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Book review: <i>The Killer Next Door</i> by Alex Marwood

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the cover of the book

In a big old house in London divided into flats, something is amiss. There's a smell, odd break ins, odd behaviour. But all of the residents are running from something, or hiding from someone. How far will they go to keep from being found?

The story

Collette is on the run from her past, but has to be close to home for the moment. Cher has to lay low to stay out of the system. Hossein has to stay out of trouble to get his visa. Gerard Bright stays shut in his room, a music teacher with no interest in the troublesome and cruel outside world. Thomas lives in the attic, wishing he had more to distract him. Vesta has lived in the basement flat since she was born, and watches over them all.

The Landlord has something over all of them.

The tenants pay cash, the Landlord gets richer. But the Landlord has his own secrets, and there's just one thing stopping him from getting richer. It's Vesta's long term tenancy in the basement flat. He has to get her out.

When a terrible accident occurs, the question becomes how far the tenants will go to evade detection from their various pursuers. But when is too much too much?

The style

Alex Marwood is back. I loved her previous novel The Wicked Girls, which was a stunning mix of psychological and empathetic writing, and The Killer Next Door follows suit. It has a classic Marwood twist at the end and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat right till the very end. The characters are engaging and sympathetic, the story is perfectly paced and is just so readable! I loved trying to work out who the killer was; all the signs were there and the suspense built brilliantly with a satisfying resolution.

The Killer Next Door is written in third person limited, each chapter focusing on one or the other of the residents of the Northbourne block and revealing a little bit more about the story. This allows the reader to get to know each character, and become more and more invested. It also allows for the slow plot reveal. The Killer Next Door is a bit lighter content-wise than The Wicked Girls, which was very exploratory and dealt with the psychological motivations of children who kill other children. The Killer Next Door is, dare I say, more playful, and less depressing.

Who is this book for?

Like crime fiction with character? Like, real, proper character? This book is for you. Take it on holiday and read it by the pool.

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Alex Marwood's The Wicked Girls is a testament to good, thoughtful writing. Read it too!

In short

Title: The Killer Next Door
Author: Alex Marwood
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0143126695
Year published:400td> 2014
Pages: 400
Genre(s): Crime fiction
Review Type: