Book Title: Her Every Fear
Author: Peter Swanson
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Fiction
Date Read: 11/14/16
Pub Date: 01/10/17
The danger isn’t all in your head . . .
Growing up, Kate Priddy was always a bit neurotic, experiencing momentary bouts of anxiety that exploded into full blown panic attacks after an ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and nearly ended her life. When Corbin Dell, a distant cousin in Boston, suggests the two temporarily swap apartments, Kate, an art student in London, agrees, hoping that time away in a new place will help her overcome the recent wreckage of her life.
But soon after her arrival at Corbin’s grand apartment on Beacon Hill, Kate makes a shocking discovery: his next-door neighbor, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police question her about Corbin, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own—curiosity that intensifies when she meets Alan Cherney, a handsome, quiet tenant who lives across the courtyard, in the apartment facing Audrey’s. Alan saw Corbin surreptitiously come and go from Audrey’s place, yet he’s denied knowing her. Then, Kate runs into a tearful man claiming to be the dead woman’s old boyfriend, who insists Corbin did the deed the night that he left for London.
When she reaches out to her cousin, he proclaims his innocence and calms her nerves . . . until she comes across disturbing objects hidden in the apartment—and accidently learns that Corbin is not where he says he is. Could Corbin be a killer? And what about Alan? Kate finds herself drawn to this appealing man who seems so sincere, yet she isn’t sure. Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination full of dark images caused by the terror of her past, Kate can barely trust herself . . . So how could she take the chance on a stranger she’s just met?
Yet the danger Kate imagines isn’t nearly as twisted and deadly as what’s about to happen. When her every fear becomes very real.
And much, much closer than she thinks.
I’m always cautious going into a severely hyped up book these days. It seems those are the ones with the most potential to disappoint, as expectations are at their highest. I’m pleased to announce that this book lived up to the hype, but for me it was in a completely different way. Her Every Fear was an unexpected read for myself based on how it’s being marketed. I knew it would be hard to top the author’s mega successful thriller The Kind Worth Killing which swept the genre last year, and I’m pleased to say that his goal seemed to be creating a different beast and showing off his talent in writing something with more emotion as opposed to sheer shock value. This is a book that messes more with the mind than with cheap scare tactics; sometimes I feel these are truly the most haunting of all and the hardest to pull off, but Peter Swanson does this with the ease of a writer who has been doing so for decades.
The number one noticeable difference in my expectations vs. the reality of this read is that it is heavily character driven. While this definitely counts as a psychological thriller/domestic suspense, the story was a steady, consistent pace with minimal thrilling action. The meat of this story is getting into the minds and lives of these characters and slowly spiraling down their web of crazy, tragic, and disturbing lifelines. This is not a complaint, just an observation. I felt Swanson did a fantastic job of taking us through this creepy experience, and did so in a different way than most. For example, the reader discovers the murderer(s?) fairly early on at about 40% in. This does take a bit of the mystery factor out of the remainder of the read, but really ramps up the suspense as the heart of this story is the why and how. This was also different in his form of using multiple POVs; the story is told between 4 characters and while most books tend to alternate by picking up and leaving off between various people, this story tells the same scenes from all different viewpoints. I was torn on this method; I really enjoyed getting into the head of each character and feeling like I was tapping into all possible details, but at the same time felt a few parts were repetitive as they didn’t really contain varying information. However, the author took a huge chance writing his book this way and for the most part, it works and I applaud him for being so creative and pulling off such a feat.
“From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And other things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us”
If you want to know how well-written this book is, just appreciate the fact that I had to immediately get up upon finishing and check under my bed for monsters. I can’t remember the last time I’ve read a book with such a stand out villain; the particular one I am thinking of was a dark, violent animal who is 100% likable. Immediately my brain went to envisioning the heart of most politicians. 🙂 Swanson truly captured the sense of these psychopaths who walk among us; we have been shocked in history at some of the most proficient serial killers as they were some of the least likely suspects based on those who knew them personally. These sly devils hide in plain sight and win us over with their charm and manipulation. This aspect of the story is what set Her Every Fear apart from others of it’s kind. Go into this one knowing this is not an action thriller so that you can fully appreciate the finer touches of Swanson’s writing and the complex nature it took to pull off a book of this magnitude. I will agree with those who have compared this to a Hitchcock thriller; it does have all the characteristics and I feel like it would make a fine black and white movie. Once again, I’m left even more excited about the next book the author will write and can’t wait to see what direction he takes us in! Highly recommended!
*Many thanks to the author and publisher for providing my copy via Goodreads Giveaway; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.