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The Neighbor (Detective D. D. Warren) Hardcover – June 16, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 556 customer reviews

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Book Description
From a master of suspense comes a chilling new novel that explores the dangers lurking closer than you think. Because even in the perfect family, you never know what is going on behind closed doors...

This is what happened...

It was a case guaranteed to spark a media feeding frenzy--a young mother, blond and pretty, disappears without a trace from her South Boston home, leaving behind her four-year-old daughter as the only witness and her handsome, secretive husband as the prime suspect.

In the last six hours...

But from the moment Detective Sergeant D. D. Warren arrives at the Joneses’ snug little bungalow, she senses something off about the picture of wholesome normality the couple worked so hard to create. On the surface, Jason and Sandra Jones are like any other hardworking young couple raising a four-year-old child. But it is just under the surface that things grew murky.

Of the world as I knew it...

With the clock ticking on the life of a missing woman and the media firestorm building, Jason Jones seems more intent on destroying evidence and isolating his daughter than on searching for his “beloved” wife. Is the perfect husband trying to hide his guilt--or just trying to hide? And will the only witness to the crime be the killer’s next victim?

Amazon Exclusive: Lisa Gardner on the Making of The Neighbor

A dozen suspense novels later, it still amazes me how little control I have over the writing process. I’m a plotter. That means each time I start a novel, I feel compelled to map out the road ahead. I’m going to write a very scary book where lots of people die, and this is how I’m gonna do it. Sounds good. And yet, each and every time, by page five or so, that plan is blown out of the water. The plot veers off in a different direction. A character throws me for a loop. I don’t know. You go to write a book and apparently, things happen.

My latest release, The Neighbor is no exception. I started the book with a simple premise: I wanted a love interest for one of my favorite characters, hard-nosed Boston detective, D.D. Warren. How much fun would it be, I wondered, if D.D. fell for a guy suspected of murdering his own wife? Better yet, I’ll make the guy a father of a four-year-old girl, because surely workaholic Sergeant Warren deserves a sexy, dark-haired man who also knows how to fashion pigtails and make Mickey Mouse pancakes. Perfect!

Of course, I wanted a twisted storyline with lots of shocking turns. Not a problem. Most of my novels have been inspired by true crimes, and let’s face it, there are no shortages of husbands currently resolving their marital woes by killing off their wives. Research cases were numerous and easy to find. If I now sleep with one eye open, well that’s what happens when you spend six months immersed in the study of spousal homicide.

Next, I needed some other suspects to stir the pot. What about a registered sex offender living on the same block as the missing woman? And what if the missing woman happens to also be a beautiful blonde schoolteacher, perhaps a natural favorite with her male students? See, now we’re having some fun. Add half a dozen deep dark secrets and we’re off to the races.

This also led to more interesting research. I thought I knew what I needed to know about sex offenders. As wife and mother, I’ve been very comfortable with the notion of shooting first and questioning later. I’ve also had zero respect for female schoolteachers who engage in sexual relations with their students. A sex offender is a sex offender, even the ones who are pretty and female. Then again, sometimes during the research phase, I learn things that totally change the course of the novel.

I started The Neighbor with a plan, and quickly ended up with a puzzle. At a certain point, I was writing the book simply so I could find out what was going to happen next. Did Jason Jones actually kill his wife? What was he doing on the computer night after night? And what about poor four-year old Ree, the last known person to have seen her mother alive?

I thought D.D. Warren needed to a love interest. But maybe, what she really needs is to save a scared little girl, caught in the middle of a deadly game.

It’s possible there’s a bit more to the story than I’ve mentioned so far. Some other key characters that appear along the way, some rather unexpected developments. Because when you go to write a book, apparently, things happen. --Lisa Gardner

(Photo © John Earle)

From Publishers Weekly

In bestseller Gardner's gripping 11th thriller, Sgt. Det. D.D. Warren, last seen in 2007's Hide, looks into the curious disappearance of Sandra Jones, a sixth-grade social studies teacher, from her South Boston home: Sandra's keys and purse were on the kitchen counter, nothing was disturbed, and her four-year-old daughter, Ree, to whom she was devoted, was asleep upstairs. The missing woman's reporter husband, Jason, becomes an immediate suspect because he refuses to answer questions and appears to have destroyed evidence. As a media frenzy envelopes the case, Warren's investigation reveals the couple's life as anything but perfect or normal. Full of inventive twists, this highly entertaining novel delivers a shocking solution as well as a perfectly realized sense of justice. Fans will appreciate the deft way Gardner weaves in a key character from 2008's Say Goodbye. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Series: Detective D. D. Warren
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1st edition (June 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553807234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553807233
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (556 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Lisa Gardner concocts a flaming stew of suspects and hot button issues in this latest novel. A gorgeous young teacher vanishes in the middle of the night. Her husband is a reporter. He comes home late to find his wife gone and his 4-year-old daughter alone in their highly fortified house in South Boston. All the doors are still locked.

The cops assume that the husband did it. Perhaps he killed his wife and threw her into the ocean? But there are so many other potential culprits; "the neighbor" of the title is a convicted sex offender. The missing woman's father is a possible abuser, too. Then there's the police forensics guy who has a crush on her. His computer geek nephew also had a crush on teacher. And so on...Whodunnit?

Gardner pulls out one surprise after another with twists all along the way. Meanwhile we get flashbacks of the missing woman's thoughts. Her anger. Her lust. Her unsatisfied desires. The female cop on the case is another gorgeous, horny specimen. Then there's the husband, a total hunk. And the forensics guy, a David Caruso lookalike. Gardner's romance roots are showing through...

The steamy stew spills into the internet where more secrets lurk. The computer geek is a 13-year-old genius and as one might expect he's way ahead of the adults. Surprise ending. No spoilers here.
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Format: Hardcover
4 1/2 Stars.

Sandra Jones, a high school teacher, puts her daughter, Ree, to bed before going to bed herself. Then she hears a sound coming from the stairs...When her husband, Jason, comes home from his night shift job at the newspaper, Sandra has vanished.

Sgt. Detective D. D. Warren, last seen in Gardner's 2007 novel, "Hide" knows that the spouse is always the prime suspect when the other spouse goes missing or is killed. Now, when she attempts to interview Jason, he is uncooperative, almost nonchalant.

Who is the guilty person who did whatever was done to Sandra?
Is it the husband? Is it the neighbor, Aidan Brewster, whose room overlooks the Jones' bedroom and is a registered sex offender? Could it be Ethan Hastings, a 13 year old high school student who has a crush on Sandra? Or, could it be a late comer in the story, Wayne Reynolds, a state police computer analyst who had met Sandra at her high shool's basketball game and has been meeting her for a weekly school game thereafter?

The story continues with Sandra's father, Judge Maxwell Black, entering the scene and demanding he be given visitation privileges to his granddaughter. Sandra had no relationship with her father and had accused him of mistreatment.

The reader is able to know the various characters'houghts and it is difficult to see who might be the guilty character.

It is obvious that the author enjoyed writing this book and her sense of having fun with the plot comes through. "The Neighbor" is a well written, fast moving story that would have made Alfred Hitchcock proud.
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Format: Hardcover
In Lisa Gardner's "The Neighbor," Jason Jones and his twenty-three year old wife, Sandra, appear to be a normal American couple. He works nights as reporter for a Boston newspaper and she is a conscientious middle school social studies teacher. They dote on their adorable and precocious four-year old, Clarissa, whom they call Ree. However, nothing in a Lisa Gardner novel is ever straightforward. When Jason and Sandra married, he was thirty and she was eighteen. Neither one revealed to the other certain horrific secrets that they preferred to keep buried. As Sandra says, "It seems we go longer in silence all the time." Her husband has a tendency to be morose, since "he believed at all times that the worst could happen."

The trouble begins when Jason comes home from work early one morning and finds his wife missing with Ree asleep in her bedroom. Jason knows that Sandra would never willingly depart without Ree. Did someone abduct Sandra or did she leave of her own accord? Working on the case is thirty-eight year old Sergeant D. D. Warren, a "dedicated [homicide] investigator and hard-core workaholic." With no useful conclusive physical evidence, there is not much that D. D. and her colleagues can do. However, they are looking both at Jason and his neighbor, Aidan Brewster, a convicted sex offender. Since Jason is egregiously uncooperative when the police question him, the cops soon suspect that he knows more about his wife's disappearance than he is willing to admit. Brewster is a pathetic loner who works in a garage, goes home, eats dinner, and watches television. He is required to report to his probation officer regularly. "The shrinks have a term for it: pretend normal," he says wryly.
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Format: Hardcover
When I began reading 'The Neighbor', I was totally transfixed. I couldn't put down this book! I have never read anything by Lisa Gardner before, but could definitely understand the fuss!

Unlike the other 2-star reviewer, I was not able to easily identify the plot line, which helped me stay engaged. But, towards the end, as the finale is starting to unfold, I felt cheated by the book.

The ending completely chickens out, complete with a bizarre series of events that I imagine are trying to amp up the tension, but rather, detracted from the genius of the story thus far.

I really wanted to love this book. Really I did. But, as an avid suspense reader, I also want to feel fulfilled by the ending. Here, as I said before, I felt that she chickened out & I was completely letdown.
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