What is this about?: A serial killer is stalking The Avenue, and the cops have no suspects. Into this environment comes the Lockwood family, eager for a new start because of family issues and with the intention of flipping the house. But … there’s always a but…
What else is this about?: Murder really. And how well do you really know your neighbours?
The gripping crime thriller of the year with a twist you’ll never see coming . . .
FOR SALE: A lovely family home with good-sized garden and treehouse occupying a plot close to woodland. Perfect for kids, fitness enthusiasts, dog walkers . . .
And, it seems, the perfect hunting ground for a serial killer.
On a hot July day, Garrick and Olivia Lockwood and their two children move into 25 The Avenue looking for a fresh start. They arrive in the midst of a media frenzy: they’d heard about the local murders in the press, but Garrick was certain the killer would be caught and it would all be over in no time. Besides, they’d got the house at a steal and he was convinced he could flip it for a fortune.
The neighbours seemed to be the very picture of community spirit. But everyone has secrets, and the residents in The Avenue are no exception.
After six months on the case with no real leads, the most recent murder has turned DC Wildeve Stanton’s life upside down, and now she has her own motive for hunting down the killer – quickly.
The Neighbour reads like a horror movie. I don’t even know how else to describe it.
The Lockwoods move into The Avenue, eager for a new start. Or rather Garrick is, while his wife, Olivia is concerned with other things and his kids are concerned about fitting in. Soon enough, we learn just why they’re willing decided to move into an area where a serial killer is roaming, and weirdly enough, it does make sense.
However, the whole street, their neighbours are as much characters in this book, with neighbours getting their own short and sharp chapters that left me feeling like there was a whole heap unsaid about each of them.
Cummins creates a sense of menace about the neighbours that left me eating up the words, but do you know the urgency of someone running through the woods in a horror movie and you know there’s something coming for them, and then instead, that something steps in front of them and leaves you shocked? That’s kind of how this book made me feel.
The Lockwoods are our POV into this street and we learn through the Lockwood kids and their experiences in the neighbourhood. Olivia is trying to focus on their future and not on the affair that almost ruined her marriage. Aster is making friends with the wrong crowd, and Evan finds a tape that has something on him that terrifies him.
While this is happening in The Avenue, DC Wildeve Stanton is investigating the murders. And now, she’s investigating her husband’s murder as well, as he’s the most recent victim of the killer. Her grief and her determination spur her to find the killer, even when her superiors are dismissing her because of her loss.
When Olivia goes missing, the different parts of this narrative come together to an ending that left me going: Wait what??!
The beauty of Cummins’ writing is that she manages to increase the tension steadily until the ending, and just when you think everything is said and done, it’s the quiet nature of her last twist that will be the one that sticks with you.