The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood
Published by Sphere
5th December 2013
No. 23 has a secret...
In a 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 them into an uneasy alliance. But one of them is a killer, expertly hiding their pastime, all the while closing in on their next victim...
As a cloying heatwave suffocates the city, events build to an electrifying climax in this brilliantly constructed, tightly paced thriller.
He checks his watch and downs the last of his coffee. 'Okay. Miss Cheryl should be done with her fag break. Let's take you down to her.'
She follows him down to the interview rooms and he surreptitiously checks his reflection in the wired glass of a door as he passes it. DI Cheyne's a bit older than he usually goes for, but she's a good-looking woman. Slightly hard-faced, but a life in the Met doesn't make for a lot of childlike innocence. Doesn't hurt to keep your options open, anyway. Women who understand your unorthodox working hours are few and far between; attractive ones even fewer.
'You should probably know,' he tells her, 'she's pretty tired and upset, and we've still got a lot to get through, so if you could keep it shortish, that would be good.'
'Sure,' she says. 'I don't suppose it'll take that long, anyway. How is she? Cooperative?'
'Pissed off,' he says. 'In the custody of Social Services, so you can't blame her. She's a bit sulky. And she's not the sharpest tool in the shop. No point asking her to read anything, for a start.'
'That's okay. Think she can look at a photo?'
'Oh. I should think so. We'll give it a go, anyway.'
This is the second novel by Alex Marwood, following on from her amazing debut The Wicked Girls in 2012. And, can I just say, if you love a good crime novel, and you haven't picked up a copy yet, please rush out and buy one NOW. It was my read of 2012 and for good reason!
Anyway, I digress, back to The Killer Next Door...a whole host of characters are all living together in a three storey house in the middle of London. Each has a past they would rather not divulge, and an uncertain future. Alex Marwood really does hit home just how you can remain pretty much anonymous today if you try hard enough. The only thing is, whilst you have your own secrets to hide, so do those who are surrounding you. In this instance, one of you is a killer; and a pretty gruesome one at that!
The drains are blocking, and the smell is nauseating, but then if the remains of bodily parts are being embalmed and disposed off down the household waste system, what do you expect, and the heat is only going to make things worse! As the house bonds over an unfortunate incident, though one I must say is wholly justified, will the killer be tipped over the edge, and are the residents of No. 23 safe in their own home?
Alex Marwood knows how to write a real page-turner and The Killer Next Door is no exception. She deserves to be up there with Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo for some pretty stomach-turning descriptions that keep you reading long into the night. If you love crime, and haven't discovered Alex Marwood yet, then what are you waiting for? (And if you haven't got an e-reader, The Killer Next Door will be released in paperback in June, so grab The Wicked Girls in the meantime)!