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The Good Neighbor Paperback – September 1, 2015
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“A riveting psychological thriller with twists and turns I didn't see coming. The ending will blow you away. Set aside your day. You won't be able to put The Good Neighbor down.” —Robert Dugoni, Amazon #1 and New York Times bestselling author of My Sister's Grave
"In The Good Neighbor A. J. Banner plays on many of our greatest fears—that the person we've placed our greatest trust in isn't who we think they are. A fast-paced psychological thriller with a fantastic twist at the end. Not to be missed." —Catherine McKenzie, bestselling author of Hidden and Smoke
"I loved it! Gripped from start to finish." —Sophie Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Monogram Murders
About the Author
A. J. Banner illuminates the darkest corners of the human heart with her stories of suspense. Born in India and raised in Canada and California, she earned degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. She lives with her husband on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.
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Dazed and stricken with grief, she and Johnny begin to rebuild their shattered lives. As she picks up the pieces of her broken home, Sarah discovers a shocking secret that forces her to doubt everything she thought was true—about her neighbors, her friends, and even her marriage. With each stunning revelation, Sarah must ask herself, Can we ever really know the ones we love?
My Thoughts: From the first moments of sheer terror in the prologue to the slowly unfolding secrets and tragedies of the following pages, The Good Neighbor captured me. The setting in Shadow Cove was the perfect place to start a home and family, and the neighborhood with seemingly friendly people made it just the kind of place Sarah and her husband Johnny had been seeking.
But Sarah, a writer of children’s books, starts to feel a niggling doubt almost immediately. It starts with the next door neighbors, Chad and Monique. Monique’s seductive ways hint at more beneath the surface when she whispers to the men in the room.
Several strange phone calls suggest a stalker, but Sarah also fears that her husband has been unfaithful to her.
Why does the realtor, Eris Coghlan, come across as a little bit too accommodating? What about the flirtatious way that Theresa Minkowski, another neighbor, seems to behave around Johnny? Is Sarah just insecure, or is there more going on?
I was surprised, but not totally stunned when events unfolded as they did, and I had little trouble figuring things out. On the last page, however, another whopper was unleashed, reminding us that secrets just keep coming once the genie is released from the bottle. 4 stars.
- Flaccid, lifeless prose.
- Crammed to bursting with tedious, frivolous detail about the narrator's tedious, frivolous suburban life.
- Protagonist can hear everything said by someone atop a cliff, over a raging thunderstorm, as she is drowning in a violent river. (No spoilers here; that's in the prologue.)
- Clumsy, inept foreshadowing that destroys any chance for drama. They say when your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Well, this book’s foreshadowing is what happens when the author has nothing but a big, heavy hammer: "This isn’t over yet. I feel something worse coming on. Only this time it’s not going to be a tree or a fire. It’s going to be less obvious, something insidious."
- Contrived, wooden dialog. See above.
- A double homicide is investigated by a fire marshal. Don't most towns have some kind of department that specializes in police work? What's it called, again? Someone should tell the author.
- Every female character is shallow, beautiful, hyper-sexualized, and a threat to the narrator’s marriage. The narrator rarely visualizes another woman without specifying which sexy outfit she pictures her in. If written by a man, one would wonder if the author had ever met an actual woman, or just researched them by watching General Hospital.
- “I grabbed a brick from the Kimballs’ side garden, and dropped it in my sweatshirt pocket as I climbed.” One wonders if the author has ever met an actual brick, or just assumed they are made portable for the suburban woman on the go.
- The fire marshal (rather hilariously) spoils the ending to Backdraft. Does that mean spoilers are acceptable here? Because I identified her perpetrator in chapter 6.
I don't like to be so negative, but this book is so over-praised that it seems necessary to give warning. It's possible that a passable writer lives somewhere inside the author, because occasionally a decent bit of phrasing gets through the filter, but this book isn't her voice.
Most recent customer reviews
The Good Neighbor
By : A.J. Banner
I Absolutely LOVED this book.A must read!Read more