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The Girl Next Door: A Mystery (Carter Ross Mysteries) Hardcover – March 13, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Carter Ross Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Engaging... A capable follow-up to this author's award-winning debut mystery. (The Wall Street Journal on Eyes of the Innocent)

Fast-paced, thoroughly satisfying... Carter Ross is not only a first-rate investigative reporter; he's also a first-rate comic. It's a rare mystery that provides a good laugh on almost every page. One can only hope that Brad Parks has more mysteries for Carter Ross to solve in future books. (The [Newark] Star-Ledger on Eyes of the Innocent)

Eyes of the Innocent is the complete package. With wonderful prose, witty observations, and a relentless drive, this book held me hostage until the last page. Well done, Brad Parks! (Michael Connelly on Eyes of the Innocent)

Impressive debut... Carter's fresh voice, his willingness to be entertained balanced by honest sympathy and some sharp editorializing, is the book's considerable strength. The action, including a string of bombings, is brisk; the villain's identity is elusive; and the settings (from the projects to National Drug Bureau offices) ring true. How could this be better? (Houston Chronicle on Faces of the Gone)

Brad Parks [has] delivered a first-rate crime thriller.... Faces of the Gone is gritty and hard-boiled, but with a sly sense of humor. This strong and confident debut is sure to make an appearance on many 'best of' and awards lists. Parks is a bright new talent whom readers will hopefully be able to enjoy for years to come. (Chicago Sun-Times on Faces of the Gone)

Commanding, entertaining... Parks, former reporter at the Star-Ledger in Newark, shows he's made the transition to becoming a novelist with this impressive debut. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Faces of the Gone)

About the Author

Brad Parks is the first author to win both the Shamus Award and the Nero Award for Best American Mystery for his debut novel, Faces of the Gone. A former reporter for The Washington Post and The [Newark] Star-Ledger, he lives in Virginia, and The Girl Next Door is his third novel.

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Product Details

  • Series: Carter Ross Mysteries (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (March 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031266768X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312667689
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Susan Johnson VINE VOICE on February 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The last time I had this much fun reading a book was an early Stephanie Plum.
Carter Ross, a 32 year old veteran reporter from Newark, has a great sense of humor and great looks. He decides to look into a hit and run death of a fellow "Eagle-Examiner" employee, a paper delivery person. This story leads him into the realization that it was no accident- it was murder. As he investigates, he gets arrested as a "Peeping Tomcat", runs from a bear on the urban Newark streets, has a very hot shower scene with his editor and is fired from his job.
This book was so much fun. I laughed out loud more than once. One of my favorite scenes is when his intern, Lunky, writes the story about the bear by discussing the bear in fiction citing William Faulkner and John Irving. Absolutely hysterical.
I thought this was a debut novel but discovered it was the third in the series. You don't have to read the first two to appreciate this one. I didn't and I enjoyed it. I am going to read the first two. That's how much I liked this one.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am still chuckling after reading Brad Parks' The Girl Next Door. First, I'm laughing at myself for the lukewarm and sanctimonious 3-star review I had written in my mind half-way into this Newark, New Jersey-based mystery. And second, it's just plain funny. But its sly wit is of the slow-release variety, and I was so focused on the low-octane plot mechanics that I almost missed out on a really, really good read.

Carter Ross is a 30-something news journalist who reads more like a 50+ detective as he stumbles his way onto and along the trail of the murderer of one of his newspaper's delivery people. Parks then adds a conflicted love interest (who happens to be his boss), a palatable medley of background personnel (an unlikely sidekick, illegal immigrants, a black dude, a gay guy, union reps, white-collar snots, and a few Greeks), and binds them together with literary references to Faulkner, Irving, Phillip Roth, and even Caesar.

The slow pace, lackluster developments, and Carter Ross's unrelenting ordinariness led to my initial dismay. Plus Park's wit is distressingly obvious and forced at times, as when Ross gets caught in more ways than one trying to fit his head through a pet entryway. (The reader can see this event and the who-did-it coming from atop Mount Etna.) But I kept reading because both Carter Ross and his pedantic intern Lunky began to grow on me like a harmless but excessively chatty neighbor.

The finest moments involve the main character's dubious intern Lunky, whose deep thoughts seem better suited for a think tank than a local newspaper. I started "getting" this book during the hilarious moments when Lunky reveals his first attempts at journalism and Carter is forced to forego his hands-off tutelage.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As others have said, very good style, good characters, and humor. And the bad guy was too obvious too soon. I would add that the ending of this book, like the ending of the author's first book, was weak. Both were out of left field, improbable, simplistic, and a let-down from the previous quality of the books.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm hard pressed to choose what I liked most about this book. The writing is so witty and good, it sent little waves of pleasure through me. The hapless wise-guy hero totally charmed me. So did his friends, his girlfriends, and his cat. And the oddball twists and turns of the plot appealed to my love of the absurd.

Carter Ross is an investigative reporter with the Newark Eagle Examiner. When a paper delivery person dies rather young, he sees a chance to do a heartwarming story about a humble employee. Then it starts looking like the hit-and-run that killed Nancy might be no accident.

I guessed the killer's identity pretty early on, and I bet you will too, but I suspect that's the author's intention. The real fun is watching Carter misread clues and walk into traps. He may be an ace investigative reporter, but he's an inept snoop. His one advantage is a bulldog-like determination to sniff out the truth and get the story. Well, it also helps that women find him attractive. And his black and Spanish friends are always ready to help him out.

For a clean-cut white guy in ivy league clothes, Carter is a colorful character. In fact, the novel is heavily seeded with colorful characters. And Newark, New Jersey, a foreign land to me, has a certain exoticism too.

I found this book nonstop entertaining, and I'm recommending it to all my mystery-loving friends.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Brad Parks is one of the best new mystery writers to come along in the past several years. Not only does he have talent, but he has an original voice that makes his books stand out from the pack. His first two novels were winners (both of awards and cheers from the fans) and his third is no different.

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR finds Carter Ross back on the beat, reporting on crime on the streets of Newark, New Jersey. Newark has more than enough crime to keep any dozen reporters busy, but Carter's feeling kind of bored until he comes across an obituary in his own newspaper. One of the paper's carriers was killed in a hit-and-run accident. Carter decides to write a story about her, but when he starts investigating her life, he uncovers details that he never expected to find.

Carter Ross is the best thing going in Parks's books. He's smart, funny and original. Sure he's a bit of a button-down pain in the ass at times, but you have to respect his commitment to telling the truth in his stories, regardless of the cost. THE GIRL NEXT DOOR is like the rest of Parks's work: a gritty mystery (although it's not dark), with plenty of humor and even a little sex. All in all, it adds up to a very entertaining story.

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR is highly recommended as a good read.
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