Author Peter Swanson’s damaged protagonist winds up in a whodunit

With comparisons to everyone from Gillian Flynn to Alfred Hitchcock, Massachusetts-based author Peter Swanson has already earned Indie Next and a Library Reads Pick for January with his new psychological thriller, Her Every Fear. The book follows Swanson’s 2015 breakout thriller, The Kind Worth Killing, and is once again set in Boston — “a terrific city for a thriller,” according to the author — and is an homage to classic suspense films the author loves.

Our protagonist, Kate Priddy, trades apartments with a cousin she doesn’t know. The six-month swap lands Kate in a posh apartment located in Boston’s Beacon Hill, where she’s hoping for a new beginning and help to ease a traumatizing past with an ex-boyfriend that’s resulted in acute anxiety and agoraphobia. Sounds like a plan until she moves in and discovers that a female neighbor has been murdered.

Kate is drawn into the investigation. Could it be her cousin? All the men in the victim’s life? And that fabulous apartment has become more of a threat in her mind than a great escape from all her (building) paranoia.

“I think the first idea is about the terror of occupying an unsafe space,” says Swanson in press materials. “It’s essentially the basis for all gothic stories. Do I trust the house I live in? Do I trust the inhabitants of that house? And what if it’s all just me? What if it’s all in my head?”

There’s another thriller on the horizon for Swanson — a standalone mystery.

“It’s about a college graduate who goes to live with his stepmother after his father commits suicide,” he says. “Sort of a gothic thriller with the gender roles reversed.”

Celeste Williams

Her Every Fear

By Peter Swanson

William Morrow, $26.99

Audio: Blackstone Audiobooks, $39.99; narrated by actress Eva Kaminsky.