Alex Marwood - The Killer Next Door
"She is a crime writer to keep an eye on - she's going to be scaring us for years to come."
Number 23 has a secret.
In this gloomy, bedsit-riddled South London wreck, a horrifying collection quietly waits to be discovered. All six residents have something to hide.
Collette is on the run from her ex-boss; Cher is a children's home escapee; lonely Thomas tries to make friends with his neighbours; and a gorgeous Iranian asylum seeker and a 'quiet man' nobody sees try to keep themselves hidden. There for them all is Vesta, a woman who knows everything that goes on in the house - or thought she did.
But one of them is a killer, expertly hiding their pastime, all the while closing in on their next victim.
When master of horror Stephen King calls a book 'scary as hell' you're advised to take precautions before beginning; make sure your doors and windows are locked, check under the bed, and sleep with the light on: this is a dark, nasty, and compelling tale.
Alex Marwood is a natural storyteller. She hooks you in from the very first page and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the final line. She takes you on a rollercoaster of a ride of emotions; disturbing and frightening in one chapter, and reducing you to tears with the next. The plot is pitch black dark, deeply sinister, yet richly written, and highly original. This is only Marwood's second novel but reads as if written by a seasoned professional who has been creating thrillers her whole life.
This disparate bunch of characters are all beautifully drawn and flawed people. They are all wrapped up in their own shaky lives and their vulnerabilities force them to change their role within the group, keeping the pace alive and crackling with dramatic tension. Marwood's attention to gruesome detail and tightly written prose gives a rawness and claustrophobic edge to the plot, which is reminiscent to several real life cases of the recent past.
I defy anyone not to love this book and be chilled to their very core. Alex Marwood's first two novels have been utterly amazing. She is a crime writer to keep an eye on - she's going to be scaring us for years to come.
Reviewed by: M.W.