Book Reviews

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

Hen and her husband Llyod have settled into a quiet life in a new house and Hen has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. However, when they meet the neighbours next door, Hen’s calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on their office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like the one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she has long had a fascination with this unsolved murder – an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either…

This is more of a thriller than a mystery novel, since we know immediately who did it. But the story is like a cat and mouse game between Hen and Matthew. It plays into a psychological portrait of justice and abuse, while uncovering the dark secrets within us. Although, I did suspect the outcome of the ending midway through, it was still a good surprise ending.

I loved that no one in this story is trustworthy and everyone is messed up in some way. Especially since the POV shifts between Hen and Matthew. And the way that Swanson reveals the key plot twists was amazing, hiding them within other dark secrets for us to discover along the way.

I read this as the audiobook and Sophie Amoss did an excellent job narrating this thrilling story. Not to mention, Graham Halstead who voiced Matthew’s mysterious brother, added a spine-thrilling element to the audio.

Overall, Swanson creates a sinister and compelling novel that everyone must read.

Reviewed by Diane Stewart
Library Assistant

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Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

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