Book Review: Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

Book: Before She Knew Him

Author: Peter Swanson

Pages: 309

Genre: Thriller

Rating: 9/10

Who Should Read This Book: Thriller fans, but the type of thriller where you know who the killer is and you’re waiting for them to get caught.


This was the last thriller of 2019 and I loved it. It was my second book by Peter Swanson and I just love his style. The first one I read was The Kind Worth Killing and in that one, like this one, you the reader know who the killer is, you’re inside their head and you are waiting for them to get caught.

Before She Knew Him follows Henrietta or Hen an artist with a studio outside of Boston. Hen and her husband Lloyd move into a new home and when they finally meet their neighbours Matthew and Mira, Hen immediately knows that Matthew is a murderer. Unfortunately Hen is an unreliable witness, having already had many manic episodes in her life, she is on medication and no one believes her when she tells them what Matthew is. So she sets out to prove herself and Matthew decides what he needs to do about this new neighbour. It’s a tough decision for him because he only kills men.

Hook 2/2 points: Welcome to the neighbourhood, you live next door to a serial killer. What a hook. Add in that your narrator is unreliable and you have a great thriller.

Writing 2/2 points: I really like Peter Swanson’s writing style, the characters are always so well developed. You really get into their heads. Everything flows really well too, I flew through this book making it my last read of 2019.

Plot 2/2 points: I personally love knowing who the killer is. I know some people like to try and figure that out themselves, and I enjoy that type of thriller too. But this style is more dramatic to me and sucks me in more. The whole time I was rooting for Matthew not to get caught which made no sense because I was also rooting for Hen to have someone believe her!

Twist 1/2 points: Because we know a lot of the details already the twist is small but it was still pretty shocking, something I never expected!

Feel 2/2 points: Great! The whole way through I was captivated with the characters and the plot. Swanson really knows how to get your attention and keep it.

Overall I really loved this one. I want to read all of Peter Swanson’s books. I have another one on my shelf called All The Beautiful Lies that I will be picking up very soon.

Happy Reading!

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

  1. Sounds like a good book. I’ve discovered Peter Swanson recently too so I’ll look out for this one. The Kind Worth Killing was brilliant. All the Beautiful Lies was good. Those are the only two of his that I have read.


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