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Cover art for A Crime in the Neighborhood: A Novel

A Crime in the Neighborhood: A Novel

Written by Suzanne Berne

Suzanne Berne is a new author for me and WOW can she write. It's 1972 and 12 year-old Boyd Ellison goes missing. He is found molested and murdered behind the local mall.

Marsha Eberhardt is 10 years old and her father has left her mother, running away with her mother's sister. Her sibling twins have each other for consolation, but Marsha has no-one.

Mr. Green moves in next door, a single man who is isolated in the neighborhood.

It's the beginning of the 1970s and America is transitioning from a (seemingly) safe society to one of fear and distrust. Nixon is in the White House and Watergate is on the news. There is a terrible feeling of loss of control in the very air.

How these events affect Marsha and how she reacts is the essence and story of this short concise novel. There is no-one to turn to and no-one to trust and she tries to make sense of her confusion by keeping track of every detail in her journal. If she can just hold all the threads together her world won't blow apart, or so she thinks.

But keeping track can lead to wrong conclusions and destroy the lives around her.

The writing is brilliant and the details build word by word. Berne is able to create a sense of menace in a landscape of carefully controlled neighborhoods.

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