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Monday, August 24, 2015

The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood

The Killer Next Door - hmm...what to say about this book.  Well, it was written by Alex Marwood.  It was definitely creepy and disturbing and has some awful characters.  It also had some genuinely nice characters, who looked out for others and took care of people and tried their best to do the right thing.  The problem was - what was the right thing?

I listened to The Killer Next Door as an audiobook and it worked well enough in that form.  It was narrated by Imogen Church and she did a great job with all the voices and accents.  I'll be looking for more books narrated by her.  Alex Marwood, the author, first wrote The Wicked Girls, which I read last year.  I liked that book and so decided to try this one.  I'm glad I did, but this book isn't for the faint of heart.  Not at all.

First of all, let me say that this book is set in London during a summer heatwave.  It was definitely not on my list of 'read cold books in summer'.  The heat was palpable, truly.  This is a story about a group of people who live in an old house in London that has been divided up into small apartments.  The area used to be a good one, but time has moved on and the horrible landlord has done very little to update, maintain or improve living conditions in the house.  He just shows up to collect the rent, act smarmy, and secretly check the cameras that he has hidden throughout.

The occupants include Collette, who is on the run from her old employer.  She saw something she shouldn't have.  There is Cher, a young woman, who is a runaway and who will have to do almost anything to get money.  In the attic is Thomas, a man who wants to be friends with the others - maybe.  There is an Iranian gentleman, who has run from his homeland and is seeking asylum in a country that he hopes will be better than the one he left.  There is a quiet gentleman, who plays his music loud and talks to no one.  And then there is Vesta, a retired elderly woman, who has lived in this house all of her life.  She'd like to move away to the seashore, but her rent level is controlled and this is home for her.  Besides, she likes to watch out for her neighbors.  

There is something that the neighbors don't know.  One of them is a killer - a person who is completely delusional and who has murdered over and over again.  That hot summer, an accident occurs and all the neighbors have to get to know each other better than they ever thought possible.  And the killer is looking for another victim.

I was caught up in this book fairly quickly.  It was obvious that secrets were everywhere.  All the characters had a backstory and we were clued in as the story progressed.  Let me be clear - this book has some graphic violence and some truly horrible scenes.  The killer mentioned has a particular way of dealing with the victims.  I was still interested, but will warn you that if you are listening to the story, it might be even more vivid.  I needed to know what was going to happen and that kept me going forward.  

This book was nominated for several mystery awards this year.  I think I can see why.  The story is absorbing, if pretty icky.  And will I read the next book by Alex Marwood?  Yes I will.  I give this book a 1-1/2 thumbs up - mostly for the graphic violence and description of same.  Also, I think I'll read the next book in print, just in case.  Ha!  

25 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great premise, I'll keep an eye out for it
    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

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    1. It was a page-turner, definitely.

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  2. Sounds like an intense read and I like when the setting is so strong that you can almost feel it. The characters sound really interesting and the plot sounds intriguing but I'm a little nervous about the really graphic violence. I may go the audio route with this one as well. Audio tends to work better for subjects I don't love for some reason.

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    1. It was good, but kind of icky. The killer was very creepy. The narrators were good though.

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  3. I don't think I've ever read an Alex Marwood, although he sounds like an author I would enjoy. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

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    1. Actually, Alex is a 'she'. Her previous book, Wicked Girls, was more enjoyable, to me anyway. Seems funny to say enjoyable when we're talking murder, but there you go. LOL

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  4. I really enjoyed this author's first book The Wicked Girls but I found this a little bit too icky too - and I'm not usually particularly bothered but I think it was the sheer quantity that put me off. Great review as always!

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    1. I think, maybe a little too much description for me, Cleo. For the killer's methods. Don't want to say more, but you know what I mean. ;-)

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    2. I found this one a bit too icky, as well. i abandoned it. Sometimes it is just a matter of when you read something, but it wasn't the right time for me.

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    3. Yes, I do understand that. I think just a little too much detail here.

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  5. It's funny how much worse it can be listenting to graphic stuff than reading it. I listened to a book with a child abuse strand once and it was horrible - as if the abuser was whispering in my ear. Much, much worse than reading it would have been...

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    1. Yes, I agree with that. Same with visual - actually, visual is probably worse. I really like Stieg Larsson's books and managed just fine with both reading them in print and listening to them. The movies had me cringing and I knew what was coming.

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  6. At first I was going to say this sounded like one I'd enjoy, but after reading some of these comments I think I'll pass. It sounds a bit too graphic maybe for me, presuming that's what "icky" means.

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    1. Yes, that's what I meant by 'icky'. And I'm pretty tolerant of these things. Maybe I just read too many in a row. I don't know.

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  7. Sounds like I better stay away from this one, even though it sounds intriguing. Thanks for the warning!

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    1. It might be a little grim. I've had a hard time deciding what to say about it. The story was good, but the killer's method was described way too vividly for me.

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  8. This sounds very atmospheric and intense! I think I'll go for the print version, as usual. ;-)

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  9. Sounds like this one worked for you. I laughed a little when you talked about "cold" books. If you want a cold book, read The Terror by Dan Simmons. I read that in the winter, well...my California winter and froze my tush off. It was a riveting read but every single time I picked that book up I had to bundle up!

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    1. Oh, love it! I'll check that one out. Is that the one that's set in the Arctic with shipwreck or something? I can understand feeling cold while reading it!

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  10. This one sounds quite intense, Kay. And dark. I'm reading fewer dark novels than I used to--at least in terms of grisliness. Dark in terms of subject matter, I can still take.

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    1. I think I'm heading that way, Wendy. Just a little overloaded with the grim.

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  11. Sounds much too creepy for me. I am sure he is a good writer though.

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    1. So creepy that it requires an extra 'e'. LOL

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