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Before She Knew Him

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  38,225 ratings  ·  4,714 reviews
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
Hardcover, 309 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by William Morrow
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Leslie Tavares-Raposo
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Tiffany I really think it depends on your teen. This was a book my mother would have allowed me to read at that age. My parents never sheltered me or limited …moreI really think it depends on your teen. This was a book my mother would have allowed me to read at that age. My parents never sheltered me or limited my selection of books. I was devouring Steven King, Mary Higgins-Clark, Danielle Steele and Nora Roberts before the age of 12. My mom caught a lot of flack over the years for allowing me to read whatever I wanted, there were lots of permission forms signed between her and the school because I was obsessed with banned literature. She gave me the freedom to explore what genres and authors I enjoyed and I believe that made me a better, more confident reader.

Only you know your child's level of comprehension and ability to look at the story objectively. If you are still unsure, read it for yourself and then determine whether you feel comfortable letting your teenager read it. (less)

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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  38,225 ratings  ·  4,714 reviews

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Emily May
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
"They had a secret, the two of them, and there was no better way to start a friendship than with a secret."

Some seasoned Swanson readers are saying Before She Knew Him wasn’t as compelling as his other books. Well, that bodes well for me because I found this quite thrilling!

Speaking of thrills, Before She Knew Him is a thriller, not a mystery, if that distinction is important to you. There's no whodunnit because we know almost immediately who did it. Instead, the book is at times a game of c
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
This book was messed up in the best possible way!

This is my fourth book by the author and I think it's one of my favorites (with "The Kind Worth Killing"!).

The twists didn't feel forced, the story flowed nicely and the characters were intriguing.

Would recommend!
j e w e l s
FIVE STARS- UPDATE: Happy Book birthday TODAY to this yummy thriller!
You say Peter Swanson wrote it?... I say, yes, please, just give me that book! I don't even care what it's about. If Swanson writes it, I must read it. The man creates dark characters caught up in the most clever story lines you will ever come across in this genre.

I got no business reading this yet since it doesn’t come out for at least three months, BUT I COULDN’T WAIT ANY LONGER. And now that I finished it, my head is spi
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

This was my first book from Peter Swanson, but all his books are on my TBR for ages. So, it was a really good start.

*** WARNING ***
If you are not familiar with the story, please don't read the blurb nor (most of) the reviews, because they are full of spoilers. Just go in blind, and you will not regret it.

I just tell you some sneak peek, without any spoilers.
This book is about two couples who are neighbors. Somebody sees something and it will be very dangerous. Everything is connected in some
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
4.25 stars

Creepy, Captivating, and a little strange!

Before She Knew Him has a Rear-Window like quality with oddball characters and some huge twists. This is an intriguing psychological thriller about the very strange friendship of two neighbors.

“They had a secret, the two of them, and there was no better way to start a friendship than with a secret.”

When artist Hen and her husband Lloyd move to a quiet suburb outside of Boston, they are hoping to embrace the quiet life their new town has
Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
”I didn’t know that blood could jump like that, almost like it wants to leave the human body, get as far away as possible. I’d read about it, of course, in books, and I’d seen it in movies, the way arterial blood will spray. But to see it in reality, to see the life of it, that was something...something I can’t even express in words.”

Henrietta Mazur will tell you to call her Hen because that is what everyone calls her. When people do that to me, force their nicknames on me, I have a tendency to
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edelweiss
4.5 stars

"They had a secret, the two of them, and there was no better way to start a friendship than with a secret."

When I read Peter Swanson's book, The Kind Worth Killing, I was completely blown away. I was hooked almost instantly and knew that this was only the beginning. Have you ever read an Author and thought "why have I never read a book by him/her before?" and "when I can get my hands on another of his/her books?" Well, I just got my chance!!!!!!!!!

Hen (Henrietta) and her husband Lloyd
Mary Beth
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Catching a killer is dangerous—especially if he lives next door

OMG! I was totally Gobsmacked by that ending. The author really fooled me. I was not expecting that, it was a big jaw dropping moment.
I thought it was clever. Another crazy thriller that had everything that I love in a thriller.
I really loved this book! Don't read the blurb, the best way to start this one is to go in blindly.
This was a fast paced read.
I thought this was just as good as The Kind Worth Killing.

This was a Traveling S
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)

I find myself saying “I should have known this, I should have figured this out”, but I didn’t and that is one reason that this thriller is a strong read.

The characters in this book are certainly all flawed, some mentally ill, but I felt them to still be believable. The plot is creepy and at times a little gruesome but if you watch any news or TV dramas you know that people are capable of murder and bizarre killing. In the beginning we aren’t quite sure what is going on with Ma
Sumit RK
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Before She Knew Him is my second book by Peter Swanson after the The Kind Worth Killing (if you haven’t read the book, read it NOW). Just like The Kind Worth Killing, Before She Knew Him is a dark and suspenseful psychological thriller with several shocking twists.

Hen (short for Henrietta) and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston. Invited to a dinner by their neighbours next door, Hen spots a familiar object displayed on the neighbour’s (Matthew)
Holly  B
Talk about "killer" suspense!

It is fast-paced.

It is dark and twisted.

It is strange, zany, and a bit outlandish, but at the same time seems realistic. After all, there are plenty of far-fetched true crime mysteries out there.

Henrietta and Lloyd are the new neighbors on the quiet street. Mira and Matthew are their next door neighbors and they invite them over one night for dinner. Mira gives them a "tour" of their home and Hen sees something that spikes her interest.  One thing leads to anothe
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddy-read, edelweiss
Question: What if your neighbor turns out to be a cold blooded killer? What if no one will believe you? Not your husband...not even the police!

Hen and Lloyd are over-the-moon. They’re moving into their new home in Massachusetts and everything is just picture perfect. Now it’s time to get acquainted with the neighbors! In particular, Matthew and Mira. The only other couple on the block who don’t have children. Great, they already share something in common! Maybe a great friendship can blossom bet
Jennifer Masterson
4.5 Stars for “Before She Knew Him”. Boy was this novel creepy, bloody, dark and twisted! I loved everything about this book! From the moment I started it until the moment it ended I was completely captivated by the insane story. I did figure out the biggest twist and that’s the only reason I am giving this novel 4.5 and not 5 stars ⭐️!

I listened to the audio version. I almost skipped this book because the sample that Audible used made the narration sound kind of flat. Don’t let that Audible sa
Kylie D
An interesting enough thriller, though never really gripping. Hen and her husband Lloyd have just moved to a new house in the suburbs of Boston, and soon find themselves invited to the next door neighbours house for dinner one night. As they get shown around the house Hen sees something there that shouldn't have been, something that brings to mind an unsolved murder from a few years ago.

As Hen starts to watch her new neighbour, she realises just how suspicious he is, and that is she doesn't repo
Chelsea Humphrey
I received this as an ARC via the publisher during the great thriller slump of 2018/2019, so I held off on starting it until the tides turned. I'm glad I waited, because Swanson is a favorite author of mine, and also because I was able to snag the audible version as well. Here's to hoping it's a thrilling read!

Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is written in typical Peter Swanson know what that means, it is flipping mind blowing! How does he come up with this stuff? The premise was absolutely brilliant! You think your neighbor is a serial killer so what do you do? You stalk him of course! Hen, what the heck are you thinking?!

Hen and Lloyd move into a home on Sycamore Street, a nice peaceful street where nothing much happens. Yet after meeting her neighbors Mira and Matthew, she is convinced that Matthew is a m
Meredith B.  (readingwithmere)
5 Stars!

I suspect my brother is not what he seems. Not that I blame him. Anyone who got through our childhood gets to do what he wants. We are owed, He and I. about getting my hyped up about thrillers again. The last few I've tried to read I've just gotten bored so I'm glad I joined in on this buddy ready to pick me back up!

Hen and Lloyd live in a nice little neighborhood where they've made a good life for themselves doing what they want to do. They meet the couple next door - Mir
Susanne  Strong
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss, buddy-read
3.75 Stars.

Oddly Addictive.

You know how I always say that far-fetched plots never ever work? Well somehow, “Before She Knew Him” by Peter Swanson proved me wrong.
In the weirdest, wildest way possible, parts of this novel worked. Jaw dropping and strangely addictive, the multiple plots wove together in a way that kept my attention even though it stretched believability and I can’t quite figure out how.

When Hen suspects the worst about her nextdoor neighbor Matthew, no one believes her, not he
I absolutely loved this author's book, The Kind Worth Killing, but I found myself oddly reluctant to pick up another of his books, worried it wouldn't live up to my expectations. Turns out I was right. My one pet peeve in this genre is when a big twist is revealed and based on previous things that happened in the book IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. This book absolutely has this problem.

Major spoiler do not read unless you want basically the entire book plot spoiled!!!
(view spoiler)
Katie B
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

I've now read all 5 of Peter Swanson's books, and this one is my second favorite, ranking just behind The Kind Worth Killing. It was disturbing but I didn't think it crossed into super uncomfortable territory when it's not even fun to read. I thought it was an entertaining read and really showcased some of the author's strengths as a writer.

Hen and her husband Lloyd seek more of a quiet lifestyle and move into a neighborhood outside of Boston. They are invited over for dinner at their n
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How well do you really ever know someone?

This book was impressive. I've always loved Peter Swanson, falling in love with his writing after reading, The Kind Worth Killing and Her Every Fear. I feel as if he is like a wine, his writing gets better with time.

The story was chilling, nuanced, and dark. The character development was thoughtful and complex for a psychological thriller. Not only was this fast-paced, but I was interested in the protagonist, Hen. She was a complicated character with
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This may be the best Peter Swanson book that I've read yet. He's typically a three star read for me but he has earned an extra star for this one!

Hen and her husband Lloyd have just moved into a new home right outside of Boston. They meet some new neighbors at a neighborhood block party and strike up a conversation that then leads to them making dinner arrangements. Hen & Lloyd agree and will eventually wish they hadn't.

While at Matthew and Mira's for dinner Hen notices something that she can n
Umut Rados
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites-2019
BLEW MY MIND! Best crime fiction I've read in a long time. So clever, so unpredictable, full of twists and turns. I couldn't breathe.
This book is great on so many levels that I don't know where to start. First of all, the writing is amazing. Swanson surely knows how to do characterisation, build a perfect plot, keep you on the edge until the last moment.
Second, I think he's a very confident, daring writer as he chose to let us know who actually the criminal is and turned this into a mind blowi
Ova - Excuse My Reading
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing

OMG! This is by far the BEST book by Swanson. It's so, so good.

Take this useful advice:
Don't read the blurb. Don't read anything about this book.

Just dive in

If this was made into a movie (Please, God, let this happen) It's going to be like Hitchcock meets with Christopher Nolan. It's amazing. Swanson did something in this book that he hasn't done in other books and I LOVED IT. I think he's my favourite thriller writer, like, EVER.
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I didn't plan to read this book entirely today, but after one chapter, I was enthralled and I had no choice but to finish it!

A super fast read and excellent mystery that I recommend to all thriller fans. I only had a problem with the ending, so I have to give it 3.5*. I really wish the final twist would have been different.

In the end, I think it was better than The Kind Worth Killing and I can't wait to read Eight Perfect Murders!
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss, 2019-reads
What to do when you find yourself living next door to a person you believe to be a killer? When Hen and her husband meet the neighbors next door she sees incriminating evidence that ties her neighbor to a murder. A complicating factor? Hen has a history of mental instability. Will she be taken seriously? Is her neighbor a murderer or is Hen delusional? She just may have called wolf one too many times. But the case against her neighbor is compelling.

This was a page-turner that was a bit of a slow
Apr 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This one lacked the lustre of the kind worth killing.
It was slow to ramp up - probably not taking off until 120’pages in- so had me debating whether I should cast it aside.

It Had the recipe of a thriller - there was murder and mental illness, even a couple of interesting twists, but overall for me, this was just a mediocre one and just didn’t get me the highs I was expecting. It seemed a little far fetched at times and predictable at others.

It’s always risky reading a thriller and hoping it wil
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Hen, in her early 30s, was diagnosed as bipolar as a late teen, when she made accusations against another student and then attacked her. Later she becomes obsessed with the murder of a young man, Dustin, who lived down the street from her and her husband, Lloyd. Now she and her husband live in a new house, near her art studio, and Hen becomes obsessed with her next door neighbor, accusing him of murder.

After seeing a fencing trophy in the office of her next door neighbor, Matthew, Hen is sure t
Nilufer Ozmekik
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is fantastic, gripping, disturbing page-turner. I enjoyed The Kind Worth Killing which reminds me of Strangers on Train. And this book reminds me of Rear Window meets Rebecca. I think Peter Swanson uses Hitchcock’s thriller elements meticulously and creates real good psychological thrillers with mentally disturbed characters.
Of course I liked the final twists. Hen and Matthew’s weird relationship was like hunter and prey’s togetherness. Sometimes you got confused who is hunter and who is p
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lost-interested
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Play Book Tag: Before She Knew Him - 3 stars 1 9 May 04, 2021 08:14PM  
Play Book Tag: Before She Knew Him - Peter Swanson - 4.5 Stars 2 9 Apr 21, 2021 02:03PM  
[SPOILERS] Before She Knew Him - alternate ending 2 11 Mar 22, 2021 01:51PM  
Before She Knew Him discussion question 7 1 20 Nov 15, 2020 11:28AM  
Before She Knew Him discussion question 6 1 11 Nov 15, 2020 11:25AM  
Before She Knew Him discussion question 5 1 7 Nov 15, 2020 11:23AM  

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Peter Swanson is the author of six novels including The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, Her Every Fear, an NPR book of the year, and his most recent thriller, Eight Perfect Murders. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Th ...more

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“I am a happy person, always have been. But that’s just my personality, which has nothing to do with this broken brain that periodically and very convincingly tells me that I’m a worthless person who doesn’t deserve to live.” 5 likes
“They had a secret, the two of them, and there was no better way to start a friendship than with a secret.” 3 likes
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