I received a free digital copy of Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson from Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. I ended up liking it so much that I ordered a hardcopy from Book of the Month when they debuted it in March.
Hen and her husband, Lloyd, are finally settling into a routine in their quiet-ish lives. A move to the suburbs feels like a fresh start until an unwanted discovery threatens the normalcy Hen has tried so hard to maintain. Suspicions about her new neighbor, and his possible pastime as a murderer, push Hen to the edges of sanity. Unfortunately, Her own bouts with mental illness make Hen an unreliable witness and an easy target.
Matthew and his wife are confused by Hen’s obsession with destroying everything they’ve worked to build. The police are unsure if Hen’s testimony is based in fact or delusion. Even Lloyd can’t trust that Hen’s wild accusations against Matthew aren’t just a sign that she’s heading for another psychotic break. The harder Hen fights to prove she is sane the crazier she looks. She’s in a lose/die situation: But the question is, is it all just in her mind?
Crazy, Crazy, Crazier
We already know that I like a good psychological thriller. Before She Knew Him did not disappoint either. First, I love love love an unreliable narrator and Hen is as unreliable as it gets. At one point, I had no earthly idea where this story was going and I just couldn’t put it down until I found out. Hen’s dark personality coupled with her mental history really leaves you wondering what’s real and what’s not. Peter Swanson does an amazing job of keeping you at the edge of your seat with this one.
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Obsessions blurring the lines of reality and a strange sense of sexual tension makes Before She Knew Him a real page-turner. There were literally parts in this story that had me screaming at Hen like I was watching her in a horror movie. Before She Knew Him will have you trying to figure who’s a killer, who’s crazy, and who’s crazier.