Title: HER EVERY FEAR
Author: Peter Swanson
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Thriller | Suspense
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.
WHAT I THOUGHT
Sometimes the kindest thing you can say about a book is, don’t buy it!
HER EVERY FEAR is one of the most poorly plotted, over contrived books I have read in a long while. Never mind the rehashing of the story from each character’s POV just made for one long, tortuous, muddled mess. It was repetitious and unnecessary, especially as it made the pacing drag. It’s as if you are reading the same chapter over and over, and over again; tedious.
There is also no sense of threat or heightened tension and—given the subject matter a series of ‘brutal murders’—where it should have oozed fear from every pore, instead lacked any art and subtlety. This goes for the lacklustre characters who all came across sounding bland, if not, benign and passive.
Kate is supposed to be riddled with anxiety, but we never really get a sense of this because we’re just told it, rather than ‘shown’ it. Kate really is a missed opportunity. While Corbin Dell, the cousin, and one of the two killers, is equally unsympathetic and comes across as clichéd.
Then there is the just plain creepy peeping-tom neighbour, Alan. Here’s a man who has everything. A fabulous apartment and a rich, beautiful girlfriend and, what does he decide to do? Peer through the curtains at his neighbour across the way, ergo, loosing said girlfriend in the process. And why do we need to know he’s Jewish and has a big nose? It has absolutely NOTHING to do with anything.
Meanwhile, the sociopath, Henry Woods, who ‘corrupts’ Corbin, is likewise a poorly drawn cliché. So much so, you can almost see him twirling his non-existent moustache as he plots his revenge because Corbin no longer wants to ‘play-out’ with him. I mean, really?
In the end, what is supposed to be a taught psychological thriller, instead reads like a very mundane who-did-it. With paper-thin characters spouting unbelievable eye-rolling dialogue.
All around, very sloppy writing.