EXCERPT: ‘Come and have a seat. I hope you don’t mind me saying but you’re looking a bit pale.’
‘That’s OK.’ She held up a hand. ‘I’ve disturbed your evening enough.’ Her gaze went to the lit kitchen beyond.
‘It’s no problem. Just me here.’ He’d read her mind.
‘You live here alone?’
‘Put it this way, you’re not disturbing a romantic dinner.’
That wasn’t an answer. Leah heard a small internal alarm bell. Her car was down the road and she hadn’t told Elliot in her message that she was inside a stranger’s house on Plough Lane.
‘Come and sit down while I call the AA.’
Despite feeling light-headed, Leah nodded but didn’t move.
He obviously sensed her unease. ‘Does my cooking smell that bad?’
Leah was about to smile but at that moment a dog came down the stairs. It was a white and brown basset hound and its ears flapped about its head as it descended awkwardly.
‘He doesn’t bite either.’
The animal slid down the last few green stairs on its stomach and made a beeline for Leah.
She bent to pet the dog. ‘What’s his name?’
‘Her. It’s Sheila.’
She tried to pat its head while it snuffled at her jeans. ‘Hi, Sheila.’ Leah held out her hand so Sheila could sniff it, but the dog ignored her. She stood up but felt giddy and staggered back.
‘Whoa.’ Tate caught her firmly by the arm.
He had a very tight grip but as soon as she’d regained her balance, he released her.
‘Sorry.’ He pulled both his arms in as if he shouldn’t have touched her.
‘That’s OK. I think I do need to sit down though, if you wouldn’t mind.’
‘Just in here.’ He immediately turned and led her towards the doorway of the kitchen.
Leah followed and found herself in a very impressive and modern space. More dark slate walls were broken up by bright white splash tiles behind the huge sink and cooking range. In the middle was a long breakfast bar and several stools. A half-eaten meal lay on it with a full bowl-glass of red wine beside it.
Leah’s scalp prickled cold. ‘I’m sorry. I’ve interrupted your dinner.’ Her mouth felt dry.
‘Not at all.’ He pulled out a stool. ‘Sit yourself down.’
But Leah stumbled, fell and blacked out before she reached it.
ABOUT ‘THE GOOD NEIGHBOUR’: He isn’t who you think he is…
When Leah Talbot hits a deer on a deserted road near her village she spots a light on in a nearby house and approaches, hoping that someone is home.
Charming, handsome, Martin Tate answers the door to the bedraggled and traumatised Leah, inviting her in. Though she’s not there for long, Leah feels an indescribable pull to the man who has helped in her hour of need.
But when she returns the next morning to say thank you, it isn’t Martin who answers the door this time. It’s the police.
There’s been a brutal murder and the sole female resident is dead.
There’s no sign of Martin…
Until he comes looking for Leah.
MY THOUGHTS: This was a fast-paced, fun read and I am glad I gave this author a second chance after really not liking the only other book I have read by him, While You Slept.
There were not so many characters as to be confusing, and they were each quite distinct from the others. The plot is one I have not come across before, and it is very clever and well thought out.
I became quite involved with the characters, mentally screaming at Leah at times because she made some really dumb decisions. But then, had I been in her place, I may well have made those same decisions, although I would like to think that I wouldn’t.
Yes, this was crazy, and in places improbable, but it was also enjoyable. I think that had it gone on any longer it would have been too over the top, but the author wisely knew when to call time.
Narrator Rose Robinson was excellent and used exactly the right tones and inflections in her voice to suit the circumstances. I would listen to more books narrated by her.
And I will definitely be looking for more to read from Mr Parker.
#TheGoodNeighbour #NetGalley #rjparkerauthor #harpercollinsuk
#contemporaryfiction #crime #domesticdrama #psychologicalthriller
THE AUTHOR: R J Parker’s creative career began as a TV script writer, script editor and producer. It was this background that fed into a series of cinematic, high-concept thrillers that grabs the reader from the very first page and doesn’t release them until the last. R J Parker now lives in Salisbury.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins UK Audio for providing an audio ARC of The Good Neighbour by R.J. Parker for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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