‘Before She Knew Him‘ is an insanely good suspense novel.
The answer to the ‘whodunit’ question is duct-taped to the first few chapters of the book’s 309 pages. Figuring out the why’s and how’s of the mystery are the real brainteasers. Why would a happily married guy living a stress-free life as a teacher at a prestigious prep school be a cold-blooded murderer and how did he hide his true nature for so long?
The story begins on an early fall night in a well-heeled commuter suburb forty-five minutes from Boston. When Mira and her husband Matt invite neighborhood new-comers Henrietta and Lloyd to dinner the young professionals spend a cozy night exchanging first impressions and lasting conversations. As the night ends Henrietta launches into a plot-driven detective story complicated by her well-documented history of serious mental illness.
Although stable, Hen’s past bi-polar histrionics undermine her credibility with her husband, new neighbors and police detectives when she insists Matt is the unlikely culprit of an unsolved murder. Skillful writing draws readers into the psychological frustration experienced by ‘the eccentric’ who realizes she’s slowly being seduced by the arrogant murderer with impeccable credentials.
Using the conspicuous inequality of their reputations, author Peter Swanson, the creator of four other books and winner of the New England Society Book Award for fiction, creates in ‘Before She Knew Him‘ a nightmare scenario worthy of broader consideration. Obliquely, this thriller also exposes some common fault-lines of our culture. As a society we habitually assume those who work in an ivory-towered institution must be heir to its professionally polished facade of honorability. In this novel, as in today’s educational, liturgical and political headlines, appearances are often deceiving and guilty players use false pretense to their duplicitous advantage.
This page-turner, with a distinctly Boston accent, has many of the characteristics of a Hallmark channel rerun of “Murder She Wrote“. The sinister intentions of ‘Before She Knew Him‘ are, however, far more intense than those in which Angela Lansbury’s amateur sleuthing exposes the semi-baffling secrets of the criminal’s deadly past.
When your book club thinks it’s time for a scandalous murder-mystery consider reading ‘Before She Knew Him‘. Its twists will make you think twice about your neighbors and give you the type of shivers that are totally ~ ToDiFor!
Released on March 5th, ‘Before She Knew Him’ was written by Peter Swanson who has earned degrees at Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Emerson College. Swanson lives with his wife in Somerville Massachusetts and is busy writing his next novel.
You can purchase a copy right here.