The Neighbors by Ania Ahlborn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
More like 3.5 stars. This was a twisted page turner that kept me so riveted I read it in a day (so totally points for that). I literally had to know what was going on with Harlow & what would happen to Drew. I have mixed feelings though. While I couldn't stop reading, after it was over I felt it was a bit flat. The buildup to unmasking Harlow was my favorite part & I thought very well done & deeply disturbing. I never felt sorry for her even when the terrible things she endured earlier in her life are revealed. She was an excellent predator & manipulator & that made her fascinating to watch as the story unfolded. Red was a bit more of a mystery but his complicity was disturbing all on its own. Mickey was necessary, of course & his final part to play in the story was worthy.
Drew was, more than any other the character I'm most undecided about. I felt sorry for him but after a while I was as repulsed by him as I was Harlow. I had to keep reminding myself that given his experience with his family & mother in particular, he could be absolved of having any sort of sense. He repeatedly shrugged off his internal alarm that something was terribly amiss & was so very easily led by Harlow, that it strained believability. His cloying Mommy nurturing thing twisted with the sexual attraction couldn't be broken through until basically he's at the precipice about to be thrown off it to his death & then it dawns on him that he's maybe in over his head. He still doesn't have a clue as to how bad the situation is though & that really was something that bothered me, in the end. It finishes up tied in a nice bow with the carnage far off & echoes of "There's no place like home".
I pre-ordered this when I came upon the summary & I'm glad that I've read it. The author can tell a riveting story. I'd read her again but I wouldn't re-read this book. Great for a weekend or rainy afternoon (that's what prompted me to choose to read it).
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