Friday, October 30, 2009
"A bad neighbor is as great a calamity as a good one is a great advantage." Hesiod
Sandra Jones, a high school teacher, puts her daughter, Ree, to bed before going to bed herself. Then she hears a sound coming from the stairs...When her husband, Jason, comes home from his night shift job at the newspaper, Sandra is missing.
Sgt. Detective D. D. Warren, last seen in Gardner's 2007 novel, "Hide" knows that the spouse is always the prime suspect when the other spouse goes missing or is killed. However, when she attempts to interview Jason, he is uncooperative, almost nonchalant.
Is it the husband who is guilty of doing whatever happened to Sandra?
Is it the neighbor, Adrian Brewster, whose room overlooks the Jones' bedroom and is a registered sex offender? Could it be Ethan Hastings, a 13 year old student at Sandra's high school and who has a crush on her? Or, could it be a late comer in the story, Wayne Reynolds, a state police computer analyst who had met Sandra at a school basketball game and had been meeting her for the weekly basketball games?
The story continues with Sandra's father, Judge Maxwell Black, entering the scene and demanding he be given visitation privileges to his granddaughter. Sandra had no relationship with her father and had accused him of mistreatment and causing her mother's death.
As we read on, we are privileged to know the various character's thoughts and knowing that, it is difficult to see who might be the guilty character.
It is obvious that the author enjoyed writing this book and her sense of having fun with the plot comes through. "The Neighbor" is a well written, fast moving story that would have made Alfred Hitchcock proud in the old TV days.