost track of time while reading this book. The story never lagged, and the pace felt spot on. All the characters in this book are interesting. They all have their quirks and their own secrets. Even the killer in this book is likable. There I said it, I liked the killer in this book – in-the-killer-was-a-great-character-type-of-way.

This book does not come out for a while but keep your eyes out for this one. Fans of Swanson, you will not be disappointed. For those who have not read Swanson, check him out.

Thank you to Harper Collins and Edelweiss who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.


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