From a phenomenal new voice in suspense fiction comes a book that will forever change the way you look at the people closest to you… Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about–quaint streets, lush forests, good neighbors. That’s what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. But all too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. And one October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah’s happiness. Dazed and stricken with grief, she and Johnny begin to rebuild their shattered lives. As she picks up the pieces of her broken home, Sarah discovers a shocking secret that forces her to doubt everything she thought was true–about her neighbors, her friends, and even her marriage. With each stunning revelation, Sarah must ask herself, Can we ever really know the ones we love?
Today’s review is about another book from the BookSparks’ Fall Reading Challenge I joined this year. Since I was able to skip the “freshman” year (last year’s challenge) and jumped into the “sophomore” year for this year’s challenge, I’m now on the BookSparks “class” called Bad Behavioral Studies in the Suspense Department (which I know you figured out means this book). Let me first say this – I generally steer clear of the “suspense” books. When I was younger, I loved a good suspense book but later in life, I tend to not choose this genre of writing. This book refreshed my feelings on this type of story though since I really enjoyed the book.
The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner was mysterious but not ridiculous and was very believable to me. The story is told from the point of view of the main character, Sarah Phoenix and I honestly couldn’t put the book down. I was waiting for a meeting yesterday and started reading, and could barely wait to be finished so I could pick the book back up. Today I was kind of tired and was thinking about taking an afternoon nap (yes, a Saturday nap!), but chose to stay up and finish reading the book.
I’m not going to do a spoiler review, so I’m not going to give away much of the story except to tell you that you are not going to know “who done it” until the author, A.J. Banner decides you are going to know.
I will tell you that the story begins when readers are introduced to Sarah Phoenix and her husband, Johnny McDonald. Sarah is an author of “Miracle Mouse” childrens’ books and Johnny is a popular dermatologist in the town. As each layer of the story is revealed, it makes readers see the tangled webs that can be woven by people when they think no one is watching.
While living in her beautiful little “perfect” neighborhood of houses on Sitka Lane, Sarah wakes in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke. Her neighbor’s house next door is in flames. Sarah is knocked unconscious after saving the neighbor’s four-year old daughter, Mia, and later learns that sparks flew to her house which resulted in her house being destroyed as well. Sarah and her husband Johnny temporarily move to a cottage owned by a realtor, Eris.
As Sarah heals and digs into the fire investigation she begins to find that some things don’t quite add up, and the more she digs, the more questions arise that have her questioning the very core existence of her marriage as well as how well she knows her neighbors and their secrets. Sarah begins to doubt what she believes and this results in her trust slowly dissolving. As she begins to distrust the things she thought she knew, everything begins to spiral out of control until the truth comes to light. People are not who Sarah thinks they are, or have been, or will be and she realizes that on the surface, things seem much different than they really are. In the end, my guess was wrong, and I was caught completely off guard by the revealing of the guilty party.
If you want a suspense story that keeps you guessing until the end, this is a great book to read. I picked up the book and read it cover to cover in just a couple of hours, so its perfect to read whenever you have an afternoon to kill. I would recommend this book as an easy, fast read with an unexpected ending. Note, though, if you are looking for some deep riveting plot with complex characters, this isn’t the book for you.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the publishers and BookSparks in exchange for this post, which is my honest review and unbiased opinion.