The Downstairs Neighbor

Putnam. Feb. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780593190388. pap. $17. SUSPENSE
DEBUT In a London apartment building, all the residents harbor secrets. Paul, a retired policeman, and Steph Harlow live with their 17-year-old daughter, Freya, on the third floor. Their downstairs neighbor Emma has kept the secret of her son Zeb’s father, Robin Lyle, from him. Chris Watson, a driving instructor, and his wife, Vicky, live in the basement flat, and Chris struggles to protect Vicky from the consequences of her secret. When Freya disappears, all the secrets, as well as others arising from interconnected events 25 years earlier, come to light. Chris was the last person to see Freya, but Paul is certain that something in his past is the reason for his daughter’s disappearance despite finding photos of Zeb and Freya taken at the park.
VERDICT Fans of British mysteries will love this debut. The setup of the characters is leisurely, but once the story gets rolling, it is difficult to put down. This is one that readers may not figure out fully, if at all, in advance of the denouement, but the author ties all the secrets together in a most satisfying reveal.
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