EXCERPT: ….no one noticed a small girl – the youngest of the group – back away from the puppet theatre with its dead crow’s head and limp feathers, stumbling over her best shoes, finding her way to a storeroom that should have been locked.
No one saw her scramble between the old boxes and piles of dust sheets, tears wetting her face, or stopped her squeezing through racks of fraying costumes, spiderwebs catching in her hair, until she found herself crouching behind a deep, wooden chest, curiosity driving her to open it.
No one noticed her at all.
Until the screaming began.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: For Sale: Lovely family home, ready for your updates. Friendly neighborhood setting close to park; secluded.
If not for the bodies discovered in the woods behind their new home, Garrick and Olivia Lockwood couldn’t have afforded to buy number 25 The Avenue. It’s the fresh start they and their two children badly need. Soon, these terrible crimes will be solved, they tell themselves, and once Garrick has remodeled, he’s confident they’ll sell the house for a profit.
But the darkest secrets can reside on quiet, ordinary streets like this – behind the doors of
well-kept houses and neighbors’ friendly faces. Secrets that can destroy a family, or savagely end a life, and will surface just when they’re least expected . . .
MY THOUGHTS: Creepy. Menacing. Dark and disturbing….
I took today off work in part so that I could finish this book. I think I did the same for her other novels, Rattle, and The Collector. Also creepy, menacing, dark and disturbing.
There are several different timelines in this story, giving us insight into the background of the killer, but we don’t know who s/he is. The clues to the killer’s identity are skilful but ambiguous. There are several people who fit the bill. I must have discarded three or four suspects before I selected my final one, and still I got it wrong.
I found The Family Next Door hard to settle into to begin with. The chapters are very short with many different narrators, and jumped about a bit too much for my liking. But by the time I was half way through, I had become accustomed to the writing style and I couldn’t put it down. I found myself thinking, once or twice, that Ms Cummins could give Stephen King a run for his money characterwise.
This novel was previously published under the title ‘The Neighbour’.
Some snippets I would like to share with you:
‘….our secrets are never as well hidden as we think they are. A freeze framed expression. A forgotten newspaper photograph. A bloody secret buried beneath layers and layers of paint.’
‘Smoke. Mirrors. Secrets. Lies. We believe what we want to, don’t we? Our version of the truth. But there are many layers, many truths. We sift and curate and cherry-pick the parts that best suit the face we present to the world. Nobody is a true version of themselves. Everyone pretends.’
‘…so much of the ugliness of her job was found not in city alleyways or late night street stabbings, but behind the mown lawns and washed cars and laundry on the line, the mundane and everyday. Inside lives quietly lived.’
‘Grief was a complex emotion. It was possible to laugh, to go to work, to eat, at the same time as waves crashed against you, threatening to dash you against the cliffs and overwhelm you.’
THE AUTHOR: Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course. She lives in Essex with her family.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Kensington Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Family Next Door by Fiona Cummins. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
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