‘You forget. I’ve seen you with blood on your hands.’“
When Leah Talbot hits a deer on a deserted road near her village she spots a light on in a nearby house and approaches, hoping that someone is home. He is.
Charming, handsome, Martin Tate answers the door to the bedraggled and traumatised Leah, inviting her in. Though she’s not there for long, Leah feels an indescribable pull to the man who has helped in her hour of need. But when she returns the next morning to say thank you, it isn’t Martin who answers the door this time. It’s the police. There’s been a brutal murder and the female homeowner and sole resident is lying dead in a pool of her blood.
There’s no sign of Martin… until he comes looking for Leah.
This starts off with creepy, nail-biting suspense about a women stopping at a lonely house by the road, calling for help. When Martin Tate answers, Leah walks right in. Nothing seems amiss, though she does realise she is offering up more information than necessary. Then again, Leah lives just down the road and she figures she is safe. On the verge of separating from her husband, Leah is yearning for love and when she and Martin share a brief kiss, something changes.
Upon returning the next day, when she learns Martin was not the resident of that house as he had led her believe, Leah can’t help but wonder why he’d kissed her while a dead body lay up in the bedroom. She offers to help the detectives with the investigation but withholds this tiny detail.
With the police hot on his trail, Martin secretly contacts Leah who now finds herself caught in a three-way cat and mouse chase.
The beginning very quickly and easily absorbed me into its narrative. I could anticipate the build up to something monumental which piqued my interest.
The fact that Leah was so forthcoming with specific details about herself rang giant-sized alarm bells, even though one might argue that not every situation has to be imagined at its worst. In doing so, she basically walked into the wrong place at the wrong time.
The author amped the narrative by revisiting scenes from Martin’s point of view to reveal his psychology at play in the scheme of things. Nonetheless, the actual chase could not live up to its potential. Leah let go of more than one opportunity to turn the situation in her favour which made her lose strength as a character. I would have also liked to see Leah’s relationship with her husband, Elliot, explored on a deeper level to make the motive more believable.
The book managed to redeem itself in the end with a finish that was almost as good as one you would find in Keigo Higashino’s murder mysteries. Also, Rose Robinson’s narration, more specifically her rendition of Martin Tate, was something I enjoyed listening to. The picture she drew of him with her voice came awfully close to how I imagined him to be – good looking, dangerous, and creepy as hell.
A domestic thriller with short chapters, this is a quick and easy read when you need a palate cleanser between books.
The Good Neighbour by R. J. Parker. Narrated by Rose Robinson. Published on 18th March by One More Chapter as a HarperCollins UK Audio production. This Audio Review Copy courtesy of NetGalley and HarperCollins UK Audio.
Book 18 of 2021.
Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟.
Available on Amazon*.
R. J. Parker lives in Salisbury.
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