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!