Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Those People by Louise Candlish

The neighbors at Lowland Way are happy with their little suburban paradise. Until the owner of number 1 passes away and her nephew inherits. The first things the neighbors notice are the renovations. The knocking down of a wall they’d tried so hard to preserve kicks off a string of construction, none of which they're certain the man has permits to do himself. Then it’s the cars, so many of them that the neighbors can’t keep track. And he’s selling them out of his home! In addition to that, the neighbors immediately around number 1 can’t sleep for the loud music and TV noise coming from the house at all hours.

Complaints don’t work - the new owners of number 1 don’t care and the council doesn’t have the resources to do anything. But when it all culminates in a horrible accident, it’s the police that finally get dragged in. But was it an accident at all?

Oh, Louise Candlish must have lived in my neighborhood to prompt this book! Well, except that our neighbors weren’t so disturbing as to have been approached about all of it, so I don’t know how they would have reacted. The rest of us certainly didn't conspire against them. But the number of cars! And the tow trucks constantly delivering more. And the weekends spent working on diesel engine vehicles backfiring at random moments. Ugh.

So yeah, I understand this book! Anyone who’s ever dealt with annoying neighbors understands this book!

Those People is domestic drama and dark thriller all rolled up in a tight ball. It makes for great tension - Candlish throws a police investigation at you from the very start with neighbors giving door-to-door testimony at the beginning of each chapter, but then catapulting the reader back to the arrival of the new owners of number 1 and tracking occurrences right up to the “accident” that we all know is coming. She almost lulls you into a complacency, making you wonder just how bad things could possibly get, but with that reminder that they apparently do get REALLY bad.

Like her previous book, Those People is an examination in pushing people to their limits. And in how they'll react when it feels like no one is on their side at that point - both the protagonists and the antagonists!

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