Jul 10

The Neighbor

Posted by Soliloquy in Books on CD

From a master of suspense comes a chilling new novel that explores the dangers lurking closer than you think. Because even in the perfect family, you never know what is going on behind closed doors….

This is what happened…

It was a case guaranteed to spark a media feeding frenzy—a young mother, blond and pretty, disappears without a trace from her South Boston home, leaving behind her four-year-old daughter as the only witness and her handsom… More >>

The Neighbor

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5 Responses

  • Lisa Gardner concocts a flaming stew of suspects and hot button issues in this latest novel. A gorgeous young teacher vanishes in the middle of the night. Her husband is a reporter. He comes home late to find his wife gone and his 4-year-old daughter alone in their highly fortified house in South Boston. All the doors are still locked.

    The cops assume that the husband did it. Perhaps he killed his wife and threw her into the ocean? But there are so many other potential culprits; “the neighbor” of the title is a convicted sex offender. The missing woman’s father is a possible abuser, too. Then there’s the police forensics guy who has a crush on her. His computer geek nephew also had a crush on teacher. And so on…Whodunnit?

    Gardner pulls out one surprise after another with twists all along the way. Meanwhile we get flashbacks of the missing woman’s thoughts. Her anger. Her lust. Her unsatisfied desires. The female cop on the case is another gorgeous, horny specimen. Then there’s the husband, a total hunk. And the forensics guy, a David Caruso lookalike. Gardner’s romance roots are showing through…

    The steamy stew spills into the internet where more secrets lurk. The computer geek is a 13-year-old genius and as one might expect he’s way ahead of the adults. Surprise ending. No spoilers here.

  • 4 1/2 Stars.

    Sandra Jones, a high school teacher, puts her daughter, Ree, to bed before going to bed herself. Then she hears a sound coming from the stairs…When her husband, Jason, comes home from his night shift job at the newspaper, Sandra has vanished.

    Sgt. Detective D. D. Warren, last seen in Gardner’s 2007 novel, “Hide” knows that the spouse is always the prime suspect when the other spouse goes missing or is killed. Now, when she attempts to interview Jason, he is uncooperative, almost nonchalant.

    Who is the guilty person who did whatever was done to Sandra?

    Is it the husband? Is it the neighbor, Aidan Brewster, whose room overlooks the Jones’ bedroom and is a registered sex offender? Could it be Ethan Hastings, a 13 year old high school student who has a crush on Sandra? Or, could it be a late comer in the story, Wayne Reynolds, a state police computer analyst who had met Sandra at her high shool’s basketball game and has been meeting her for a weekly school game thereafter?

    The story continues with Sandra’s father, Judge Maxwell Black, entering the scene and demanding he be given visitation privileges to his granddaughter. Sandra had no relationship with her father and had accused him of mistreatment.

    The reader is able to know the various characters’houghts and it is difficult to see who might be the guilty character.

    It is obvious that the author enjoyed writing this book and her sense of having fun with the plot comes through. “The Neighbor” is a well written, fast moving story that would have made Alfred Hitchcock proud.

  • In Lisa Gardner’s “The Neighbor,” Jason Jones and his twenty-three year old wife, Sandra, appear to be a normal American couple. He works nights as reporter for a Boston newspaper and she is a conscientious middle school social studies teacher. They dote on their adorable and precocious four-year old, Clarissa, whom they call Ree. However, nothing in a Lisa Gardner novel is ever straightforward. When Jason and Sandra married, he was thirty and she was eighteen. Neither one revealed to the other certain horrific secrets that they preferred to keep buried. As Sandra says, “It seems we go longer in silence all the time.” Her husband has a tendency to be morose, since “he believed at all times that the worst could happen.”

    The trouble begins when Jason comes home from work early one morning and finds his wife missing with Ree asleep in her bedroom. Jason knows that Sandra would never willingly depart without Ree. Did someone abduct Sandra or did she leave of her own accord? Working on the case is thirty-eight year old Sergeant D. D. Warren, a “dedicated [homicide] investigator and hard-core workaholic.” With no useful conclusive physical evidence, there is not much that D. D. and her colleagues can do. However, they are looking both at Jason and his neighbor, Aidan Brewster, a convicted sex offender. Since Jason is egregiously uncooperative when the police question him, the cops soon suspect that he knows more about his wife’s disappearance than he is willing to admit. Brewster is a pathetic loner who works in a garage, goes home, eats dinner, and watches television. He is required to report to his probation officer regularly. “The shrinks have a term for it: pretend normal,” he says wryly. Since he had met Sandra briefly, it is not inconceivable that Aidan took an interest in this pretty young blonde.

    Gardner teases us with subtle hints, but only slowly reveals the big picture. We wonder why Jason is so silent and testy when he is questioned by the cops. Yet, even the most jaded individual must acknowledge that Jason appears to be a phenomenal father who knows exactly how to handle Ree’s moods. He does everything in his power to make his little girl feel special and loved. The scenes between Jason and Ree are tender and poignant. Questions that are raised but not immediately answered are: Why does Jason spend hours huddled over his computer? Where does Sandra go when she occasionally “takes a break” from her family? Why does this couple avoid discussing their childhood experiences with one another? As we get to know each character through affecting first-person accounts and flashbacks that alternate with third person narrative, we begin to sense that separating fact from fiction will prove to be extremely difficult. Gardner builds up suspense brilliantly and wraps up her story with a series of genuine surprises and a final clever twist.

    “The Neighbor” is an edge-of-your seat thriller in which Gardner explores the ways in which computers can be used for good or evil, how horrific childhood traumas can scar a victim for life, and the need that every man and woman has to love and be loved in return. She also touches on the media frenzy that inevitably follows when an attractive wife and mother vanishes without a trace. The dialogue is sharp and laced with mordant humor. This is not your typical escapist beach read. There is a great deal of profanity and some disturbing references to unsavory subjects. “The Neighbor” is a gripping and intense police procedural, a moving portrait of a troubled family, and a complex murder mystery. Few readers will be able to put this book aside until they learn exactly what Jason and Sandra are hiding and why.

  • When I began reading ‘The Neighbor’, I was totally transfixed. I couldn’t put down this book! I have never read anything by Lisa Gardner before, but could definitely understand the fuss!

    Unlike the other 2-star reviewer, I was not able to easily identify the plot line, which helped me stay engaged. But, towards the end, as the finale is starting to unfold, I felt cheated by the book.

    The ending completely chickens out, complete with a bizarre series of events that I imagine are trying to amp up the tension, but rather, detracted from the genius of the story thus far.

    I really wanted to love this book. Really I did. But, as an avid suspense reader, I also want to feel fulfilled by the ending. Here, as I said before, I felt that she chickened out & I was completely letdown.

  • What a great addition to my Lisa Gardner Library. The Neighbor has several “suspects” and a “victim” who is a mystery herself. I started reading this morning..can’t put it down..the pizza hut guy should be here with dinner anytime…I just had to finish it instead of fixing dinner. That happens when you are reading a great book! Enjoy!

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