Think you know your neighbors? Think again.
When actress Allison Langley leaves her former rockstar husband in the middle of the night, her sudden departure becomes the talk of upmarket Oak Hill. But the relentless gossip comes to an abrupt halt when five-year-old Billy Barnes disappears on his walk home from kindergarten. Is there a predator lurking in the leafy suburb? Weeks later, three-year-old Amy-Pat Davies vanishes from her backyard. In addition to sharing a zip code, the missing children have another thing in common – their babysitter, Cassidy McLean, who has a secret of her own.
This book is perfect for fans of Big Little Lies as I got the same vibe when I picked it up and started reading it-a neighbourhood full of secrets and lies where everybody has something to hide! The golden couple of the street and at the centre of all the gossip and jealousy are actress Allison and her musician husband Chris. But when Allison disappears the gossip intensifies only to stop when another disappearance takes centre stage. Five year old Billy is walking home from kindergarten but never arrives. His mother Rachel blames herself for being a working parent but he has a babysitter so where was she when he vanished off the streets? The storyline is told in multiple points of view, which can be confusing at the start but as the characters build their own voices, we start to see a very different neighbourhood from the one the residents would like us to!
After a slow start this slice of American suburbia delivered a gripping storyline that held onto its secrets till the very end-and what a shocking revelation it was! I found myself drawn to the characters lives like a fly on the wall, watching their true selfs interact because it’s true-you never know what goes on behind closed doors! But because the characters are so intriguing due to their many flaws and because you are constantly second guessing yourself, this psychological thriller about the disappearance of two small children develops into something much darker and more interesting.
The Perfect Neighborhood is a well written and suspenseful thriller that ticked all the right boxes for me meaning that Liz Alterman is an author I will definitely keep an eye out for in the future.
Liz Alterman’s work can be found in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Parents, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and other publications. She is the author of a young adult novel, He’ll Be Waiting, a memoir, Sad Sacked, and a domestic suspense novel, The Perfect Neighborhood. Liz lives in New Jersey with her husband and three sons. When she isn’t writing, Liz spends most days reading, microwaving the same cup of coffee, and looking up synonyms.