Before she knew him A novel

Peter Swanson, 1968-

Book - 2019

Henrietta and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen is an illustrator, works nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. When they meet the neighbors next door, she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband's office shelf: a sports trophy exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen has long had been obsessed with this unsolved murder. 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. . . -- adapted from jacket.

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FICTION/Swanson, Peter
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1st Floor FICTION/Swanson, Peter Due Dec 11, 2023
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Suspense fiction
Psychological fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers [2019]
Main Author
Peter Swanson, 1968- (author)
First Edition
Physical Description
309 pages ; 24 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

What would happen if a serial killer met the perfect confidant, someone who would never be believed if they revealed his or her secrets? Nothing good. Hen and Lloyd Mazur's move to the suburbs is meant to be a fresh start; Hen has recently been released from a psychiatric hospital after a manic episode sparked a dangerous obsession with the murder of her neighbor, Dustin Scott. Their first dinner with new neighbors Matthew and Mira Dolamore is going smoothly until Hen recognizes a fencing trophy in Matthew's office that she knows was taken from Scott's murder scene. Certain that Matthew is Scott's killer, Hen begins following him and soon wins a hollow victory when she witnesses him killing another man. Matthew, however, has seen her, too, and confident that Hen's mental-health challenges make her an unreliable witness he seizes the opportunity to unburden himself. Instead of relieving pressure, though, this dangerous connection sends Matthew spiraling out of control, leaving only Hen to stop him. Swanson has crafted another bar-raising psychological thriller with this tense, unexpected spin on serial killers and those obsessed with them.--Christine Tran Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

At the start of this exceptional psychological thriller from Swanson (All the Beautiful Lies), bipolar Hen "Henrietta" Mazur and her husband, Lloyd Harding, have dinner one night at the suburban Boston home of neighbors Mira and Matt Dolamore, with whom they've recently bonded over their mutual childlessness. At one point, Hen spots a fencing trophy on their hosts' fireplace mantel that she believes was won by Dustin Miller, a college student who was murdered two years earlier and who attended the high school where Matt teaches history. Matt claims that he bought the trophy at a yard sale, but Hen, who's become obsessed with Dustin's case, suspects that Matt killed Dustin. The next day, when she visits the Dolamores, the trophy is missing, reinforcing her suspicions. However, Hen gets little support from Lloyd or the police because of her history of mental health problems and of falsely accusing others of murder. An uneasy relationship soon develops between Hen and Matt, whose traumatic childhood adds emotional heft to the narrative. Surprising twists help keep the suspense high to the end. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Assoc. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

The latest thriller from Swanson (All the Beautiful Lies, 2018, etc.) is a twisty, fast-paced tale that depicts picket-fence suburbia's seamy, murderous underside.Hen and her husband, Lloyd, have just left Boston for the tranquil burbs, and things are looking up for her. After a psychotic break sparked by the unsolved murder of a neighbor, Hen is on the mend, her bipolar disorder under control, her optimism resurgent, her career as an illustrator of dark YA books taking off. At a meet and greet she and her husband hit it off, or think they should, with their next-door neighbors Matthew and Mira, the only other childless couple nearby. But when they cross the driveway for a barbecue, the potential for neighborly coziness curdles. Hen notices a little fencing trophy on a shelf in Matthew's office and recognizes itor wonders if she recognizes itas one of the mementos the police reported was stolen from the murder scene in the city. When Hen recalls that the man killed was once a student at the prep school where Matthew teaches history, Hen grows suspicious of Matthewand starts to stalk him. Is this a break in the case or the beginning of another fit of paranoia? And even if it's the former, who will believe Hen's suspicions given her earlier obsession with the case and the hospitalization it led to? Swanson is at his best in exploring the kinshipor what some see as the kinshipbetween artist and killer, one of the themes of Swanson's great model and forebear, Patricia Highsmith. Swanson isn't quite up to Highsmith's lofty mark, and he succumbs toward the end to a soap opera-like plot-twist-too-far...but for the most part, this novel delivers.A dark, quick-moving, suspenseful story stuffed full of psychological quirk and involution. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.