BEFORE SHE KNEW HIM by Peter Swanson

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Hen (short for Henrietta) and her husband Lloyd have just moved into a new house just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. They start to meet their neighbors shortly after moving in as a normal activity for people changing into a new environment.

Hen is an illustrator, and a fairly successful one. She is bipolar and has had a bad experience some years ago with a murder of someone that was close to her at that point. But she seems to be on the right meds with her condition controlled and has found happiness with Lloyd and with her work. This was until she and Lloyd in their process of meeting neighbors are invited to Matthew and his wife’s home. Hen sees a sports trophy displayed which she is sure belonged to the person murdered years ago and realizes that Matthew is probably the murderer.

Certainly this recognition would normally provide the ingredients of a great story with Hen reporting her suspicions to the police and than later confronting Matthew as he actually murders another man. But Swanson takes us far beyond one crime as the reader is introduced to Matthew’s psychotic brother Richard, Lloyd’s affair with another woman and her murder, and a probable description of the crime occurring years ago that Hen was privy to. A convoluted set of events certainly but put together by a master of the genre and bringing a great story and some sleepless nights to a fascinated reader. The ending is not broadcast but is logical based on events described with further books by Swanson eagerly awaited.

3/19 Paul Lane

BEFORE SHE KNEW HIM by Peter Swanson. William Morrow (March 5, 2019). ISBN 978-0062838155. 320p.

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