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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Good Neighbor

The Good Neighbor


Publisher: Lake Union

Publication Date: 9/1/2015

Format: e-book & audio

My Rating: 5 Stars Named by Harper’s Bazaar as a book that could be the next Gone Girl. From a phenomenal new voice in suspense fiction comes a book that will forever change the way you look at the people closest to you… Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about—quaint streets, lush forests, good neighbors. That’s what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. But all too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. And one October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah’s happiness.

Dazed and stricken with grief, she and Johnny begin to rebuild their shattered lives. As she picks up the pieces of her broken home, Sarah discovers a shocking secret that forces her to doubt everything she thought was true—about her neighbors, her friends, and even her marriage. With each stunning revelation, Sarah must ask herself, Can we ever really know the ones we love?

My Review

THE GOOD NEIGHBOR is an absorbing, unsettling, and an ingenious thriller with a big twist!

How well do you know your neighbors or your husband?

A picturesque Sitka Lane, where everything was perfect until. Set in the lush Shadow Cove, Washington, we meet Dr. Johnny McDonald and wife and author Sarah Phoenix. When her hubby is away at a medical conference, she notices her next-door neighbor's Kimball's home.

Chad and Monique's home. A fire alarm. Smoke. The child's cry. The little girl, Mia, only four years old on the second floor. She must call 911. Soon the house was engulfed in flames. She must save the girl.

She tries her husband's room at the conference, and he did not answer.

Could she trust him?

Afterward, life was never the same.

With damage to their home and a tragedy of their neighbors, they move to a temporary rental cottage in the forest on Shadow Bluff Lane that Realtor Eris finds for them. In the distance, a river at the foothills of the Olympic Mountains. There is a new set of neighbors.

However, soon after they move into the cottage, Johnny is acting strange. She wonders if he is having an affair. Weird things begin occurring.

Deception. Lies. Secrets. Obsession.

However, is there something more sinister at play? What is going on?

What if your husband was not who you thought he was?

Sarah is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery and save a few lives along the way. Everything leads up to the final heart-pounding explosive twist!

Wow, the word "undercurrent" comes to mind throughout this multi-layered twisty domestic thriller.

"An underlying feeling or influence, especially one that is contrary to the prevailing atmosphere and is not expressed openly. Current of water below the surface and moving in a different direction from any surface current."

Jaw-dropping. Compelling. Nail-biting.

The suspense builds as Sarah pulls back the layers of deception.

I adore A.J.'s novel settings and her ability to draw you into the environment and character's lives. She is not afraid to keep her readers guessing until the very last page of this heart-pounding story.

One woman's desperate search for answers and those around her she cannot trust — and another woman's obsession.

For fans of Fatal Attraction, Michele Campbell's A Stranger on the Beach, Kimberly Belle's The Marriage Lie, Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train, Kaira Rouda's The Favorite Daughter, and Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies. Having the pleasure of reading the author's other books— even her latest— THE POISON GARDEN, I discovered I had not read her debut thriller, THE GOOD NEIGHBOR. I quickly purchased the e-book and the audiobook and zipped through it.

Look for my fabulous Q&A with A.J. to learn more about this multi-talented author, coming Oct 22, 2019. I highly recommend all A.J. Banner books.


About the Author

As a child, A. J. Banner loved reading everything from Nancy Drew to Tolkien to her parents’ spy novels, “borrowed” from their bookshelves and hidden beneath her pillow. She wrote her first thriller, Mystery at Crane Corner, at the age of 11. She drew her own cover art and bound the pages with staples.

Born in India and raised in North America, A. J. graduated from high school in southern California and received degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. She tried various professions after college, including a stint in law school and a memorable job at a veterinary clinic, since she loves animals, but eventually she returned to writing. Her fourth novel of psychological suspense, THE POISON GARDEN, is coming soon from Lake Union Publishing. AFTER NIGHTFALL, which Publishers Weekly calls a “gripping psychological thriller,” is now available in hardcover, paperback, audiobook and e-book formats.

THE TWILIGHT WIFE (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster) became a USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller. THE GOOD NEIGHBOR, her debut, was the #1 Kindle bestseller for 34 days, remained in the top five on the Kindle bestseller list throughout the book’s release month, and was in the top 50 in the Kindle store for 145 days in a row. THE GOOD NEIGHBOR was named by Harper’s Bazaar as a book that could be the next GONE GIRL.

A longtime fan of Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, A. J. feels at home writing stories with unexpected twists and turns. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and six rescued cats. Read More

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