Monday, October 27, 2014

The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood

I was really looking forward to reading this book the moment I first heard about it, so when I had a few hours of down time, I eagerly dug in. I really did like it a lot and I think it functions great as a thriller, but I would like to forewarn that the jacket copy gives away way too much. It sets up an event that doesn't happen until midway through the book, and this can have the very unfortunate side effect of making the book feel like it's dragging because you are waiting for something specific to happen. Couple that with the prologue and it was too much.

I still liked the book a lot, though. It's about a woman on the run from her past life who ends up renting a room that hasn't even been fully moved out of yet. The cash rent system works for her, though. But, everyone in the house has a secret, and the meeting of so many different kinds of people leads to some unusual events. Meanwhile, none of them are aware that a killer also lurks among them.

As I was reading this book, it reminded me that while we often think of horror books during the fall and Halloween season, a really really effective tool in any horror story can be oppressive heat. The Killer Next Door uses it magnificently. It is just SO HOT. This in and of itself is of course horrifying...who likes the heat? But also is great impetus for things to happen, people open their doors, air things out, and if they don't it raises suspicions. Rear Window, or The Ruins would be other good examples of heat in horror stories, imo.

There's also some...well dramatic irony? The reader knows some of what is causing problems for the residents, but they don't. It's very disgusting, and knowing this--while they are dealing with it and trying to figure it out, was also effective in creating tension and suspense.

And the book makes two shoutouts to The Walking Dead so kudos for that!

Liked it a lot! Think serial killer novel, but not typical and you have this book, I think!

I received a copy from the publisher.

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