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Proof you should never judge a book by its cover...
The People Next Door - Christopher Ransom
Member Name: jeffjen
The People Next Door - Christopher Ransom
Date: 03/01/12, updated on 03/01/12 (115 review reads)
Advantages: The story concept isn't bad.
Disadvantages: Boring read, poor charcters, struggles to make sense at times and ending is a let-down.
Mick, a man well into the third year of what he has came to think of as a total life hangover, soon learns that something is very wrong with their new neighbours, something dark and sinister leaving him wondering exactly who the Renders are and where they have came from. But more importantly, what are they hiding in the basement?
As death and darkness descend on the neighbourhood, only Mick can save his family and expose the horrifying truth about the people next door.
After reading the blurb on the cover of this book telling me I will never forget their secret and I will never forget the twist, whilst also informing me this book will be the most terrifying, unforgettable novel I'll read all year, it is no wonder I was suitably intrigued and thought this would be a good read. The dark and creepy cover adding to the effect, promising that this book will live up to all you might expect and maybe more.
Sadly if ever there was proof needed that you should never judge a book by its cover, then here it is! For I found that 'The People Next Door' certainly did not live up to the hype. I was taken in by the cover and all the blurb, but it didn't take me long to realise that this book was certainly not what it seemed. Indeed it wasn't just the Render family in the story who weren't all they appeared to be...
To be fair, the book started off quite well. Keelie Kennerly is a young girl running away from home, to meet up with friends to begin what she believes will be a better life. Keelie is trying to hitch a ride from a service area, but isn't prepared to just accept a lift from anyone. She is wary and holds out for someone she feels she will be safe with. So when married couple Dave and Sheila Galloway agree to give her a ride, Keelie feels quite safe. However, it turns out to be far from what Keelie expected as Dave and Sheila appear to change right before her eyes.
After leaving this opening chapter on a cliffhanger, the story switches to Mike Nash and his family and right away I had difficulty finding them interesting. The children, especially Kyle, held slightly more interest for me than his parents however.
After a few mudane pages about the Nash family we follow them as they embark upon a boating trip on a lake where strange things happen and this was also the point where I began to get lost.
On more than one occasion, I had to backtrack a little to see if there was something I had missed. Things didn't add up or make sense to me at times and the characters of Mike and Amy in particular did little to keep me interested. Also there was far too much mundane reading in my opinion and then when something did happen it didn't quite make sense.
I really struggled to get through this book and it was the fact that I wanted to know what the big twist would be, along with a small hope that it would all suddenly start making sense, which kept me reading it, although it took a great deal of effort on my part to do so. At no point was I gripped and the flashbacks to 'Island Living' only added to my confusion and made the story even harder to follow.
I couldn't help but think that the concept of the story wasn't a bad idea, but an author such as Stephen King for example could have done something far better with it.
The opening chapter was the most interesting part of the book for me. It drew me in but then lost significance until nearly the end. Little cryptic 'hints' for want of a better word, are dropped in throughout the book, but this didn't help to make sense of it all and I found it very disjointed. I got the feeling it was meant to add to the intrigue and make the reader eager to turn the pages, but it had the opposite effect for me and I lost count how many times I found I was asking myself what was going on?
Around halfway through, I found I couldn't care less what happened to the characters who were not developed enough nor interesting enough to care about.
Although quite gory in places, The People Next Door wasn't a scary read, the twist was very forgettable and yes I did guess their secret. As for it promising to be the most unforgettable novel I'd read all year, well I found I could forget about it very easily.
Summary: Don't be taken in by the blurb on the cover, this book didn't live up to the hype.