The Neighbor

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The Neighbor

Sandra Jones is a young, 23 years old, mother, wife and middle school teacher. She’s been married to Jason for almost 5 years. She had their daughter, Ree, about 2 months after getting married. To save on babysitting and to raise Ree themselves, Jason works nights while Sandra is working days. 
Jason works as a reporter for a Boston paper. He loves Ree and would do anything to keep her safe and happy. He’s not real affectionate towards Sandra but he really cares about her. He wants her to be happy.
On the surface, they appear to be a typical young family but when Sandra disappears and investigators look beneath the surface all kinds of this don’t add up. There’s way too much money in the bank. Jason isn’t pushing the cops to find his wife. Could he have done something to Sandra? Or could it be the registered sex offender that lives a few houses away? Or is it someone else? The last person to see her was 4 year old Ree and she’s not exactly sure what she saw.
I have one word for this book, intense. The drama keeps you on a tight line with sudden turns, drops and changes. Just when you think you might have a handle on a character, the plot subtly changes and you’re no longer sure. Each page seems to show a little more into the mystery of what happened to Sandra and why but never enough to give away what happened.
The characters are excellent. There are no one dimensional characters. Each has a place and a life. Each is explored and exposed layer by layer as the book continues until you almost know them. Explanations are given for behaviors and then challenged by other characters making their behaviors seem normal, at least for that character.
Real life crime is reflected and the repercussions of that crime exposed. When someone disappears, it’s important to find them within the first 24 hours or so. Later, and usually it’s a body that is found. The cops know this and are pushing to find Sandra. Sex offenders are explained that not all are the same. You may have an adult repeat offender or you may have an older teen that happens to have an underage girlfriend. Both are treated the same. Child pornography is twisted throughout the plot and while law enforcement goes after the perpetrator, what happens to the victim?
I don’t usually like crime mysteries but I couldn’t put this book down. I had to find out what happened to Sandra. I had to find out what Jason was hiding. As more twists were added, I became more glued to this book. The ending, well, it wasn’t what I was expecting but it was a fantastic ending. 
If you’re wanting a terrific crime mystery with twists turns and a reflection of today’s society, this is it! If I didn’t know it was fiction, I would swear it was true. It’s that well done.
Re-Issued Review : Original on 2009-07-21 : Book Now Available as a Mass Market for $7.99

Book Blurb for The Neighbor

From a master of suspense comes a chilling new novel that explores the dangers lurking closer than you think. Because even in the perfect family, you never know what is going on behind closed doors….

This is what happened…

It was a case guaranteed to spark a media feeding frenzy—a young mother, blond and pretty, disappears without a trace from her South Boston home, leaving behind her four-year-old daughter as the only witness and her handsome, secretive husband as the prime suspect.

In the last six hours…

But from the moment Detective Sergeant D. D. Warren arrives at the Joneses’ snug little bungalow, she senses something off about the picture of wholesome normality the couple worked so hard to create. On the surface, Jason and Sandra Jones are like any other hardworking young couple raising a four-year-old child. But it is just under the surface that things grew murky.

Of the world as I knew it….

With the clock ticking on the life of a missing woman and the media firestorm building, Jason Jones seems more intent on destroying evidence and isolating his daughter than on searching for his “beloved” wife. Is the perfect husband trying to hide his guilt—or just trying to hide? And will the only witness to the crime be the killer’s next victim?

Night Owl Reviews Jun, 2010 5.00