Helen Cooper ~ The Downstairs Neighbour
In a converted Georgian townhouse in south west London, three families live under one roof.
The large flat that takes up the top two floors is home to the Harlow family: happily married Paul and Steph, and their bubbly teenage daughter Freya. The smaller first floor flat is rented by Emma, who spends most of her time alone, listening to people coming in and out of the building. And the basement flat belongs to Chris, a local driving instructor, who prefers to keep his personal life private from the neighbours.
But their lives are all upended when Freya vanishes. As the police become involved and a frantic Paul and Steph desperately search for answers, they begin to realise that the truth behind their daughter’s disappearance may lie closer to home than they were expecting.
I love dual timelines in thrillers because you have an immediate sense of foreboding. The anticipation of the climax is there… you just don’t know what it is!
I have to say this one kept me guessing. Characters were well-written and engaging. The contrast between each neighbour is stark and their back stories add to the tension. In particular I liked the way Emma and Zeb’s stories were revealed.
Freya’s disappearance is handled well, and the emotion felt by the house is genuine and raw.
Kate’s backstory in particular piqued my interest… I felt it was well done in how her past met her present, and the wider repercussions.
My only criticism is that the ending feels a little too tidy. However, why shouldn’t a thriller have a positive end?
The Downstairs Neighbour is published by Hodder & Stoughton. I received a copy from the author and Insta Book Tours. Opinions my own.
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