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Before She Knew Him

A Novel
Written by: Peter Swanson
Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (105 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Catching a killer is dangerous - especially if he lives next door.

From the hugely talented author of The Kind Worth Killing comes an exquisitely chilling tale of a young suburban wife with a history of psychological instability whose fears about her new neighbor could lead them both to murder....

Hen and her husband, Lloyd, have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen (short for Henrietta) is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace. 

But when they meet the neighbors next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder - an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore but can’t fully shake, either. 

Could her neighbor Matthew be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate? 

The more Hen observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her. Then one night, when she comes face-to-face with Matthew in a dark parking lot, she realizes he knows she’s been watching him, that she’s really on to him; and that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape....

©2019 Peter Swanson (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great storytelling!

another great novel! before finishing this one, I purchased another audiobook by Peter Swanson because I enjoyed the writing style so much. the characters had great depth and the storylines were awesome. very easy (but smart!!) read and the narration was very well done. recommended to anyone who likes psychological suspense/thrillers. also loved the mid-century modern vibes I was getting throughout??

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A brilliant storytelling, a captivating writing.

Peter Swanson is a Master in telling suspenseful story that flows effortlessly and ticks all the boxes in a thriller genre. This is another of his wonderful books, I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Engaging characters but maybe too much coincidence

Compelling mystery and villains. Complex characters. A little too much coincidence--plot a bit tortured in its attempts to connect all the parts together.

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  • JJM
  • 2019-05-11

Awesome

Great book. Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. Twisted plot, suspenseful and the narrator was excelent. I highly recommend this book.

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amazing twists throughout<br /><br />

well worth it
I really hope it gets made into a feature
film one day

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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

First book in a while that I really enjoyed. So many books of this genre are the same.
I loved how the author gets into the character's heads.

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  • shelley
  • 2019-03-09

Very Dark Psychological Thriller...

From the author of "The Kind Worth Killing " (which is still his best) comes a dark, disturbing, creepy yet captivating thriller. Again the publisher's summary gives a very good description. What it leaves out is the spine tingling, hair raising feeling you get when listening.
Henrietta knows her neighbor is a killer. He's told her so after she discovered a trophy from a young man who was murdered years earlier. He too was her neighbor in a different time and place.
Mental health issues run rampant. The police are disbelieving because Henrietta has a history with them.
The ending has a great twist that blew me away!
The characters are likable, even the killer (Matthew) who was molded by his father to become what he is.
The narration is excellent. The two narrators worked very well together.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

301 of 323 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sara
  • 2019-03-07

Perfection... story and narration alike!

Really, I think I’m going to need Peter Swanson to start producing these books a bit quicker! I had this beauty preordered on Audible since January. I’ve been counting the days til it’s like. Now, two days later I’m standing here shocked that I’ve listened to this audiobook from start to finish within 24 hours. I’m floored with the storyline.

Swanson creates these really twisted characters. He had me questioning who to believe and then, he let me in on MOST of the secret. He unfolded everything but 2 little things I never saw coming! I was really shocked that I listened to a 10 hour audiobook so quickly! Swanson has really developed a fan in me with his last two books. But this book, Before She Knew Him, shocked me. I really don’t feel like that happens enough anymore. The way Swanson developed this story and places these little sneak peaks strategically from time to time made it darn near impossible for me to pause or turn this audiobook off. One of the best thrillers/suspenseful books I’ve listened to in months!

The narrators, Sophie Amos and Graham Halstead, were enthralling! Amos’s voice is incredibly pleasant to listen to. She really adds a lot to the audiobook... the inflections and nuances helped keep me sucked into every word Swanson wrote. It’s a while into the book when we first hear Graham Halstead’s voice. I was a bit surprised at first, I didn’t realize there was more than one narrator until he spoke. However, I was so happy to have him. It was like he pulled me out of my enchantment from Sophie Amos. He has this strong gruff-like voice when next to Amos. It was perfect to place such different sounding narrators together... they paired perfectly!

120 of 130 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-03-10

Amazing!!!

I have enjoyed all of Peter Swanson’s books but this one was the best by far. Kept me enthralled the whole time and I devoured it in a day. Can’t wait for his next one. Now it is going to be hard to find a book to follow this one that is anywhere near as captivating.

28 of 31 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeeves
  • 2019-04-08

Excessive Details Destroy Story

Another miss in the category of "psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator and surprise twist ending." I would have disliked it less if I hadn't just read a great book in this same vein.

The author felt his overabundance of details (he poured a Lagunitas IPA into his favorite beer glass as he ate his grilled chicken with sweet potato fries while watching the Red Sox game on his Visio TV) could overshadow the trite story, cliche characters, and even more predicable "twist ending." Would not recommend.

51 of 59 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • C. Vincent
  • 2019-03-24

Not twisty - predictable

I’ll be in the minority, but, oh well. I’ve seen this plot twist before. I didn’t find it particularly surprising and found the novel itself rather boring. Performances were good. I’m tired of books with a main character no one believes.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-04-05

kept waiting for the "twist"

maybe I've read to many books in this genre but this was so predictable and really a let down. I loved A Kind Worth Killing but this was so boring. quick read though.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rene Clayton
  • 2019-03-19

Extraordinary! Edge of your seat thriller!

Narrator: Fantastic
Story: Thrilling
Easy listen
I haven't listened to a story in a while that kept me this interested.
LOVED it!! Highly recommend.
Great for a long drive.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gretchen SLP
  • 2019-08-18

🤺👁👩🏻‍🎨🌪Didn’t See It Coming👥⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚖️👩🏻‍🎨🖼🖌

Wow, this was fun. I avoided it for a long time after I bought it, out of sheer dread, because every time I listened, the palpable sense of foreboding the author so skillfully creates was just too much. I’m super glad that I finally faced my fear and finished it, though. It’s probably the most realistic (despite a few unlikely story elements) and interesting thriller I’ve ever read, and the character development is first rate. I can’t think of another male author who successfully creates such fully realized, interesting female characters. The references to music, art, clothing, food, sights, smells, and sensations add to the sense of realism. The twist, when it came, made me gasp...yet it made perfect sense. I will definitely seek out other works by this author.

The narrator is very good, and perfect for the material. I believed her completely as Hen, but her male voices are good also.

Grade: A

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Belkis
  • 2019-03-09

Good entertainment

The story was well written and the narration was perfect. I enjoyed listening to this story. Thank you!

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • I'm a wolf rider, I'm free
  • 2019-03-25

predictable

I don't want to give any spoilers but the narration was really good, however the story was predictable and ended exactly like I expected it to.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful