In suburban Long Island, on a neighborly cul-de-sac, Maple Street hides a terrible secret. A rift between two misfit moms and former best friends opens up—and so does a sinkhole down which young Shelly Schroeder falls. It's one mom's word against the other's in a court of public opinion that can end only in blood.
Sarah Langan's Good Neighbors is one of the creepiest, most unnerving deconstructions of American suburbia I've ever read. Langan cuts to the heart of upper middle class lives like a skilled surgeon and exposes the rotten realities behind manicured lawns and perfect families, and the result is horrifically plausible ... Despite being mostly about upper middle class white Americans, Good Neighbors is anchored in otherness ... Langan's unflinching prose obliterates suburbia's shiny veneer and makes Good Neighbors an uncomfortable read ... This is a story about murder, but it's also much more. This is narrative about childhood trauma and motherhood and how both shape people. Narratives about suburbia's rotten core aren't new, but Langan brings them into the present and pushes them into the future ... You will read this and be enthralled, but you will never look at your neighbors the same way again.
Langan weaves interviews and news clips into her tightly written, fast-paced narrative, conveying the infectious spread and mutation of stories goaded by media sensationalism and attention-seeking neighbors. As gossip and rumors swell and proliferate, the stakes grow exponentially as well. The richly complex main characters reveal flawed pasts and duplicitous natures as the story transforms into a witch hunt, trying to discern which of the suspects may be responsible for the child’s erratic behavior before she fell. Horrific claims pit the children against their parents and the adults against one another. Langan skillfully casts this suburban neighborhood in sinister light, building a sense of discord and apprehension from the first page. Intricate and edgy, Good Neighbors is a descent into depraved suburban drama, perfect for fans of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and Stephen King-style thrills.
The reader is given some clues to the outcome through news articles and book chapters from the future that allude to the Maple Street Murders. These extra documents add to the rippling tension throughout. Distinguished horror writer Langan...knows how to make that tension pop off the page. A creepy standout for readers who want an extra kick to their suburban dramas.