Review: The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood (5/5)

Wednesday 18 June 2014
The electrifying new thriller from the author of the Edgar-Award winning sensation The Wicked Girls, Alex Marwood.

No. 23 has a secret. In this bedsit-riddled south London wreck, lorded over by a lecherous landlord, something waits to be discovered. Yet all six residents have something to hide.

Collette and Cher are on the run; Thomas is a reluctant loner; while a gorgeous Iranian asylum seeker and a 'quiet man' nobody sees try to stay hidden. And watching over them all is Vesta - or so she thinks.

In the dead of night, a terrible accident pushes the neighbours into an uneasy alliance. But one of them is a killer, expertly hiding their pastime, all the while closing in on their next victim...

As a cloying heatwave suffocates the city, events build to an electrifying climax in this dark, original and irresistibly compelling thriller.

Alex Marwood's first book The Wicked Girls has been on my tbr for a long time. I was recommended this book as 'one of those books that keeps you up until 3am' and after finishing it can safely agree! I've been awake into the early hours the past few nights reading it. It was absolutely brilliant and I think I'm going to struggle to do the book justice with my review!

I don't know the exact genre but I'm giving this book my 'Crime Book of the Week' slot. There are crime elements and thriller elements but also a lot of horror! For me there was the sense of not knowing what was coming. I had no idea how the story would progress, I had no idea which characters - if any! - I could trust. Every single character is mysterious and is carrying secrets and you never fully know any of them. Each and every one surprised me throughout the book.

The cast of characters are so varied and different. My worst nightmare is sharing a house with a load of random strangers but the idea of sharing with some of the people in this book is just the stuff of nightmares. We follow chapters featuring 'The Lover' who is keeping dead women in his bedroom long after they are dead and clogging up poor Vesta's drains who is an old woman who has lived what I felt was a pretty worthless life but was at the same time a likeable character who played a huge role in this book. My favourite character in the book was Cher who whilst a thief and someone you would probably avoid on the street was actually quite a likeable character just trying to make the best of what she's got in the world, which isn't much.

Colette is also a major character on the run for the past few years after witnessing a murder. Constantly looking over her shoulder she has so far remained one step ahead of the people hunting her but she feels her luck will surely run out one day. These characters all live in the house owned by Roy Preece who is an absolutely disgustingly odious human being. The scenes with him were particularly revolting and the worst of it is people like him actually exist. He is another character keeping secrets and plotting things throughout the book. But even I didn't see what was coming regarding his role in the book! It takes a lot to turn my stomach but reading some parts of this book managed it! The descriptions of certain scenes which I can't really elaborate on are particularly gruesome but, I LOVED it.

Having no idea where the story would go kept me guessing, I was constantly on edge and hesitant to turn the page not knowing what would be happening. It's gripping, suspenseful and in parts a little bit scary! A huge event occurs which binds all the housemates together and from that point on I couldn't stop reading until the end! The book was incredibly addictive and I found myself thinking about it constantly when I was busy and unable to read it! The first 200 or so pages aren't particularly fast paced but what there is a lot of is character building, storytelling and some brilliant suspense. Overall a hard book to review without giving away the plot but safe to say it is a really exciting and gripping book that you would be mad not to pick up! I will be hoping to get my hands on Alex's first book in the VERY near future.

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