Her Every Fear (Peter Swanson)


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. 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 accidentally learns that Corbin is not where he says he is. Could Corbin be a killer? What about Alan? Kate finds herself drawn to this appealing man who seems so sincere, yet she isn’t sure. Jet-lagged 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?

The Kind Worth Killing is still one of those books I keep recommending to almost everyone. It was twisty and lots of fun, and it also had a great ending… And yes, it was also a rarity: a book where I didn’t like anyone yet I loved everything that was going on. Needless to say, I was quite excited to read Peter Swanson’s new novel: Her Every Fear.

I saw others reviews that stated that this was a very different book, that it didn’t have anything in common with The Kind Worth Killing. I disagree. I though the Hitchcock/Highsmith vibe was more present than ever, and the whole Strangers on a train homage was still a big part of the story. I haven’t found other authors that feature this kind of “Hitchcock suspense” and that’s why I love Peter Swanson so much. His books are unique.

One thing I loved and didn’t particularly think I would, at first, was the structure. It was a bit chaotic (if you’ve read it, you know that’s true); but I think it worked pretty well in the end. Third person narrative, loooong chapters, multiple points of view. But keep in mind that it doesn’t actually follow a pattern and the timeline is also kind of weird. Because the story takes place in the present, but we discover important information from the characters’ past without “going back in time” as you normally would in this kind of books. So no “Now” and “Then” and no first person’s POV.

The characters were a bit more likable this time, although the story was so engrossing that it didn’t really matter. We have poor and lonely Kate, creepy-but-kinda-sweet neighbor Alan and the famous cousin, Corbin. I don’t know why, but I was also reminded of Hitchcock’s film: Shadow Of A Doubt and “uncle Charlie”. The writing was flawless and I found myself completely captivated by the story and its fascinating characters. It was never boring and the tension was present throughout.

You should know that there are no big twists, as you find out who killed Audrey Marshall at approximately 50%. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed reading about the twisted past story and how it all started. I had my suspicions about a certain character and I was right, but I still think this was a smart and stylish noir novel. My only complaint is that when you reach about 75%, there aren’t many surprises left and the plot can become a bit too predictable. Although I might have loved TKWK more, this one was equally engaging.

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Edelweiss, William Morrow, 2017

32 thoughts on “Her Every Fear (Peter Swanson)

  1. fictionbookdude says:

    Great review Annie! I am looking forward to reading it now and hopefully I’ll get to it soon. I’m interested to see if I’ll predict things like you did. I LOVE Hitchcock and noir! I agree that Swanson is amazing and an awesome author!


  2. Donna says:

    You had me with that first paragraph!! 😀 I haven’t read either this one or The Kind Worth Killing, I feel so behind on all the books, haha! I’m really curious about the confusing structure that you mentioned and the fact it actually worked with this story! Great review!!


  3. Jo says:

    I keep hearing lots of good things about Peter Swanson, although I’ve not actually read any myself yet! I do have The Kind Worth Killing though, which I’m really looking forward to 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Inge | The Belgian Reviewer says:

    It sounds unique all right.. I don’t know how I’d feel when everything is kind of said and done at 50-75%.. but if you tell me it really is that good even when you know all of it and there are no surprised left, I believe you.. Great review!


  5. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    Another fabulous review! I love your approach with breaking down titles. I think that sometimes those books that feel “messy” or chaotic as you mentioned in the beginning due to narration can often be the most rewarding when it all begins to fall together so well 🙂


  6. amandalynn9204 says:

    Great review! I’m glad that you liked this book, I’ve had my eye on it for a while but I’ve never read anything from Peter Swanson but I’m still interested in Her Every Fear! It sounds good :).


  7. LairOfBooks says:

    Great review Annie! my curiosity has just spiked especially since it’s not told in the Before & Now format. I’ve heard great things of Peter Swanson but haven’t read any of his books. I actually have TKWK on my TBR but got my hands on a copy of this one by pure chance lol 🙂


  8. Diana says:

    I have never heard about the other book although I have been seeing this one around. It does sound interesting and I think that I would still get surprised by it because I never seem to make accurate prediction like you do lol. Anyway, I will look out for this one. Great review!


  9. Grab the Lapels says:

    I love all the Hitchcock and Highsmith stories you mention here! The only concern I have is that the main character appears to lack credibility because she has mental health issues. I don’t appreciate that stereotype being pushed in fiction. In fact, I was really happy when I read The Woman in Cabin Ten and found that Lo, the main character, pushed back against anyone who suggested her depression made her uncredible.


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