The Good Neighbor
When children’s author Sarah Phoenix wakes to see her neighbor’s house engulfed in flames, she dials 911 and makes a quick call to her husband, Johnny McDonald, a prominent dermatologist, who is away on a business trip. Then she rushes out to help. Four-year-old Mia Kimball screams from an upstairs bedroom and Sarah scrambles up a ladder to save her. Flames jump from the burning house to her own and Sarah’s efforts are cut short when she is struck in the head by a piece of burning timber.
In the tragedy’s aftermath, Sarah, her neighbors and the fire marshal in the sleepy town of Shadow Cove, Washington question how the fire could have started. What had Sarah heard in her sleep, just before the fire broke out? She remembers seeing Jessie, her teenage neighbor across the street that evening and wonders about Jessie’s suspicious-looking new boyfriend. Who was in the road just before the fire broke out? What had her neighbors seen? And why hadn’t her husband answered her frantic call that night?
Something funny is going on as Sarah and Johnny salvage what they can from their home and move to a nearby cottage, owned by the town’s well-known realtor, Eris Coghlan. Sarah becomes increasingly suspicious of her husband as she wonders about his past, his connections on their old street and to their new neighbors.
Many twists and turns muddle the mystery, but the truth comes out on the banks of a rushing river when love and obsession collide.
The Good Neighbor is a light romantic suspense story, a quick and enjoyable read. Its strength is the story’s brisk pace. Limited character development and some loose and implausible plot connections may frustrate some readers, but I was entertained.
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