Book Review: Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

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Title - Her Every Fear
Author - Peter Swanson
Publication Date - January 10th 2017
Publisher - Faber & Faber
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided by publisher via NetGalley)
Pages - 352

Following a brutal attack by her ex-boyfriend, Kate Priddy makes an uncharacteristically bold decision after her cousin, Corbin Dell, suggests a temporary apartment swap - and she moves from London to Boston.

But soon after her arrival Kate makes a shocking discovery: Corbin's next-door neighbour, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police begin asking questions about Corbin's relationship with Audrey, and his neighbours come forward with their own suspicious, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own.

Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination playing out her every fear, Kate can barely trust herself. So how can she trust any of the strangers she's just met?

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson was a cleverly constructed, slow-burner of a novel that held me captive throughout. In the most delicious of ways, Swanson revealed the plot's secrets slowly and teasingly enough to have me hanging on the edge of his every word. With such a dark, mysterious and disturbing premise coupled alongside a collection of intriguingly suspicious characters, I was hooked and looked forward to returning to this novel each time I put it down.

In Peter Swanson's Her Every Fear, readers are introduced to Kate Priddy. Troubled by a dark past, suspicious of most things in life and capable of jumping to the worst possible conclusions in every circumstance that arises, I found Kate to be a very anxious and nervous woman. Not that I blame her, of course. When what had happened to her previously was revealed to me by the author, I could understand entirely why she acted and thought the way that she did. It made complete sense and made me feel closer to this character. After all, I don't think anyone who had experienced what Kate had been through would be the same person that they were before the devastation and tragedy struck. I felt that it was actually Kate's suspicious mind that added a whole heap of tension to this novel. Never quite sure of whether she was right or wrong, there was always a doubt which remained throughout the progression of the novel, leaving me completely unsure of what was around the next corner. Not one to make rash decisions or be bold and brave, it comes as a surprise to Kate's family and even Kate herself when she takes up her cousin's offer of an apartment swap. From London to Boston, it's a huge leap for Kate to take, but one that she feels will benefit her greatly. Even I was in awe of her. It seemed like a great accomplishment for Kate and even as the reader, I felt very proud of her, as bizarre as that sounds! When Kate does finally arrive in Boston, Swanson begins to bring a whole host of new characters' lives, past and present, into the picture, and this was where the plot really began to interest me.

Swanson begins to take readers back and forth between the present and the past. From Kate Priddy to Corbin Dell, a mystery begins to unravel that I delighted in discovering. I utterly adored how, piece by piece, things began to add up. Certain aspects of people's characters, and their roles in the early demise of Audrey Marshall, innocent and otherwise, began to make sense and I couldn't believe how fantastically secretive Swanson managed to remain about it all. I was fascinated by Corbin's early life, and found myself constantly wondering how the consequences of that time would affect the characters in the present day. Each character had something new and important to add to the plot, something that would have me thinking, 'Right, I know what's going on now' but a short while after thinking, 'Oh, okay. Perhaps not, then.' Chapter after chapter delivered a red-herring here and a dead-end there, leaving me clueless as to where I would be taken next. It was incredibly exciting to be led by this author down the paths which he had cleverly carved and, as odd as it sounds, I adored being tricked into thinking I knew what was going on when actually, I didn't.

Despite the sometimes disturbing content, this was a tremendously executed psychological thriller with a proper punch to it. From one chapter to the next, I never quite knew what was going to be around the corner. Swanson's attention to detail and timing was superb, seemingly revealing something shocking at just the right moment, just when the plot needed it. It was a constant back and forth of guessing and guessing again, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I haven't read any of the author's previous books, but after this, I think I'll have to. With such a smooth transition from past to present, and a roaring evilness that I couldn't quite let go of, I'm certain this is a book I will always remember.

Becca's Books is awarding Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson with five of my bookish cupcakes. A real gritty and shocking thriller with characters who I was sure I could never quite work out. Discovering the truth was a bumpy ride, but I felt a satisfaction the size of a tidal wave when this novel reached its conclusion. Twisting, teasing with a brutal murder, mixed with a mystery almost impossible to unravel, I could not get enough of this novel. I loved it.

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