The Neighbors by Ania Ahlborn

Well, here we are, back in the Long Black Coffin neighborhood, kind of.  Maybe there is a cougar craze going on. Back in my day, it was called a Mrs. Robinson. Oh, well. Reading a couple of the reviews on Amazon I found that some readers would have preferred an even more perverse and twisted book, I assume sexually and sado-masochistically. On the other hand, some found it too gruesome. You can’t please everyone all the time.

 I found it too long. Actually, a number of currently published books could use an editor. Have all the editors been laid off? Despite its length, it was a quick read, due to its simple language and lack of character development.

 The Neighbors by Ania Ahlborn is being marketed as a cross between Blue Velvet and Basic Instinct. I didn’t see Basic Instinct, so I don’t know about that, but I see the Blue Velvet elements.  A bizarre tale of suburbia makes this an intriguing and inviting read. It’s got perfect lawns, cookies, home-cooked dinners, and blood. Harlow is a bona fide female psycho, calculating, manipulative and resolute in her planning. All the same, one wonders why her men try so hard to please her in every possible way. It’s a case of telling rather than showing, unfortunately.

 Harlow (interesting choice of name) has a deal with Mickey, who lives in a squalid, run-down rental next door. Andrew is yet another roommate who moves in with Mickey, a friend he hasn’t seen since they were children. He wants to leave behind an unhappy childhood home and agoraphobic, alcoholic mother. Drew is vaguely aware of some tension between Mickey and the neighbors, Harlow and her husband, Red. To him, they are the perfect couple, everything his own family wasn’t. However, the better acquainted he gets with his new neighbors the more he suspects unspeakable darkness beyond the white picket fence. When he discovers the deal Harlow and Mickey have, we all understand that nothing is as it appears.

 There were some holes in the plot – for example, why did the rest of the neighborhood tolerate the rental house Harlow and Red owned? Other examples would be spoilers, except that Drew did seem a bit clueless and Mickey quite unimaginative.


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