I’d seen this book on a few blogs before my copy arrived and had an unfortunate case of book envy. It’s exactly the sort of novel I adore and I was starting to worry it was out overseas but not here.
Thankfully, fate, luck and the gods were all on my side as the book arrived and – despite some other commitments – I was able to polish it off in a couple of days.
Her Every Fear
by Peter Swanson
Published by Faber
on February 1st 2017
Source: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Thriller / Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Trading apartments with her Boston cousin seemed like a good idea to Kate. She might finally shake off the nightmares that have haunted her.
On arrival, she discovers that the woman in the next apartment has been brutally murdered. Kate’s worst fears are about to be realized, as the police come to suspect her cousin as the killer. There are other bodies in his past that she has yet to learn of.
It takes a little while as Swanson feeds us info in dribs and drabs (wretched authors not giving we control freaks everything we want at once!), but we soon learn that Kate’s still fragile after an event with an ex boyfriend five years earlier. The apartment swap is more an act of defiance than anything… doing something out of character and challenging herself and anxieties.
The murder of her neighbour – albeit before Kate arrived – could easily have caused Kate’s anxieties to spike, but she’s surprisingly zen about it all… until it seems her absent cousin, or another neighbour could be involved.
Swanson has us head jumping a little, which was a little disconcerting, though only in the beginning when I wasn’t expecting it, and at the end where the plot jumps about in time.
We spend a lot of time early on with Alan, a neighbour in Kate’s new complex and he’s amazingly forthright about his old habit of watching the murder victim in her apartment. It’s because we’re in his head it’s pretty obvious that he’s not the killer, so we can discount him pretty quickly. Kate’s not as sure however, which frustrates her as the pair have an instant attraction.
We’re also in the head of Kate’s cousin Corbin and another of his friend’s. Despite Corbin’s foibles, he’s likeable and I found myself siding with him more than I probably should have.
We learn ‘whodunnit’ before the end, but aren’t sure how things will pan out for those involved.
Swanson’s book is well-paced and I was turning page after page, eager to learn everyone’s fate. He manipulates the timing of chapters at the end so things are slightly out of sync, and I couldn’t decide if the tactic was exceptionally clever or a tad confusing. It heightened my anticipation, but also had me re-reading bits to confirm my understanding.
As a lover of ‘justice’ in the guise of ‘karma’, I was a little frustrated by the conclusion, but it made sense and was probably better that Swanson didn’t cave in to sentimentality.
This is an enjoyable read and – like Swanson’s debut novel, The Girl With A Clock For A Heart – offers up unpredictable and not-always-likeable characters and a complex and twisted plot.
Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson was published in Australia by Allen & Unwin and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.