Setting – South London, England
Berkley (June 11, 2019)
Hardcover: 368 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07HDR77YL
From the author of the international bestseller Our House, a new novel of twisty domestic suspense asks, “Could you hate your neighbor enough to plot to kill him?”
Lowland Way is the suburban dream. The houses are beautiful, the neighbors get along, and the kids play together on weekends.
But when Darren and Jodie move into the house on the corner, they donʼt follow the rules. They blast music at all hours, begin an unsightly renovation, and run a used-car business from their yard. It doesn’t take long for an all-out war to start brewing.
Then, early one Saturday, a horrific death shocks the street. As police search for witnesses, accusations start flying—and everyone has something to hide.
Lowland Way is a fantastic neighborhood especially if you have children. Nice homes, good schools, and friendly neighbors. The entire street is closed off on Sundays so that the kids can play in the streets like their parents did when they were youngsters. Those Sundays have brought the neighbors together to support each other.
Then the woman at the start of the street passes away. The neighbors are all hoping for a nice family or elderly couple to move in. Instead, they get Darren and Jodie. The first day Darren breaks down a wall the entire neighborhood had fought the council to keep. Then the loud music starts and the cars start to pull in taking up the limited parking on the street and fill Darren’s yard. Trash and debris from a renovation project litter the lot. The Sunday Play-Out has to be canceled when one of the children is hit by Darren moving one of his cars. The police are no help, saying it is a council issue. The homeowners tried to reason with Darren and Jodie, but all that does is make them rachet up their behavior.
Things don’t change until someone dies. The crash brought everyone out of their houses. The police finally have to do something, but it is the neighbors who are suspect. Everyone is shocked and their stories don’t add up. Could someone on Lowland Way be a killer??
The story opens just after the horrendous crash that left one person dead and one injured, then it takes us back in time eight weeks to detail what events led up to the crash told from several points of view. What we quickly learn is everything is not as idyllic as it seems, but when “THOSE PEOPLE” move in people band together. Meanwhile, whatever cracks that were already present in the resident’s lives continue to erode.
All these characters are flawed and most, not that likable, but they earned my sympathy. Here in the States, police would have stepped in to handle Darren and Jodie. Things that were sending them over the edge just wouldn’t happen here. I also felt the one idea the residents came up with near the end should have been thought of much earlier, avoiding much of the conflict, but that would have eliminated the story.
The setting was interesting to me because I remember playing outside with my friends. The same for my children. Sadly that is not the case for my grandchildren. The days of “be home when the streetlights come on” and neighbors keeping an eye on each other’s children are over. This affluent neighborhood did an excellent job of creating a child-friendly environment until THOSE PEOPLE arrived.
The drama was high but the pace was a little slow. The complexity of the story was peeled back in layers filled with tension and conflict. I did enjoy the varied points-of-view. It gave an added depth to each of the characters and exposed the interpersonal relationships for what they really were.
Even with the unlikable characters, I was drawn into this book. I wanted to know what happened next. With its well-plotted twists, the ending really took me by surprise.
In my opinion, I could see a movie made of this story or a television series like How To Get Away With Murder, so easily. The author has written a story with a dark twisted theme many people would enjoy.
Note- There is a fair amount of profanity in this book which may put off some readers.
About the Author
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”