My rating: 5 of 5 stars
At the heart of The Neighbor lies a question: How well can you know the person to whom you’re married? We all harbor secrets, but some are deadlier than others. School teacher Sandra Jones, journalist Jason Jones, and their four year old daughter are living a “normal” life in South Boston. She works days, and he nights, and one of those nights, Jason comes home after midnight to discover that his little girl is sleeping but his wife’s not there. After waiting several hours in hopes that Sandy will return, he phones the police. Sergeant D. D. Warren arrives on the scene, which contains precious little evidence, but as she examines the home, she discovers that everything is too “just right”. Surprisingly, Jason remains calm and strikingly detached, and she propels his name to the top of her list of persons of interest list.
As the story unfolds, the reader learns, bit by bit, about Sandra’s secrets and those of her handsome husband. Their house is a virtual fortress, with heavy duty security features. The narrative switches among detective, husband, and wife, who present their perspectives while releasing nuggets of information, tiny clues that don’t coalesce until the last quarter of the novel. Just when you think you know what’s going on, something else pops up to disarrange your carefully constructed theory.
The Neighbor is no run-of-the mill crime story. Author Gardner is at the top of her game. All of the principle characters are hiding important truths, and the denouement is less than cut and dried. All along the way, such topical issues as child abuse, pedophilia, sexual exploitation, and internet crimes rear their ugly heads. The D.D. Warren knows, even after the case is closed, that something’s not quite “right”, but she can’t pin down whatever that thing might be.
A highly recommended page turner.