The electrifying new thriller from the author of the word-of-mouth best-selling 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.
"If you read Alex Marwood's The Wicked Girls, her new one - The Killer Next Door - is even better. Scary as hell. Great characters." (Stephen King)
"Utterly gripping; Marwood's ability to show the sinister side of everyday life is unparalleled." (Jenny Colgan)
"Nasty, compelling, and original, the author has done it again with her second novel." (The Sun)
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An All Nighter.
The story is utterly gripping and I cared about the characters. There is literally not a wasted word in this book. I felt that I was living in this orbit. It literally kept me awake until after 6 am as I simply could not stop listening. All the characters have a fascinating background and a compelling reason to be living in this boarding house. Their diversity and unavoidable crossing of paths is intriguing.
There is a gruesome description of a decaying rodent left on a staircase in order to kill an elderly tenant that was horrifyingly enthralling. The tension that builds as the story evolves beneath seeming normality is beyond eerie. I just wanted to discover more and more as I read.
For some reason, I really liked what seems to be a bland and almost mundane scene. The escaped Iranian blogger meets a character who has been caught witnessing a gangland murder and fleeing with a huge amount of laundered cash.. This chance meeting is in the street on a warm day. He goes out of his way to walk her home carrying her bag. Under normal circumstances these two would never encounter each other. Both are seeking refuge and have powerful enemies. Their dialogue is simply wonderful and touching. I don't know why I liked this so much when there are other scenes that are infinitely more thrilling but for some reason, this showed what true humanity lies within all people. It was just beautiful but incidental.
This book made me laugh, cry and inwardly shriek with horror and disgust. It is truly one of the most unexpectedly gripping books I have read this year. I absolutely loved the setting, the suspense and the action. All the characters developed and were really interesting and you find out important things about each one rather than superficial descriptions. You are drawn into their world and live there with them. The heat was an overwhelmingly ghastly aspect to this book and added to the yuck factors which play such a role in what makes this book tick.
This is my first encounter with this author. I had no idea how much I would absolutely adore the book. It has been great to discover a new writer. It was amazing to find a book which was genuinely touching, authentic and tense underneath a veneer of mundane life. Everyone matters in this story. Loved it to bits. The narrator was brilliant and I was not even conscious that she was acting. She just became each character and I didn't mentally judge her acting because it was as though she wasn't playing each part but actually was each part.
- Virginia Waldron
Excellent - more please!