After immersing myself in my stash of Christmas romances it was a refreshing change to start the year with a psychological thriller. My first review of 2023 is for The Neighbour by Gemma Rogers. Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for this blog tour invite and an advanced copy so I could give my honest opinion.
Scroll down to see what I thought
Book Review: The Neighbour by Gemma Rogers
Title: The Neighbour
Author: Gemma Rogers
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Release Date: 5th January 2023
Genre: Psychological thriller
Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3DkqDIy
Love thy neighbour or fear thy neighbour?
For myself and Lauren, my 10-year-old daughter No3 Beech Close was to be our refuge after two years of hell nursing my sick mother.
In need of a fresh start and wanting to distance ourselves from the bad memories of my mother’s house we moved to Beech Close, a small cul-de-sac of six houses situated around a picture-perfect green.
It seemed perfect but I had underestimated the secrets that this tightknit community shared.
Within hours of moving in my next-door neighbour Valerie made it abundantly clear we were not welcome.
I soon discovered that Valerie hadn’t welcomed the previous occupant either and she’d since disappeared without a trace.
Had I put myself and my daughter in danger moving to Beech Close?
Which neighbours, if any could I trust?
And how far would they go to keep their secret?
With a blurb like the above, I was eager to start reading and the tension of reading a psychological thriller hit within the first few pages. When the newcomer, Shelly’s dog goes to the loo on the neighbour’s lawn, you know it isn’t going to be a happy outcome. After living in many places in my life with many neighbours, it was easily imaginable to see how it could escalate
Shelly’s longing for a nice environment for her daughter, Lauren, to grow up in after a turbulent few years was relatable and I liked them both. In a community of perfection, Shelly had a sense of normality about her and I could easily imagine being friend’s with her and chatting over a coffee, but I did find some of her reasonings and actions debatable especially when her suspicions were aroused about the previous resident of her house. It made me want to reach into the pages and shout at her, but I guess this is a positive as it meant I was invested in the story and her as a character.
This close-knit creepy road provides a significant cast of people to suspect in this thriller, as Shelly unpicks what happened beforehand and realises dangers await. The tension is set early on and I found my anxiety levels were kept high throughout, not helped by my concern over the dog. I think having two of my own who are like family means if there is a sense of danger concerning the fictional canines, the tension increases tenfold. Forget whether the residents of no 3 were going to survive the mystery surrounding the neighbourhood. I needed to know Teddy would be fine.
With unexpected twists, this was an enjoyable and refreshing read after the festive period and kept me reading into the night.
Would I recommend?
Yes, with sinister vibes from all the neighbours with hidden secrets galore to uncover this is an entertaining creepy thriller that will make you think twice about moving into your dream location.
Gemma Rogers was inspired to write gritty thrillers by a traumatic event in her own life nearly twenty years ago. Her debut novel Stalker was published in September 2019 and marked the beginning of a new writing career. Gemma lives in West Sussex with her husband and two daughters.
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