What the Neighbors Saw
What The Neighbors Saw is a domestic thriller about an ambitious young couple who succumb to the lure of all the glitz and glamour of living in an upscale neighborhood alongside the wealthy. When the chance to buy a broken-down Cape Cod cottage at a deal presents itself, they jump at the chance knowing it’s a fixer upper, but location is everything, right?
In their eyes, they have finally moved up to take their place among the affluent. They settle in and begin meeting their wealthy neighbors and attending block parties while also starting renovations on their bottomless money pit of a house. Funds are tight, but Sam is expected to make partner at his law firm soon, and Alexis is preparing for the new baby. Just when it seems they are finally on the right track, a murder shatters their perfect illusions. A neighbor is found dead of suspicious causes. How does that happen in the middle of suburbia paradise?
What The Neighbors Saw is a slow burn tale unfolding through dual points of view – that of Alexis and also Blair, an influential neighbor who appears to take Alexis under her wing guiding her through the long list of who’s who including who’s cheating on whom within the not nearly so perfect neighborhood. Before long, it’s clear money cannot buy happiness, and after the birth of her child, Alexis tries to conceal her growing uneasiness that’s fueled by spying on neighbors. The more she sees, the more she suspects all is not as it seems in the land of the affluent. Eventually, the long, sleepless nights with a crying newborn takes its’ toll on her sanity, and those around her begin to question the validity of her sparsely shared observations. The story that unfolds is an intriguing domestic thriller where dark secrets begin surfacing and masks slipping amid a hunt for the killer living among them.
Melissa Adelman has penned an intriguing story with detailed descriptions of life among the wealthy and/or wanna be wealthy. The first half of the book plays out in slow motion with the author paying great attention to individual family dynamics within the community as she strips away layers and draws aside the curtains to reveal some ugly truths to readers. At times, it feels as though the murder investigation is secondary with more time and attention being paid to the daily lives and happenings within the community. In doing so, the author emphasizes that wealth does not buy happiness or loyalty, changing location does not assure bliss and the grass is not always greener elsewhere. Even though some may find the slow pace frustrating early on, I think they’ll appreciate Adelman’s attention to detail in setting and characterizations as much as I did. While most characters are certainly not very likeable, they do afford readers juicy entertainment as the gossip mill runs rampant and lies and secrets pile up. With the pace increasing in the latter half of the book, questions about loyalties and betrayals arise, and I suspect many will be shocked at the big reveal and climax.
What The Neighbors Saw is a warning about the many dangers in trying to keep up with the Jones, of trying to fit in at all costs. Relationships become strained within families and friendships as people are often shocked at just how far they’re willing to go to protect the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed. Fans of domestic thrillers will enjoy this one as will fans of suspense thrillers.
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