Length: 300 pages
Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book
What they say:
The perfect neighbours tell the perfect lies…
A dark and twisty psychological thriller from a rising star in the genre, perfect for fans of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR. When Helen moves into an exciting new neighbourhood, she finds herself in a web of evil with no escape.
Behind the shutters lies a devastating secret…
When Helen moves abroad with her loving husband Gary, she can’t wait to meet her fellow expat teachers from the local International School. But her new start is about to become her worst nightmare…
As soon as the charming family across the way welcome Helen into their home, she begins to suspect that all is not as it seems. Then Gary starts to behave strangely and a child goes missing, vanished without a trace.
When violence and tragedy strike, cracks appear in the community, and Helen realises her perfect neighbours are capable of almost anything…
I have to start by saying that in general this book seems to be rated quite high by readers and bloggers alike, and I seem to be in the minority in my opinions, so, as usual, if you weigh everything up in terms of reviews and your own preferences, you’ll be able to make an informed decision.
I had heard a lot about this book, and people said that it stood out from other books thrillers that were related to neighbours and neighbourhoods, and given that these are the type of books I love, I was thrilled to be approved to read.
You will note from the blurb that the lead character has moved abroad. The country in question is Germany and, as it isn’t a country I’ve ever visited I felt like the descriptions were both lacking and where present, conflicting, and so I couldn’t get a handle on the setting, either in terms of country or locality. There was talk at one stage of bomb alerts, but we weren’t told whether this was a normal occurance, and that, along with the inability to picture the setting, kind of flummoxed me (I’m quite easy to flummox, so this could just be me!) We were also dropped german words, which is fine, but not always with the translation given, so it could get confusing.Then, in terms of said locality, it was like we were shown somewhere a little run down but I got the impression it was the Stepford of the area, again, leaving me scratching my head.
My biggest issue was with the characters. I’ve no problem with unlikable characters, especially in an ‘everyone is a suspect’ book, but this book took so long to get to the actual event, and the characters were all so mean to each other, everyone looking down on everyone else, people bullying and sneering and in general being SO unlikable. I couldn’t even warm to the lead, Helen, and her husband, Gary. By the time everything kicked off, I was drained, miserably trawling through the pages, wondering if I should finish or not. It was good that I did, though, as the ending had a punch to it and made up in part for the rest of the book, with the building tension and ‘explosion’ well done, and actually the premise introduced in the final quarter of the book was very interesting, but everything, including flashbacks leading to the conclusion, was introduced too late and I’m afraid it was a bit too late.
As I said, I found parts confusing, although I can be very slow in terms of picking up on things, so all of this might just be me, people might be able to see it all better than I did, unfortunately, this just wasn’t for me.
Thanks so much to Killer reads, an imprint of Harper Fiction and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.