Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

Before She Knew Him - Peter  Swanson

Before She Knew Him was the second book I’ve read by Peter Swanson and it’s obvious he’s improved in the craft. His characters are now fully formed; however his plot does suffer ever-so-slightly as a result, although I did enjoy this.


Hen and Lloyd move in next door to Matthew and Mira and when the aforementioned couple go to Matthew and Mira’s house for the evening Hen spots an item on display that was embroiled in a murder investigation. This ignites her suspicion of him and thus begins a game of cat and mouse between the two. It’s better to know very little about the plot before you go into this thriller, so I’ll leave it there.


The novel is narrated by Matthew and Hen predominately, with a few chapters from the perspective of Mira (Matthews wife) and Richard (Matthews brother).

There was a lot of detail pertaining to character traits which really helped me connect with them, however this sometimes veered into the needless and slowed down the progression. For example, we’d be continuously told what someone was making to eat, which had no bearing on the plot. The pace was sometimes a little slow with chapters ending sedately, meaning I didn’t always care about reading on. The style and tight prose sustained me, though, plus I knew major themes were in the works.


There was a nice twist towards the end, not the best, but good enough. From reviews I read I was expecting something more, but it wasn’t anything I suspected, so there was that.


The characters were the best element. I cared about them and wanted to find out what happened to them, so I’d definitely say this is worth the time if you’re looking for something lightish.