Rating: 3 / 5
THOSE PEOPLE by Louise Candlish (publication date 6/11/2019) gives an example of what can happen when a couple of bad seeds move into an otherwise apparently perfect little community.
The book opens with a series of police statements by residents of Lowland Way in London. The exact tragedy which has occurred isn’t entirely clear, but we know someone has died. The statements are interspersed with chapters told from various neighbors’ points of view going back to several weeks earlier when the build up to the tragedy began.
This neighborhood of Lowland Way has received prestige and political recognition by banding together to clear out cars and shut down the road one day each week for the kids to be able to play freely in safety on the streets. They seem a close knit community of both friends and family. They’re the type of community where your neighbor has a key to your house ‘just in case’ and you can share a babysitter for an evening out.
When one of the neighborhood residents passes away, she leaves her house to Darren. Darren moves in with Jodie and immediately starts wreaking havoc on the otherwise peaceful neighborhood. He plays loud music at all hours, starts on questionable house repairs and runs an illegal car dealership out of his house with numerous extra vehicles parked around the neighborhood.
In general, Darren and Jodie have a disinterest in going along with the neighborhood’s culture. They ruin his neighbors’ sleep, keeping the baby up all night with the music. The neighbor across the street loses her B&B business. The neighborhood loses their prestigious weekly play day thanks to Darren’s refusal to abide by the neighbors’ choice to block off the street and relocate the cars.
This was marketed as a thriller and for me this book was not that. This book is a very slow burn and more of a character study in my mind. Candlish does an excellent job of showing what stress will do to a relationship. Through her characters, she compares this situation to that of a prisoner being tortured.
While the neighbors attempt to find ways to get legal intervention against Darren, they find their hands tied by lengthy wait times and red tape. A lack of sleep and the stress of the situation reveals cracks in the relationships between spouses, families and friends. It pushes people to do things which might have seemed out of character just a month earlier.
Overall I enjoyed this book. The slow buildup of stress on the characters was well done and there were twists that I didn’t coming. THOSE PEOPLE kept me engaged to want to keep reading and know what exactly happened.
That said, I felt the pace was a bit slow for me at times having gone into it expecting something in the thriller genre. I also didn’t find myself really attached to any of the characters in particular which isn’t necessary to enjoy a book, but I find it is important if I’m really going to love it.
I was lucky to win an ARC of this book from to review before its release tomorrow and I’m glad I was able to read THOSE PEOPLE by Louise Candlish. I would definitely pick up more from this author!
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