THE NEIGHBOR by Lisa Gardner [Review]

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If I had to describe The Neighbor in one word, that word would be tense. This psychological thriller had me anxiously holding my breath and staying up late into the night to find out what would happen next. The ripped from the headlines premise is that pretty, young schoolteacher Sandra Jones has gone missing without a trace from her Boston home. There’s no body, but there is some small evidence of a struggle, and the only potential witness is her four-year-old daughter. Of course, as we’ve seen in recent high-profile cases of missing women, the media descends upon the house and police begin investigating the husband as the prime suspect

The husband, handsome Jason Jones, is a journalist and Patrick Dempsey look-alike. Jason is detached and bordering on uncooperative, which immediately arouses suspicion in police detective D. D. Warren. She is sure that he is hiding something, but observes that he seems like a very caring and attentive father.

Attention shifts away from Jason Jones when the police learn that a convicted felon lives on the same street. The neighbor, Aidan Brewster, is a registered sex offender because when he was 19 he had a relationship with a 14 year-old girl. This offense means he gets lumped together with child molesters and other serious criminals, but he insists that he is not a monster, that he just made a bad decision as a teenager. Gardner raises some interesting questions about how society treats sex offenders, even after they’ve served their time.

The plot unfolds slowly and the reader is in the dark about what actually happened until the very end. Little by little, we learn more about the Joneses and it becomes clear that they are hiding some secrets. The tension in the story just keeps building and building until we find out what actually happened to Sandra Jones. All I’ll say about the ending is that it is satisfying, but I found some elements of it to be unrealistic. Lisa Gardner fans will appreciate the return of D. D. Warren, a brief appearance by Bobby Dodge, and might recognize a character from her novel Say Goodbye. Overall, The Neighbor is just a terrific suspense novel and is sure to keep you engaged until the end.

I actually listened to the audio book version of The Neighbor, and I think they must have maxed out their budget because it was incredibly well done. The three narrators – Emily Janice Card, Kirby Heyborne, and Kirsten Potter – delivered great performances. I was impressed by the way they brought each character to life. Look for the audio book at your local library – I can’t recommend it enough.

Buy The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner on Amazon by clicking here.

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