To me “The Perfect Neighborhood” was a slow burner to start. I felt like I was reading the script of an old TV show of Desperate Housewives between the gossip, show homes and plenty of hidden secrets.
However, once I’d read about a quarter way through, the secrets began to slowly be revealed and I found this book hard to put down.
I liked the way the author split the book into hearing the story being told by the different main characters of the story. From Rachel and Sarah, the two mums whose children had been kidnapped to Cassidy and Allison, the two women drawn in by Chris’ charms.
I was slightly confused at the start of this story though, as to who would want to kidnap Billy and Amy-Pat, nobody seemed to have a clear motive. There were a few clues halfway through the book, which I originally thought were superfluous to the story and were odd things to say, but this made them stand out even more. For instance, why was the pool guy mentioned on a few occasions, or why talk extensively about the “soundproof basement”.
Unfortunately, as I don’t want to give any spoilers away here, I will say that some of the clues are there to obviously throw you off the scent of who the real kidnapper is and some were gentle hints guiding you towards the kidnapper.
Cassidy and Chris’ relationship seemed like it was simple, an easily influenced 18 year girl, charmed by the thrill of dating an older man. Chris knew what he needed to do to manipulate the situation with Cassidy, and Allison made it easier after she left him. But Allison had also been manipulated by Chris for many years even before they got married, 8 years previously. Although Allison didn’t realise this until the end of her marriage.
There are plenty of twists and turns along the way to add to intrigue to this story, especially near the end when more truths are divulged. Even when Liz Alterman, added the by-line of the argument between Betsy the self made matriarch of the mums’ group and Lindsey the quietly spoken mum of Oliver, Billy’s best friend.
Plus, I loved the way the author referenced Phil and the mental scars he carried from his time at war. Phil was originally my first suspect as the kidnapper. As my understanding was, in his mind he was watching what people were doing wrong and wanted to right them all and protect the children.
One of the questions I’d love an answer to was in the final chapter – did Allison really kidnap that boy from the park, or did her common sense once again prevail?
This book is a gentle thriller, which is a great way to explore a new genre of book if this is your first time for reading a thriller. An easy and interesting read which is set in a suburban place where everything is portrayed as “The Perfect Neighborhood” but as is with life, nothing is ever that perfect.
Thank you to both NetGalley and Legend Press for letting me read this book in exchange for my honest review.