Review: THE GOOD NEIGHBOR by A. J. Banner

Review: THE GOOD NEIGHBOR by A. J. BannerThe Good Neighbor by A. J. Banner
Published by Amazon Publishing on August 25th 2015
Pages: 196
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Contemporary Women
ARC provided by BookSparks


From a phenomenal new voice in suspense fiction comes a book that will forever change the way you look at the people closest to you...

Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about--quaint streets, lush forests, good neighbors. That's what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. But all too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. And one October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah's happiness.

Dazed and stricken with grief, she and Johnny begin to rebuild their shattered lives. As she picks up the pieces of her broken home, Sarah discovers a shocking secret that forces her to doubt everything she thought was true--about her neighbors, her friends, and even her marriage. With each stunning revelation, Sarah must ask herself, Can we ever really know the ones we love?

Reading time 3 mins

This really fell short of physiological suspense. I was hoping for more oomph, but this book fell flat by chapter three for me. The Good Neighbor had a good premise, but the delivery was not so good.

Sarah lives in a very nice neighborhood where everyone would want to live. Her husband, Johnny, owned the house when they met and she fell in love with their home. A terrible thing happens and she and her husband are forced to move. As she tries to move forward in a new place a secret is revealed, and then another one, forcing her to question everyone she thinks she knows about the people in her life.

This story is told in Sarah’s POV and she is the only one here without a good story to tell. Sarah was pretty boring, but everyone else in this story was so interesting. This is a case of characters exposing too much, way too fast. Unfortunately, they give away all their secrets after a quick meeting with Sarah. I don’t get that, but maybe it is because she seems like a blank slate? The only ones that don’t spill everything are the who done it in the mystery.

The pacing was pretty good in this story. It was also a quick read at about 196 pages. I will say that the author uses great descriptive language. I mean I could see, hear, smell and feel the scenes. The beginning was rather good and I wanted to find out how Sarah and Johnny fared after the tragedy. I was really enjoying this until the flaws of Sarah came to light. As a character, she didn’t have enough substance to be likable. She also didn’t seem to have any skills at problem solving. She went around telling everyone’s secrets and asking all the wrong questions. She was like, completely clueless! She thinks all these questions, a mindful dialogue that I can’t relate to, and then asks the stupidest ones when she gets a chance. I get that I won’t like every single characters in a book, but being that all of this is suppose to be happening to Sarah, it was just hard to like a book with her in it.

Also, the ending! Can we talk about the ending? In a book where everything got sorted out relatively quickly, the author leaves this one HUGE cliffhanger. Is there suppose to be a follow-up? I don’t know. There were too many coincidences, questionable moves, and plot holes. Everything the characters talked about has a followup reasoning. I don’t like being spoon fed my mysteries like that. I don’t think I would recommend this to anyone except a casual reader who knows nothing about the genre.

My Rating


About A. J. Banner

As a child, A. J. Banner loved reading everything from Nancy Drew to Tolkien to her parents’ spy novels, “borrowed” from their bookshelves and hidden beneath her pillow. She wrote her first thriller, Mystery at Crane Corner, at the age of 11. She drew her own cover art and bound the pages with staples.

Born in India and raised in North America, A. J. graduated from high school in southern California and received degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. She tried various professions after college – some more successfully than others – including a stint in law school, an office management position, and a memorable job at a veterinary clinic, since she loves animals, but eventually she returned to writing. Her first novel of psychological suspense, The Good Neighbor (Lake Union Publishing), will be released in September 2015.

A longtime fan of Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, A. J. feels at home writing stories with unexpected twists and turns. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and four rescued cats.

I received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

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