Eye-Catching and Mysterious | Blog Tour + Review: Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

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Peter Swanson's been on my radar for a long time--Before She Knew Him was my first, but certainly not my last of his backlist!

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

Paperback: 320 pages
 William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 25, 2020)
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. . .
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Purchase Links

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Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)    
As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

My intrigue was on high as soon as I saw the cover for Before She Knew Him. For some reason the brightly designed cover and mysterious title piqued my interest before I even read the synopsis. I love a good contrast and the vividness in Before She Knew Him vs. its subtly mysterious title was eye-catching. Add in the fact that Peter Swanson's been on my TBR for quite a while and it should come as no surprise to you that I jumped at the chance to review this one!

There's this undeniably compelling quality to Swanson's prose. You can just as easily nod your head in agreement or feel the chill of his words. Before She Knew Him is one of those thrillers that is subtle in its craziness--before it sneaks up on you. The ideal thriller, in other words. Straight away, I had so many questions when it came to the stories central mysteries.

Before She Knew Him has a cast of characters that really, really intrigued me even further. As if the main mystery wasn't appealing enough, the sharpness of each of these characters lead me into an even more compelled state. Before She Knew Him was compulsively readable in so many levels, but the story wouldn't be half as captivating without these characters.

I wanted to know everything about them. Their pasts. Their present. Everything. As a reader who often indulges in thrillers/mysteries, very rarely do stories surprise me. I thought I knew where this story was going; who these characters were, what they were stumbling into. But Before She Knew Him managed to surprise me in a way that not every story can.

Before She Knew Him is woven together in an engaging, can't-put-down kind of way. Everything is connected and once the plotlines begin to unravel, there's really no turning back. There was a big part of me that didn't want to put down this book for a single moment because it was constantly building upon itself.

Overall, this was such an enthralling read that went from 'calm before the storm' to 'the storm' in an irresistible way. Peter Swanson, I see you, and I'm definitely diving into your backlist soon. Fantastic writing, highly atmospheric, and gorgeously paced, Before She Knew Him was such a great read.

Peter Swanson is the author of five novels, including The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger; Her Every Fear, an NPR book of the year; and his most recent, Before She Knew Him. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science FictionThe Atlantic MonthlyMeasureThe GuardianThe Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine. He lives outside of Boston, where he is at work on his next novel.
Find out more about Peter on his website and follow him on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Tuesday, February 25th: Reading Girl Reviews
Wednesday, February 26th: Bewitched Bookworms
Thursday, February 27th: PhDiva
Monday, March 2nd: Blunt Scissors Book Reviews
Tuesday, March 3rd: Books and Bindings
Wednesday, March 4th: Write – Read – Life
Thursday, March 5th: Jessicamap Reviews
Friday, March 6th: Booked J
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Thursday, March 12th: Instagram: @the.magicalpages

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