Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
In the summer I know lots of people turn to light breezy contemporary novels to fly through in the sunshine but somehow beside my love of fantasy I've been finding myself turning to thrillers when I feel the need for something a little bit different. I'd heard some good things about Peter Swanson and when I saw Her Every Fear on my local library shelves I decided I'd give it a go and see how I got on.
Now firstly it's worth mentioning that I did the unthinkable with this book and started it then put it aside to read something else but this was not because I didn't enjoy it initially instead it was driven by the fact that A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab had arrived on order for me at the library as well and I could only borrow it for 2 weeks and as it is a massive book I decided to put Her Every Fear aside to focus upon that instead. I, therefore, read about 8 chapters of this before having to take a break of around a week.
This is a thriller about 2 cousins who decide to swap houses with Kate moving to Boston into her cousin Corbin's flat and allowing him to move into her London home for 6 months. Kate has a difficult history having previously suffered with a controlling, psychopathic boyfriend and she is therefore anxious and nervous and constantly hyper-aware of danger, it is, therefore, a huge blow when she finds out that one of her new neighbours in the flat she has moved into has been found dead and even more so when she thinks that potentially her cousin could be involved.
This book seemed to receive really strong reviews and I'd heard people talk well of it. I'd heard it sold as a story of Kate watching everything that is going on and being watched herself and I expected a bit more of a stalkerish type storyline and instead, I was surprised to find very little anticipation in this book. I expected dark and twisty and yet not once did I feel any building anticipation with this book. I expected a more paranoid main character but instead she didn't seem that bad to me, all things considered, she was much more balanced and calm than I had anticipated. I thought there would be lots of investigation and focus around the mystery of the people living in the block of flats, about Kate finding out about each of them and having much more of a tangled web to unfurl.
Instead around a third of the way through this book, we veer away to her cousin Corbin's point of view and suddenly everything is made crystal clear. These, in fact, were some of my favourite chapters of the novel because, at last, there was some real darkness there. The stakes are raised and I struggled with the fact that despite the fact that you should dislike Corbin intensely I kind of felt a little bit sorry for him. However, this aside, by introducing this so early in the book it answered many of our questions. Suddenly the mystery we were following wasn't quite so mysterious anymore and it was a case of just waiting for all the obvious bits to slot into place.
This was an okay thriller but it didn't really grip me enough. I wanted something to make me keep turning the pages and instead I found myself skimming through the last few chapters just so I could get it finished because by that point all the mystery had been revealed and I hadn't built up enough emotion for the characters to really be invested in how things all turned out.
A 3 out of 5 stars, but barely.