The Neighbour, Lisa Gardner

| 28 January , 2010 | Reply

Kristy McCormick

Sandra Jones – a young, pretty mother, disappears in the middle of the night. She leaves her four year old daughter asleep in the house and when her husband arrives home he finds the house still locked tight and Sandra nowhere to be found. And so the mystery begins with Lisa Gardner’s latest thriller, The Neighbour.

Jason and Sandra Jones lead a seemingly normal, and close to perfect, life. Both attractive, educated people, she works as a school teacher, he as a journalist. They have a lovely four year old daughter they call Ree and live in a nice home in an up and coming area of South Boston. So why has Sandra Jones vanished without a trace? Why would she leave her daughter alone in the middle of the night? And why does her husband seem more intent on withholding evidence and restricting access to his daughter – whom it seems is the only witness to what may have happened to her mother?

Lisa Gardner has written a spellbinding thriller – one that involves so many twists and turns you can scarcely keep up. The story winds its way through the lives of Jason and Sandra Jones and several other peripheral characters. These include a parade of twisted yet intriguing people – from registered sex offenders and 13 year old computer geeks, it appears no one is entirely free from suspicion over Sandra\’s disappearance.

The detective in charge of the case, which is classified as a suspected homicide almost straight away, is D.D Warren. A workaholic, D.D is at her best when following a difficult case and this one is more difficult than most. There is no body, no real evidence and the small matter of trying to protect a four year old girl who just may have witnessed the disappearance and / or murder of her mother. Of course in these cases it is almost always the spouse under most suspicion, especially when they don\’t act the way they should – no crying, appeals to the public or even cooperation with the police. D.D struggles to understand her main suspect\’s motivation in keeping his history under wraps – is he guilty or is there more to this couple than meets the eye?

The story is told from the perspectives of four of the main characters and in doing so, the narrative alternates between real time, recent past events and then back to the childhoods of Sandra and Jason Jones. It is in no way disjointed though and hearing the story from all these different perspectives adds depth and further intrigue to the novel. There is no way I would have been able to guess what was really going on here – the suspense is held right until the very end of the book and it is a surprise!

The Neighbour is Lisa Gardner\’s eleventh thriller and I\’m guessing it won\’t be her last by a long shot. If you enjoy a good mystery, with enough suspense to keep you guessing until the very last chapter then this might be the book for you.

Available now: Hachette RRP$32.99


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