The Good Neighbor
A Novel of Suspense by A. J. Banner
Review: Sarah Phoenix, a writer of children's mysteries, and her husband Johnny McDonald, a dermatologist, are happily living on a cul-de-sac in a small, friendly neighborhood called Shadow Cover. One night, while Johnny was away in Los Angeles at a conference, a fire starts in the house next door, trapping a four-year-old child and her parents. Sarah wakes to the screams, and with the help of her neighbors, manages to save the child only to see the parents perish in the flames. And as tragic as that is, embers from the fire fall upon Sarah and Johnny's house, setting it ablaze, too, in The Good Neighbor, a novel of suspense by A. J. Banner>
After the flames are extinguished, Sarah and Johnny have no place to live. A neighbor, a real estate agent, is able to secure a nearby home for rent. The investigation into the cause of the fire confirms that it was arson. Sarah wonders who could possibly have wanted to harm that couple and their young child. When the authorities allow her to go back to the ruins of her home, she discovers that some items are missing. And she finds evidence that Johnny was having an affair. While she was definitely questioning in her mind how well she knew her neighbors, now she has to wonder how well she knows her husband of three years.
There's a surprising lack of suspense in The Good Neighbor as pretty much everything of importance is right out in the open. The only complicating factor here is the vast number of characters; it's often hard to keep track of them and it's not at all clear why so many are needed to tell the story. Maybe it's to compensate for the shallow plot. Sarah herself isn't quite as well developed as a lead character should be, and at times it's hard to feel any empathy for her situation. Overall, this is a strange book, not a bad book, but one that may have readers puzzled at the end as to what it was all about.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Good Neighbor.
Acknowledgment: Lake Union Publishing provided a copy of The Good Neighbor for this review.
Review Copyright © 2015 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Good Neighbor: Washington State
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The Good Neighbor by A. J. Banner — A Novel of Suspense
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: September 2015
List Price: $14.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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