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Book Review: Mystery > Thriller

Posted on Jun 26, 2017 |

The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner



This is a lightweight mystery that had potential it didn’t fulfill. It wasn’t bad—it had its moments.  

Sarah Phoenix is in love with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. She has good neighbors—she thinks—until a fire next door leads to tragedy and the unravelling of secrets.

 I liked the twist ending. However, once the scoundrel was revealed, the dialogue between Sarah and the mastermind of villainy reminded me of the literary equivalent of a cartoon villain tugging at his mustache while cackling diabolically after tying the damsel in distress to a railroad track—it just had this inauthentic quality to it. Maybe I just like more literary suspense/mystery/thrillers.


Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker


Mystery > Thriller

This psychological thriller is told from the alternating points of view of Cassandra, who was fifteen years old when she and her then-seventeen-year-old sister Emma disappeared, and Abby, the forensic psychologist who has been tormented by this case in the three years since the girls disappeared.

Now eighteen, the reader knows that Cass has some kind of hidden agenda when she returns home early one morning and tells her story to the FBI, but it’s not clear what until the end.

Abby has done research on narcissistic disorder because she and her own sister had a mother who suffered from it. In her studies, Abby looked at how daughters of narcissistic mothers either repeat the cycle or find ways to deal with it—some less healthy than others. No one wants to hear her theories about Jane, the girls’ mother, but when Cass returns and describes where she and Emma have been and why they couldn’t return earlier, Abby continues to read between the lines and refine her theories.

I thought this was a unique way to tell a story. It was a fast read and I wanted to learn whether the FBI could find Emma and what Cass’s full story was. The ending didn’t disappoint.


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