Friday, April 20, 2018

New Release Review: The New Neighbors by Simon Lelic

Pub. Date: April 10th, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 349

Genres: Thriller / Suspense / Mystery / Contemporary Fiction


What if your perfect home turned out to be the scene of the perfect crime?

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.

So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.

Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back door.

And now the police are watching them...

What Did I Think About the Story?

I actually finished reading The New Neighbors a few weeks ago but have been struggling somewhat with writing this review. I've been reading so many mystery/thrillers lately that I think I'm starting to develop a pretty high expectation for new ones I pick up. With the synopsis above I thought this was going to be a heart-stopping, fast-paced sort of thriller but I didn't find that to be the case. That isn't to say it wasn't enjoyable, it was. It just wasn't quite what I was expecting. Let me explain...

The beginning starts with the police outside Jack and Syd's new house and goes back in time to have them both, separately, tell the reader what happened from their own viewpoint. It's written almost as a confessional or diary, being somewhat informal and even funny at times. I loved this way of letting things unfold! However, as I neared the 50% mark and both characters were still being incredibly vague about absolutely everything, I began to get a little fed up and just wanted pieces to begin falling into place. And when those pieces did in fact fall I found the revelations to be somewhat anti-climatic and not that surprising. I just didn't find it all that "thrilling".

Something else I did enjoy, and which I wasn't expecting, was the more domestic drama aspect of the story. Both of these characters had incredibly hard childhoods, especially Syd, and seeing how those childhood traumas reached their ugly fingers into the characters' adult lives, influencing the kind of people they became and the actions they would take, was interesting. I think I might have enjoyed the story more if I went into the reading thinking this was more family drama then psychological thriller.

The New Neighbors, while definitely not what I would consider a "page turner", was still a quick and enjoyable read. There are still a few twists to satisfy a mystery reader, although I can't say they were all that hard to see coming. I love the way the author first presented the story, with the back and forth confessional style between Jack and Syd, and I would very much like to read other stories in this format as I think it could prove an excellent way to throw shocks and twists into a reading experience. While not a homerun for me I am still interested to see what else the author might have coming out next.

What Did I Think About the Cover?

This is a GREAT cover for a suspense/mystery novel! It's dark and hazy and you don't really know if the person in the window is trying to get out of that house or is possibly spying on someone on the outside. Are they friend or foe...who knows! I also enjoy the large title that let's you know what the story will be about (and gives you a hint about the person in the window). Really like this cover!

My Rating:3.0/5.0

I received a digital ARC copy of The New Neighbors from Netgalley and Berkley, Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine alone. For more information about the book, including other reviews and links to where you can purchase your own copy, see Goodreads HERE.


  1. A couple/few years ago I read Simon Lelic's 1000 CUTS and didn't like it at all. With all the books I have to read, I consider it a waste of time to read more of his books.

    1. Yeah, I can understand that. There are so many books out there to read, if you really don't enjoy one at all it probably isn't worth trying the author again, unless the subject matter REALLY interests you or you get a solid recommendation. Since I still enjoyed this one - even if I didn't love it - so will probably give the author another shot.