No. 23 has a secret. In this gloomy, bedsit-riddled South London wreck, lorded over by a lecherous landlord, a horrifying collection quietly waits to be discovered. Yet all six residents have something to hide.
Collette is on the run from her ex-boss; Cher is an underage children's home escapee; lonely Thomas tries to make friends with his neighbours; while a gorgeous Iranian asylum seeker and a 'quiet man' nobody sees try to keep themselves hidden. And there for them all is Vesta, a woman who knows everything that goes on in the house - or thought she did.
Then in the dead of night, a terrible accident pushes the six into an uneasy alliance. But one of them is a killer, expertly hiding their pastime, all the while closing in on their next victim...
I loved Alex Marwood's debut book Wicked Girls when I read it a couple of years ago so it's seemed like forever waiting for the publication of this second book from her. So when I was offered the chance to receive a proof copy of The Killer Next Door from her publisher I jumped at the chance.
From the outside of 23 Beulah Grove it looks like the same as any other house on this South London street but on the inside it's a house full of secrets. Each of the tenants have their own dark secrets or reason for living a solitary life, one more so than the others, but they soon find that they'll have to rely on each other when something terrible happens.
The three women of the house were definitely the most interesting of the characters for me. Vesta, the sitting tenant who secretly dreams of retiring to the seaside, is very much the house-mother who worries about young runaway Cher, and newest tenant Collette who is on the run but has returned home to London as her mother is ill. Then there are the men, handsome Hossein who is laying low whilst seeking asylum, reclusive Gerald, loner Thomas and creepy landlord Roy Preece whose every presence literally made my skin crawl.
From the outset you know there is a killer in their midst as the story begins with the police interviewing young Cher about the discovery but then the story goes back in time to get to know the characters and make discoveries about their lives. This was a real page turner and I was hooked from the start and with every new development I found myself willing them to be safe both from the killer who lives amongst them but also from those they are running from.
Overall this was a creepy but addictive read that I would highly recommend even if the killer's identity was revealed a bit too soon for my liking, I would have liked the guessing to have gone on a little longer...
I'm already looking forward to the next book from Alex Marwood but just hope that we don't have to wait as long for it. The Killer Next Door is out now as an eBook and will be published in paperback in June.