Monday, January 9, 2017

Review: Her Every Fear

Summary: The author of the wildly popular The Kind Worth Killing returns with an electrifying and downright Hitchcockian psychological thriller—as tantalizing as the cinema classics Rear Window and Wait Until Dark—involving a young woman caught in a vise of voyeurism, betrayal, manipulation, and murder. The danger isn’t all in your head . . .

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.

Told from multiple points of view, Her Every Fear is a scintillating, edgy novel rich with Peter Swanson’s chilling insight into the darkest corners of the human psyche and virtuosic skill for plotting that has propelled him to the highest ranks of suspense, in the tradition of such greats as Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, Patricia Highsmith, and James M. Cain. -- William Morrow

Almost two years ago, I read and enjoyed THE KIND WORTH KILLING (my review) by Peter Swanson so much that I immediately got my hands on a copy of his first novel THE GIRL WITH A CLOCK FOR A HEART. I loved Mr. Swanson's writing and creative storytelling, and I promised myself that I'd read every book he writes.

Fast forward to September of last year when I attended SIBA. I was absolutely thrilled to learn that Mr. Swanson was going to be a speaker at the Harper Collins breakfast! Of course, I had to be there! He discussed the inspiration behind his latest novel HER EVERY FEAR and gave us a few teasers about the plot. I couldn't wait to read it.

I am happy to say that I wasn't disappointed with HER EVERY FEAR. I don't have to tell you that sometimes that happens after enjoying an author's first couple of books. HER EVERY FEAR tells the story of Kate, a young woman from London, who does an apartment swap with Corbin, her cousin in Boston whom she's never met. Kate, who isn't exactly the most stable individual because of a past trauma involving an ex, is looking for a fresh start and a break from her current life. Little does she know that her arrival in Boston coincides with the discovery of a woman's dead body in the apartment next door to her.

Kate is naturally distraught, especially given her past; and she begins to wonder if her cousin could be involved in the woman's murder. Her questions take on a new urgency after she meets Alan, a fellow neighbor who admits to watching the woman's apartment from his apartment across the courtyard. He tells Kate that he saw Corbin in the woman's apartment and embracing her; however, Corbin denies any relationship. Kate also meets another mysterious man who claims he was a longtime friend of the murdered woman, and his behavior also causes Kate to doubt Corbin's story.

Kate isn't sure what to believe or whom to trust... including herself. Because of her past, she tends to think that disaster is around every corner; however, this time Kate has a reason to fear for her life as she tries to find the truth about the woman's murder.

I really enjoyed HER EVERY FEAR. The book was suspenseful and the characters were interesting, and I appreciated the author's homage to the movie Rear Window. I found the book to be extremely well written, and the pacing was excellent. It was a very quick read for me because I was "forced" to keep turning the pages.

HER EVERY FEAR was told through the eyes of multiple characters including Kate, Corbin, and even the killer. I thought Mr. Swanson did a good job in bringing each character's voice to life, and I found his portrayal of the killer's thoughts to be pretty darn scary. I have to admit that I had my doubts about whether I would appreciate this novel when I realized that Kate might or might not have been the most reliable of narrators (I hate feeling manipulated with the storytelling technique!); however, that wasn't an issue for me in this story. I especially liked that the author "explained" away some of my doubts about Kate's sanity by the end of the novel.

It wasn't exactly a whodunnit for the entire novel, but I admit I was kept guessing for the first half. Once it became evident what was going on, I felt as if the author did a great job of providing the clues as well as the background of the characters. I will say that the story did seem a little farfetched at times (or at least I hope farfetched), but I was more than willing to embrace the craziness and twisted nature of these characters.

Overall, I definitely recommend HER EVERY FEAR to fans of psychological suspense novels. The book has some creepy characters and an intriguing storyline, and it will keep you guessing about whom you can trust.

Thanks to the publisher and Goldberg McDuffie Communications for providing review copies of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


Kay said...

I loved A KIND WORTH KILLING so much and was quite nervous about this one. Would it hold up? I was pleased, though I do still think AKWK is my favorite. You can definitely see the Hitchcock influence. Wonder what he could do with THE BIRDS? LOL

bermudaonion said...

Count me in as one who loved A Kind Worth Killing. I'm so glad to see this is good and can't wait to read it!

techeditor said...

I had a very differ4ent reaction to Swanson. I read THE GIRL WITH A CLOCK FOR A HEART and disliked it so much, I've never wanted to read another of his books.

THE GIRL WITH A CLOCK FOR A HEART does have several mysteries, which are engaging, but it is not, as Dennis Lehane claims, a "thrill ride" or "sexy." Instead, it is irritating throughout. There are problems.THE GIRL WITH A CLOCK FOR A HEART takes too long to get interesting. George, who is in his 30s now, is just as stupid as he was when he was 18 (as the reader sees in the flashbacks). The story just stops at the end. It makes the reader think she got a defective copy that is missing the last few pages.

So I won't be reading this or any other of Swanson's books.

Carol said...

I didn't love love The Girl with a Clock for a Heart, but this new one sounds really good, so I might have to give him another shot.