Another new author for me which now means another new set of books to get stuck into!
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
Sometimes, the most perfect families are hiding the most terrible secrets. How well do you know the people next door…?
Everybody wants to live on Hogarth Street, the pretty, tree-lined avenue with its white houses. The new family, The Wests, are a perfect fit. Katherine and Josh seem so in love and their gorgeous five-year-old twins race screeching around their beautiful emerald-green lawn.
But soon people start to notice: why don’t they join backyard barbecues? Why do they brush away offers to babysit? Why, when you knock at the door, do they shut you out, rather than inviting you in?
Every family has secrets, and on the hottest day of the year, the truth is about to come out. As a tragedy unfolds behind closed doors, the dawn chorus is split by the wail of sirens. And one by one the families who tried so hard to welcome the Wests begin to realise: Hogarth Street will never be the same again.
If I were to sum up this book in two words, they would be tense and claustrophobic. From the opening pages the author whips up the reader’s anxiety levels; a young mum opens the door with her baby, her neighbour tells her to get inside, “he’s got a gun”. The intense heat in a quiet Australian suburb, in a street where nothing happens, is about to change the lives of more than one family forever.
The author then takes us back seven hours in the lead up to the finale; told from the perspective of four different people, this is an exploration of toxic family relationships; assumptions and stereotypes and how the past impacts on who we become.
Told over a short period, a real ticking bomb has been created and as each person’s story unfolds, the story grows darker and life inside the West’s house becomes increasingly fragile. I felt a real burn of terror, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up more than once and without giving away any spoilers the author managed to pull the rug from under my feet and then some.
Disturbing but authentic, sad but a sense of hope and most definitely one you are not going to be able to put down once you start!
The Family Across the Street is available to purchase from: