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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Woman Next Door (T.M. Wright)


We all have neighbours that are a little peculiar, right?  Well... some are a little more "peculiar" than others...

Marilyn had what she thought was the ideal life:  loving husband and child, and a house decorated with only the finest antiques you could find.  The day that parapalegic Christine and her husband moved in next door, things started to go wrong with her orderly, perfect world.  Soon, Marilyn would find herself confronted by a hate so powerful that it reached from her past to close in on her and her "perfect" life...

The back of "The Woman Next Door" sounded interesting- and I'm always looking for interesting books in the horror genre, so I bought this one hoping to enjoy a quiet night of eerie, creeping horror.

While there are moments that I liked in this book, I was ultimately disappointed in it.  The writing style isn't bad- it flows nicely and was capable of creating a decent sense of mood and atmosphere.  The premise and general storyline was good, and full of potential.  I enjoyed the way that the four sub-plots were weaved together- almost seperate stories in themselves, but still part of the main storyline.  I would've liked it more though, if there were more hints as to how these subplots were connected to the main story.  I really liked how the story moved back and forth between the "present," and the flashbacks featuring an unnamed, malicious babysitter- they went a long way to setting up the climax and "twist" to the story.  The only problem with the flashbacks involved the fact that the book opens up with one that pretty much acts as a spoiler later.

The main (and the serious) flaw with this otherwise interesting book involves the characters:  I didn't care about any of them.  You're supposed to care about Christine and Marilyn's husband and child... but they aren't really developed enough to get me to connect with them.  They're kinda dull and lifeless.  Christine's husband is even less developed... to point where it's almost like the character is doing a cameo appearance in Christine's life.  Sonny Norton- a mentally challenged man who can sense the paranormal, is interesting- and even likable, but lacks depth and purpose in the book.  The only characters that are actually developed are Marilyn, and the unnamed babysitter from the flashbacks.  She is developed quite nicely and evoked the feelings that we're meant to feel for her.

Unfortunately, this doesn't make the climax of the book any more enjoyable.  It's a little jumbled, disjointed, and you can see it coming early on if you caught the spoiler early on in the book.  I'm going to have to place, "The Woman Next Door" into "The Ugly".

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