Book Review: The Woman Next Door by Cass Green

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Title - The Woman Next Door
Author - Cass Green
Publication Date - July 22nd 2016
Publisher - Killer Reads
Format - Kindle Edition
Pages - 305

Two suburban women. Two dark secrets. The almost perfect murder.

Everybody needs good neighbours...

Melissa and Hester have lived next door to each other for years. When Melissa's daughter was younger, Hester was almost like a grandmother to her. But recently they haven't been so close.

Hester has plans to change all that. It's obvious to her that despite Melissa's outwardly glamorous and successful life, she needs Hester's help.

But taking help from Hester might not be such a good idea for a woman with as many secrets as Melissa...

Wow. What a fantastically tense and tremendously gripping read from author Cass Green this turned out to be! I loved it from beginning to end, and if having a reader up all night until the early hours of the morning due to being unable to put this story down was Green's aim, then I'm more than happy to say MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

In Cass Green's The Woman Next Door, readers are introduced to Melissa and Hester, neighbours and old friends who were once a lot closer than they are today, thanks to Hester's babysitting duties when Melissa's daughter was a lot younger. Nowadays, Hester is lucky to get a 'hello' from Melissa, and Melissa wishes Hester would give it up already, trying to worm her way back into her life with cakes and dishes being delivered on the doorstep. Can't the older woman take a hint? But, when things go drastically wrong for Melissa, and Hester turns up offering to help, it's impossible for Melissa to turn down the offer. After all, what the hell does she know about this sort of thing? As it turns out, Hester is exactly what Melissa needs in the dark and dangerous circumstances that arise, and before she knows what's happening, things begin to spiral dangerously out of control.

Addictive is one word that I'd use to describe this novel. Unputdownable. Thrilling. Shocking. Unbelievable. I could go on. Cass Green is incredibly talented, that much is true. The suspense and tension in this novel was almost too much to bear, and when Melissa's life suddenly took an unseen and ghastly turn, I didn't know what to do or where to look. I really hadn't seen it coming, which only made it all the more thrilling for me as the reader. In terms of plot, this was twistier than I could have imagined, sharper and punchier than I'd anticipated, and I absolutely flew through the pages, desperate to see where Green would take her characters and how they'd navigate the treacherous path they'd started upon. Fast-paced and disturbing, it was a real shocker of a novel that held me tight within its grasp, refusing to let go until I reached the end.

Green's characters in The Woman Next Door were superbly crafted. Melissa and Hester, although they appeared different on the surface, each had their own secrets to keep hidden, so I suppose, in a way, they were more similar than they realised. I loved the switching of narrative within this novel, allowing me a detailed insight into each of the women's separate lives and histories. I was fascinated by both, perhaps more so by Hester, and loved the teasing hints towards their pasts that had me wondering what exactly had gone on back then and made them into the women they were today. The contrast in their lifestyles was impossible to miss. While Melissa was rather glamorous and lived a lavish life, Hester wasn't. Hester's interest in Melissa and her daughter was something that unnerved me. She was a very watchful woman and knew, in detail, the whereabouts of Melissa from day to day. There was definitely something odd about her, although I couldn't put my finger on what. From the way Hester spoke to things she'd do or comment upon, it was clear she didn't miss a thing. What I also found was that she was also a very clever woman. Her mind worked in a strange way and I suppose that's why I was so curious about her. Melissa, on the other hand, seemed much more the sort of woman for keeping up appearances. Although she lived in a very nice house with a very nice garden, there were demons from her past that she just couldn't seem to get away from, no matter how far she ran. Both women kept me intrigued right the way through, as I waited eagerly for more of their truths and secrets to push through the surface and make themselves known. It made for a very exciting, rather gruesome, read, and I was kept guessing again and again, which I loved.

This was such an almighty thrilling read that kept me on my toes and wondering in which direction the author would take me next. Every time I thought I knew where the characters were going, I was proved wrong. There were plenty of moments where I found myself wondering 'how far are these women going to take this?', only for Cass Green to show me that it was a lot further than I'd first imagined. It was tense, shocking and oh-so-dangerous, with the threat of being found out constantly lurking at the side-lines. I raced through the book, horrified at the turn of events within but eager to see how it would all play out before the final page.

If you love a thriller that delves into the unexpected, then The Woman Next Door by Cass Green is definitely a novel for you. I cannot wait for news of Green's next book. If it's anything like this, then I know that I'll be in for a treat, albeit a gruesomely thrilling one. Becca's Books is awarding The Woman Next Door by Cass Green with five of my bookish cupcakes.

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