Title: The Good Neighbor
Author: A.J. Banner
Published: September 2015 by Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Mystery Thriller
How I got the book: I bought it
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?
I’ve been getting into deeper mysteries and getting into thrillers and suspenseful novels lately. This book was bought on a whim when I went to a newly opened bookstore and saw it sitting on the shelf.
Sarah and Johnny are living a good life. They’re fairly close to their neighbors and close to each other, yet they don’t seem to know absolutely everything about each other or their friends. While Johnny is away for business, a fire breaks out at their next door neighbor’s house in the middle of the night. Sarah dives in to save their four-year-old daughter, but the parents don’t make it.
The fire spreads, burning Sarah’s house down. From there, she and Johnny have to rebuild a new life from scratch, discovering secrets about each other and their neighbors along the way.
The plot was well crafted and while it had the typical “wife suspects the husband” cliche, there were plenty of twists and turns along the way. I didn’t know who the culprit was until it was revealed at the very end. It was only then that all the pieces fell into place and I realized that I could have figured it out myself. It was definitely an interesting take on such mysteries.
Each and every character had a purpose. There were minor characters, but even they were there for a reason. I’ve read books where minor characters are there as filler because there, in fact, other people in the world.
I enjoyed all the characters, especially the protagonists. I haven’t said that about a book in a long time. Normally I would find Sarah annoying with her “investigating,” but it was so well written and crafted that I had to agree with her and I found her relatable.
This book was easy to read. The chapters were short, some being only about two or three pages long. It made it for a fast read, but the writing itself made it a fast read anyway because it was just so good.
The scenes and chapters flowed nicely right into the other. It was easy to follow along and other than the obvious, “who dunnit?” question, I didn’t feel stuck or confused at all as I read.
My only complaint was that the ending was a bit abrupt. A chapter ended at the climax and at the beginning of the next chapter it was the aftermath. However, there was no indication of how much time had passed since the incident.
Overall, this was a great read. It was quick, suspenseful, and well written. The characters were likeable and I really cared about everyone. If you love mysteries and thrillers, this is definitely a book to pick up. I’ll be reading more from A.J. Banner now as well.
The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner gets…
5 out of 5 stars
“Ironically, her eyes seemed more hidden now behind mascara than they had behind her glasses.” –A.J. Banner, The Good Neighbor
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