BOOK REVIEW | Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

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4/5 stars

From the publisher:
Growing up, Kate Priddy was always a bit neurotic, experiencing momentary bouts of anxiety that exploded into full blown panic attacks after an ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and nearly ended her life. When Corbin Dell, a distant cousin in Boston, suggests the two temporarily swap apartments, Kate, an art student in London, agrees, hoping that time away in a new place will help her overcome the recent wreckage of her life.

But soon after her arrival at Corbin’s grand apartment on Beacon Hill, Kate makes a shocking discovery: his next-door neighbor, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police question her about Corbin, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own—curiosity that intensifies when she meets Alan Cherney, a handsome, quiet tenant who lives across the courtyard, in the apartment facing Audrey’s. Alan saw Corbin surreptitiously come and go from Audrey’s place, yet he’s denied knowing her. Then, Kate runs into a tearful man claiming to be the dead woman’s old boyfriend, who insists Corbin did the deed the night that he left for London.

When she reaches out to her cousin, he proclaims his innocence and calms her nerves . . . until she comes across disturbing objects hidden in the apartment—and accidently learns that Corbin is not where he says he is. Could Corbin be a killer? And what about Alan? Kate finds herself drawn to this appealing man who seems so sincere, yet she isn’t sure. Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination full of dark images caused by the terror of her past, Kate can barely trust herself . . . So how could she take the chance on a stranger she’s just met?

Yet the danger Kate imagines isn’t nearly as twisted and deadly as what’s about to happen. When her every fear becomes very real.

And much, much closer than she thinks.

My thoughts:
This psychological thriller had my heart racing more than once with its creepy characters and twisted motives. In Her Every Fear tensions run high as we work to piece everything together.

Kate, a British woman reeling from a trauma with her ex boyfriend, takes up the opportunity to switch apartments for six months with her American cousin, Corbin. The two have never met, but the arrangement is made and before long Kate is on a flight to Boston. Kate suffers from anxiety, exasperated by her recent experiences, and wonders if she has made the right choice when she discovers that a young woman has been killed in her Boston apartment building. Shortly after settling in, she meets a neighbor named Alan, and begins to feel more at ease. Meanwhile Corbin, miles away in Kate’s flat, is hearing the news of his neighbour’s death. It’s clear that Corbin was in a relationship with his neighbor, yet he denies knowing her past hallway meetings when questioned by Kate. After Alan makes a startling revelation, Kate begins to suspect everyone and to trust no one.

This is a slow burning mystery, which is just my style. It’s told from multiple perspectives, which allows for a deeper understanding of each person’s motivations and experiences. We know who the killer is fairly early on (or can pretty accurately speculate), so the enjoyment comes in slowly unraveling the story, leaning how each character made their way to this point. The multiple POV narrative works well, but does allow for quite a bit of repetition. The last 100 pages or so read like rapid fire – I couldn’t put it down!

I struggled a little with Kate as someone who suffers from anxiety. For the first few chapters, I was sold – I could feel her sweaty palms and heart beating as if they were my own. As the story picks up, many of her anxious behaviors and thoughts disappear, which I suppose may have been intentional – a sign that Kate is no longer succumbing to her anxiety and entering into a new space psychologically.

I really enjoyed this read and have already picked up The Kind Worth Killing. Swanson has me sold and is writer I will be watching!

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