Today I am marking off my first checkpoint category for the POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020 with:
FOR SALE: A lovely family home with good-sized garden and treehouse occupying a plot close to woodland. Quiet, leafy road, good schools, close to the sea and commutable to London. Perfect for kids, fitness enthusiasts, dog walkers . . .
And, it seems, the perfect hunting ground for a serial killer.
On a hot July day, Garrick and Olivia Lockwood and their two children move into 25 The Avenue looking for a fresh start. They arrive in the midst of a media frenzy: they’d heard about the local murders in the press, but Garrick was certain the killer would be caught and it would all be over in no time. Besides, they’d got the house at a steal and he was convinced he could flip it for a fortune.
The neighbours seemed to be the very picture of community spirit. But everyone has secrets, and the residents in The Avenue are no exception.
After six months on the case with no real leads, the most recent murder has turned DC Wildeve Stanton’s life upside down, and now she has her own motive for hunting down the killer – quickly.
The Neighbour is a thrilling standalone novel by the author of Rattle, Fiona Cummins.
Former Daily Mirror journalist and award winning author Fiona Cummins brings her readers The Neighbour, a chilling standalone thriller, following the success of her first two novels, Rattle and The Collector. The Neighbour is a dark and menacing tale, set in an ordinary suburban location, with extraordinary secrets. This novel will have you shaking in your boots, in a bid to uncover the true identity of the killer that lurks somewhere on The Avenue.
The Neighbour is suburban domestic noir, with a murderous twist. This chilling and tense tale introduces the reader to the residents of The Avenue. This seemingly perfect neighbourhood is the ideal hunting ground for a deranged serial killer. The Lockwoods are the latest residents to move into The Avenue. They consider themselves lucky to find a bargain house in this appealing locale, which is close the schools, the coast and London. However, this lucrative locale has recently been subjected to plenty of unwanted media attention. The Avenue has been linked to a series of local murders, but this doesn’t seem to worry the Lockwoods, they are just pleased to have acquired their new home at a bargain price. As the months roll on, The Avenue slowly begins to reveal its hidden secrets, striking at the heart of this picture perfect community.
I have read one of the two previous books penned by British author Fiona Cummins. I recall being quite disturbed by this tale, which was spine tingling and very creepy. Cummins draws on these chills yet again in her latest novel, which is a new standalone thriller, focussing on a deranged killer, with a preoccupation for eyes. The Neighbour is a novel that hooked me in from the first page, the prologue was incredibly chilling, but also intriguing. It set a precedent for the incoming story.
The Neighbour is a book that easily forms part of the domestic fiction and suburban noir genre, a category of books that has really surged in the popularity stakes in recent times. I enjoy these books, as they are a slight deviation from traditional thrillers and whodunit mystery novels. Cummins goes that one step further with The Neighbour, adding in a creepy serial killer element, which ramps up the chill factor.
Cummins’ approach is astute, she definitely has the upper hand over the reader, which she maintains until the very close of the novel. There are a host of suspects to select, plenty of red herrings, plot diversions and shady characters, who come with a bevy of secrets. This book leaps around a bit in terms of point of view and it includes the eerie outside narration of the murderer. The reader is kept in the dark in regards to the true identity of the killer. This is a clever narrative trick on behalf of the author, as it works to bamboozle the reader. I certainly had no clue in this department.
Cummins builds a stirring atmosphere in her third novel. There is a mix between the familiar suburban setting of The Avenue, which is contrasted to the true horror and menace that stalks the residents of this seemingly normal location. There are some squeamish moments that may raise a hair or two, it is disturbing, but you will find it hard pressed to turn your eyes away. Cummins continues to pull the wool over the eyes of her audience until the last heart beating moments. The end hits you quite hard, but it offers plenty of entertainment value.
I loved the additional touch of pictorial map outlining the location of the various houses on The Avenue, it was a thoughtful touch. I found the map helped to guide me through this knotty tale!
Take a walk to The Avenue and experience the menace that haunts this seemingly perfect suburban retreat. The Neighbour is a book that will strike a chord with thriller, crime and horror fans.
*** 3. 5 stars
The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins was published on 9th April 2019 by Pan Macmillan. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Neighbour, Fiona Cummins, visit here.
*I wish to thank Pan Macmillan for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.