Before She Knew Him - Peter Swanson
Reading Challenge Category: Free ARC from NetGalley
'They had a secret, the two of them, and there was no better way to start a friendship than with a secret.' When Hen and Lloyd move into their new house in West Dartford, Mass., they're relieved to meet, at their first block party, the only other seemingly-childless couple in their neighborhood, Matthew and Mira Dolamore. Turns out they live in the Dutch Colonial immediately next door. When they're invited over for dinner, however, things take a sinister turn when Hen thinks she sees something suspicious in Matthew's study. Could this charming, mild-mannered College Professor really be hiding a dark secret, one that only Hen, whose been battling her own problems with depression and medication, could know about? Lloyd certainly doesn't seem to believe her, and so, forced together, Hen and Matthew start to form an unlikely bond. But who, if anyone, is really in danger?
This was brilliant, really hooked me right from the beginning. It’s a slightly different kind of thriller than I’m used to as we know all the players right from the start, we know who the bad guy is and what he has done and what he plans to do. I was reading it wondering where it could go as so much is divulged right from the start but trust me it really takes you by surprise. I did not see the end coming at all. I found myself going through everything I’d just read to see if there had been any clues and there wasn’t. It was so well done. It’s been a while since I’ve been taken by surprise like this and that for me gets it five stars! Hen is a loose cannon because of her bipolar and makes her really intriguing, is everything that is happening, really happening? Or is she having a manic episode and taking us, the readers, along for the ride? I loved the idea of her artwork and would love to actually see some. I liked the detail it went into of the processes that she deployed to create her masterpieces. The detail wasn’t over the top, though, so you aren’t trudging through lots of description. It was just the right amount interspersed with the story. The bad guy, for a murderer, is really likeable. I don’t know why, but I was rooting for him, and that’s crazy, he’s the bad guy. He just seemed so genuine in his reasons and what he was doing. The story develops quite slowly but at enough of a pace that keeps you turning the page to see where this will end. Overall, an excellent read that went by so fast it was really gripping!