Author: Catherine McKenzie
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
When a neighborhood seems more like typical high school cliques, you know things will not turn out well!
Julie Prentice has uprooted her family and moved across the country after being harassed by a stalker over the publication of her bestselling novel, The Murder Game. They move from Washington State to Ohio in hopes of a fresh start. Shortly after arriving, they find that their neighborhood is controlled by Cindy, the self-appointed head of their home owners association, and she wants to be involved in everyone’s business. Julie finds an instant connection to her neighbor John Dunbar, which is a breath of fresh air to have someone nice around after the horrendous affair with the stalker. Before long, Julie and her family become the targets of harassment once again. There are misunderstandings and things are blown out of proportion quicker than high school gossip. As things start to spiral out of control, Julie isn’t sure how much more she can take when tensions rise and the worst of everyone comes out.
I have to say I liked this much more than I first thought I would. There was a uniqueness to the story with the back and forth from the past to the present and the different viewpoints between Julie and John. If you weren’t paying close attention, it might be a little difficult to follow but not terrible. The writing to keep the tension up was done really well. To produce a high amount of suspense in a novel, I think more of a murder mystery with a killer on the loose to keep me on the edge of my seat. Here there was something about the way the story was written, especially after about the first third of the book, which I couldn’t put it down. I give credit to Catherine McKenzie for that; it is not an easy task. The last few chapters almost seemed a rush to tie things up a little too quickly though. Several of the characters are very annoying, I’m looking at you Cindy, and some are just there to be there. Even so, the story itself was very well laid out. It did seem at times that even the adults were more immature than some of the kids. For example, Cindy tries to be a leader and inevitably becomes a bully. Susan is a bit of a cling-on and Julie tries to fit in and yet finds everyone against her when she didn’t feel she had done anything wrong.
I do need to say this is for mature audiences with some of the language used, but could have been a lot worse. Overall it was a very enjoyable read and one I will recommend.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from TLC book tours. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.