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Named by Harper’s Bazaar as a book that could be the next Gone Girl.
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?
29 Comments Comment
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864 of 943 people found the following review helpful.
I got fooled.
By Tom Turnip
I truly don't understand the hype for this book. Here are a few of its many sins:
- Flaccid, lifeless prose.
- Crammed to bursting with tedious, frivolous detail about the narrator's tedious, frivolous suburban life.
- Protagonist can hear everything said by someone atop a cliff, over a raging thunderstorm, as she is drowning in a violent river. (No spoilers here; that's in the prologue.)
- Clumsy, inept foreshadowing that destroys any chance for drama. They say when your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Well, this book’s foreshadowing is what happens when the author has nothing but a big, heavy hammer: "This isn’t over yet. I feel something worse coming on. Only this time it’s not going to be a tree or a fire. It’s going to be less obvious, something insidious."
- Contrived, wooden dialog. See above.
- A double homicide is investigated by a fire marshal. Don't most towns have some kind of department that specializes in police work? What's it called, again? Someone should tell the author.
- Every female character is shallow, beautiful, hyper-sexualized, and a threat to the narrator’s marriage. The narrator rarely visualizes another woman without specifying which sexy outfit she pictures her in. If written by a man, one would wonder if the author had ever met an actual woman, or just researched them by watching General Hospital.
- “I grabbed a brick from the Kimballs’ side garden, and dropped it in my sweatshirt pocket as I climbed.” One wonders if the author has ever met an actual brick, or just assumed they are made portable for the suburban woman on the go.
- The fire marshal (rather hilariously) spoils the ending to Backdraft. Does that mean spoilers are acceptable here? Because I identified her perpetrator in chapter 6.
I don't like to be so negative, but this book is so over-praised that it seems necessary to give warning. It's possible that a passable writer lives somewhere inside the author, because occasionally a decent bit of phrasing gets through the filter, but this book isn't her voice.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful.
Reads like fan fiction
By Lynn M
I truly hate to diss on any author's hard work, but this book read like fan fiction. The story was contrived, and although billed as a thriller, it was too formulaic to "thrill". The main character was too whiny and over eager to see her husband as capable of infidelity. I was hoping he'd leave her just to keep her quiet! The characters were superficial, and unfortunately the dialogue read like something a first year creative writing student would write. I raced through it (skimming most of it to avoid the superfluous story lines interwoven throughout) to see if my guess was right. It was. It was very obvious, and not a surprise. I wish the author the best, but I would not recommend this book.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful.
A Little Lacking in Characterization
By Eve ill
As a few others mentioned, character development could have been a bit better, especially regarding the antagonist. The implicit characterization of the "bad guy" did little to make me feel upset, shocked or betrayed at why they did what they did. I wish there'd been more of a bond between Sarah and the antagonist, as this would have made for a more jarring and emotional betrayal.
The plot is not unlike a Lifetime movie plot, which could be a good or bad thing depending on preference. If you're into those sorts of flicks, then you'll likely enjoy The Good Neighbor.
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