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The Neighbor Hardcover – 15 May 2018
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- Publisher : KENSINGTON (15 May 2018)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1496716205
- ISBN-13 : 978-1496716200
- Dimensions : 16 x 2.79 x 23.62 cm
- Customer Reviews:
I couldn't turn away!"
--Lisa Jackson, # 1 New York Times bestselling author
"A taut, twisty psychological thriller. Totally riveting."
--James Hayman, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Bridge
"With its not-so-reliable narrators, brilliant writing and unexpected plot twists, Joseph Souza's The Neighbor might remind you of Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, but this deliciously sinister thriller is a total original. You'll get hooked early on to this addictive page-turner and find yourself reading The Neighbor with the doors double locked and the shades drawn."
--Kevin O'Brien, New York Times bestselling author "With pitch-perfect characters, Joseph Souza peels back the good manners, the good educations, and the good work ethics of suburbia in twisted, fascinating revelations of the darkness that dwells within each of us that, untended, will seethe until it explodes. Unforgettable."
--Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassins "A gloriously creepy setting--ghost town suburbia--where seemingly respectable neighbors hide dirty secrets. You're never quite sure who to believe in this dark, twisted tale."
--Michelle Frances, author of the international bestseller, The Girlfriend "His unreliable narrators weave such a dark, disturbing tale. As the tension builds, twist after twist makes this impossible to put down."
--Debbie Howells, author of Her Sister's Lie
"Each secret seems to lead to another." --The New York Post Featured in "Required Reading" roundup Sunday April 29, 2018 "The plot is very winding and intriguing, and you will most assuredly hope you never have neighbors like these. Almost every chapter lurches you forward in a twisting sometimes downright scary story." --The Bangor Daily News
"A subtle powder keg packed into the pages of a domestic thriller." --Bookreporter "Souza brings us a modern-day novel of psychological suspense that will hook readers in from the start. Souza's stellar storytelling and authentically drawn characters come alive on the page and make for a riveting read. Leah is a compelling, complex character with her shrewdness, inquisitiveness, and slight neurosis. Souza expertly blends her strengths and faults together in a seamless way that makes her a rich, interesting character whom readers will be drawn to. A twisted, chilling ending is the icing on the cake for this thriller that will have readers turning pages until the very end." --RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
From the Publisher
Find Your Way Home by Joseph Souza
Home is where it all starts for us. From the moment we come into this world, we’re thrust into a situation not of our own choosing. It’s the place where people feel sheltered from the harsh realities of life. But home is also a place of tension and struggle. It’s where relationships prosper or die in close proximity, and where conflict is consciously avoided or met head on. Those beautiful homes you see are uniquely designed to keep secrets hidden, and to present the illusion of a loving, caring family. Sure, there’s much happiness to be found at home. But there’s also dysfunction, abuse, infidelity and addiction.
This is why I wrote The Neighbor. If many crimes are borne from the heart, then the home is where criminal behavior is initially formed. Suburban sprawl and the expansion of the middle class have given rise to isolation and despair. McMansion-like developments facilitate even more privacy, allowing families to effectively hide their secrets from the community at large. Moral ambiguity obfuscates the choices family members must make.
Have you ever wondered what’s going on inside your neighbor’s home? Or on occasion heard strange sounds emanating from behind their walls? Seen odd people coming and going? Maybe an unfamiliar man or woman sneaking inside when a spouse is at work? Observed the neighbors’ kids partying by the pool when their parents are away? We’re only human; we can’t help but be curious about the lives of the people around us.
Leah and Clay Daniels, the main characters in THE NEIGHBOR, are curious as well. Maybe even more so than the average neighbors. As parents of two children, they are experiencing the same pressures facing most families. Like all marriages, the Daniels relationship is fraught with pitfalls and temptations. Their American Dream is the dream shared by most families. It’s so close at hand, and yet at the same time just out of reach. And although dreams differ from family to family, the essence of this dream involves owning a nice home, security, and a caring network of family, friends and neighbors. But when the dream begins to disintegrate, it can often start to look like a nightmare.
Of all the jobs I’ve held, being a social worker has allowed me a window into the heart of domestic darkness. I’ve seen the worst that humanity has to offer and witnessed the evil that some families try desperately to hide. The pain is real and it cycles through generations. The problems that arise from such dysfunction ripples out like waves until it negatively affects society at large.
I’ve been married over twenty years. Kids, dogs, the nice house in the suburbs. I grew up near Boston in a loud, chaotic household of six boys. There was the authoritarian father and Irish Catholic mother who made us go to Mass each Sunday. And repenting for our sins, behind closed doors, was an important part of the Catholic ritual. For this reason, family life has always intrigued me, which is why I was drawn to authors such as Cheever, Updike and John Irving.
As a boy, I loved crime novels and mysteries, and grew up reading The Hardy Boys and The Three Investigators. Like Nancy Drew, all of these sleuths were clean cut kids solving crimes in the heart of an ever growing suburbia. Then, like most mature readers, I transitioned to reading mysteries and crime novels.
As a writer, I sought to combine my literary interests, drawing upon the insights and observations that I’ve experienced in life.
My career has followed a trajectory that’s led me to writing about familial strife. These psychological thrillers examine the household dynamic in microscopic detail and highlight their struggles in the modern age. In this genre, however, the dynamic is made even more combustible by the introduction of a crime. It’s why I so love writing and reading these types of books; because most families can relate to domestic conflict. It’s a struggle all of us have at one time experienced.
Then add in the pressures facing people today: social media, video games, increased mental illness, violent movies, high expectations, school shootings, economic hardships, drugs and alcohol. It’s no wonder so many families today are under siege. Unfortunately, law enforcement and the social welfare system can barely keep pace with the growing demand for services, and thus families in need of help are often left to their own devices.
It’s given authors like me plenty of fodder for our novels.
The job of a successful writer is to raise profound questions about society while at the same time entertain. To this degree, the family structure provides the foundation to being a good citizen. Every single one of us has been shaped and formed by the people that raised us. Domestic intrigue started in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, progressed to Cain murdering his brother Abel, and has continued to interest readers to this day.
Hopefully, when you find your way home, you’ll be embraced by those who nurtured and loved you. It will be a comforting place where your heart resides. But for a few unfortunate souls, home life will always be fraught with peril. If only such crimes could exist in the pages of fiction, the world would be a better place. In the meantime, I’ll still be here on the home front, typing away.
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Top review from Australia
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‘I need to find something more meaningful in my life besides being a wife and mother.’
So Leah starts watching Russell and Clarissa. She both envies and admires their home and their university careers. But watching quickly turns to obsession, with Leah sneaking into their home. In the meantime, a local college girl has gone missing…
The first part of the story unfolds over two weeks in October, with the final part unfolding over ten days the following August. Both Clay and Leah are the story’s unreliable narrators: both have secrets, each seems able to justify quite outrageous self-centred behaviour.
‘Every story has another side.’
There is more than one mystery in this novel, more than one truth to be uncovered. And, as I discovered, more than one twist in the tale.
But the truth is that while I enjoyed some aspects of this story, the characters were so shallow, so self-absorbed that I really didn’t much care what happened to them. I felt sorry for the children and the dog, but the adults were either deluded or manipulative (and sometimes both). As the story progresses, more questions emerge, but some of the twists (no spoilers here) had me rolling my eyes in disbelief. I couldn’t stop reading because I had to know how it would end. And the ending? Hmm. I think I’d have enjoyed the novel more if I’d liked one of the main characters better, had more interest in why some of the characters acted the way they did, or found some of the actions more believable.
Note: My thanks to Joseph Souza, NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.
Top reviews from other countries
Just published, The Neighbor, takes place in Dearborn, Maine and asks: how well do you know your neighbors? How well do they know you, and how well do you know your spouse? If you are like the two narrators in this fast-moving psychological suspense thriller, the answer is probably not as well as you think.
Souza never lets up the pressure leaving you, really forcing you to turn page after page wondering what happens next? What perverse secrets will be revealed? It's a dark and winding road filled with characters who all have a box full of secrets and lies they are keeping to themselves.
The dual narrators are husband and wife Clay and Leah Daniels, recent transplants to Maine from Seattle. Their neighbors are Clarissa and Russell Gaines, a black couple. Clay has kick-started his dream job of opening up a craft beer brewery. Leah, a stay at home Mom, is hoping for a friendly neighborhood with friends for both of their two kids and herself. Neighbors Clarissa and Russell Gaines have careers at the local university. They are also not very neighborly. Leah finds herself left alone in a deserted, still undeveloped neighborhood. Lonely, Leah starts doing things that good neighbors don't do. Clay does things a good husband shouldn't do. In the process, secrets best left hidden for all begin to unravel.
Reading The Neighbor is a like riding a twisty out of control roller coaster that you will not want to get off as you watch everyone's lives crumble and their dark and haunted pasts all come colliding together.