She travels to another country – only to have
“Her every fear” realized…
A house swap. Kate Priddy swaps flats with a second cousin she has never actually met, Corbin Dell. He will live in her home, a smallish flat in Belsize Park, London and she will reside in his opulent apartment in Beacon Hill, Boston.
Kate is a very anxious person who is prey to panic attacks. She cannot fully believe that she has ventured to the other side of the Atlantic on this adventure. She takes anti-anxiety pills since being immobilized by fear and grief after a traumatic event in her past.
Her first day in Boston she meets an intriguing neighbor who lives across the courtyard. Alan Cherney is easy to talk to – exuding a sense that she feels she has known him a long time. Also, she finds him attractive in a quirky way.
Shockingly, a woman has been found murdered in an apartment next to hers. She finds a key in Corbin’s apartment with the dead woman’s initials on the key tag. Inexplicably, she crosses the crime scene tape and actually enters the apartment! Is this far-fetched? Just because it is something I would never entertain the thought of doing, does that make Kate’s actions unbelievable? Why would someone who is anxious in the first place, embark on an action that is sure to be adrenalin inducing? You be the judge.
When she is in the murdered woman’s apartment, she realizes that Alan Cherney is looking back at her. His apartment is directly across the courtyard from Audrey’s. Can he see her? or is the lighting precluding him from seeing anyone?
Kate is (privately) an accomplished portrait artist. She sketches the faces she encounters in her day-to-day life. Since arriving in Boston, she has drawn some astutely accurate charcoal portraits of the people she has met. Naturally she finds it extremely unsettling to find that her sketches are not as she remembers them. Have them been subtly changed? The eyes don’t seem quite right…
The reader is told that Alan has been looking at Audrey Marshall for many months. His excellent view of her apartment from his, has led to his being a voyeur in her life. Now… she has been murdered.
The police question Kate. Due to the fact that she has never even met either her distant cousin Corbin, or the murder victim, Audrey, she cannot imagine that she can be helpful to their inquiries.
The reader becomes acquainted with Alan Cheney. Turns out he has a history of voyeurism. That being said, I liked him and found him to be a sympathetic character. (Maybe because he would look at the title of the book Audrey was reading and read the same book along with her… LOL)
Next, the reader gets to know Corbin. We see what he is thinking and experiencing in London. This is not his first visit there. We find out what happened the last time he was ‘across the pond’.
Some relationships are difficult to end
Corbin has a shocking history that eventually comes to light. Desperate for friendship, he befriended the wrong person… Can he change? Is it even possible? Or, will his previous actions forever color his future?
Who killed Audrey Marshall?
“Her every fear” is a great character-driven thriller with a satisfying ending. The settings were as well developed as the characters and the plot had an almost Hitchcockian feel. I would love to take a meander through the Beacon Hill apartments with the wandering cat, Sanders.
I liked this novel better than the author’s last novel, “The kind worth killing“. That is saying something, because I really enjoyed that one as well. The only flaw for me was Kate’s behavior at times – however I was willing to suspend belief and accept the author’s explanation for her actions. Highly recommended to all who love suspenseful reads centered around psychopathic killers.
I received a digital copy of this novel from HarperCollins via Edelweiss. And, from Faber and Faber via NetGalley. Yes, I requested it from both locations trying to ‘hedge my bets’ so I wouldn’t miss out. My request was granted by both places. (sheepish grin) Last August I read and reviewed another novel by this author, “The kind worth killing“. I really enjoyed it so didn’t want to miss this one!
Peter Swanson is the author of three novels: The Girl With a Clock For a Heart, an LA Times Book Award finalist; The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger; and his most recent, Her Every Fear. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian, The Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine.
A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, he lives in Massachusetts with his wife and cat.