Book Club

Before She Knew Him – Peter Swanson

So, I won’t lie – I had figured the twist out on this book fairly early on. However, there were enough characters in this book and the plot line was still delivered well, so it did not stop me from wanting to finish it.

This psychological thriller features an artist Henrietta (“Hen”), her husband Lloyd, their neighbors Mira and Matthew, and Matthew’s brother Richard. Hen and Lloyd had moved into a new neighborhood in the suburbs and quickly took to their next door neighbors,Mira and Matthew, after begrudgingly attending the neighborhood picnic. The fact that the four of them were the only adults on the block without children gave them a common bond off the bat. However from the first dinner date Hen began to unravel who Matthew might be and what he may have done in his past. 

Having suffered at the hands of his verbally and physically abusive father, he now has a hate for all men, especially those that cheat or harm women. Matthew has become some sort of vigilante. But he takes things a bit too far. Helping someone and saving someone from a “bad man” is one thing. But what he does is something altogether different.

Matthew has a brother, Richard, that he has lost contact with over the years. Richard doesn’t come around very often, usually only when Mira is away on business. Now Richard is much more like their father. Very aggressive and chauvinistic towards women, however as faras Matthew is aware he has never acted on any of his thoughts and feelings. That is until Matthew’s friendly coworker comes up missing.

All along, Hen feels she has it all figured out. Even though she had some mental issues in her college years, this is different. She can’t be making it all up, right? Initially she faces off against Matthew with the police, but eventually they begin a sort of extremely odd friendship. Something he has done in the past with several women in his life, many of whom have lost a spouse or boyfriend shortly after the friendship with Matthew began.

Is Lloyd in danger? Has he done anything to be deemed a bad man by Matthew? How will this tale end? Will you figure it out as quickly as I did? Will the truth come out? Has Matthew committed all these criminal acts? Has Richard? Or is Hen losing it again? Will anyone trust her before it is too late? Enjoy!

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