Title: Those People
Author: Louise Candlish
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
MEET THE NEIGHBOURS YOU’LL LOVE TO HATE
Until Darren and Jodie move in, Lowland Way is a suburban paradise. Beautiful homes. Friendly neighbours. Kids playing out in the street. But Darren and Jodie don’t follow the rules and soon disputes over loud music and parking rights escalate to threats of violence.
Then, early one Sunday, a horrific crime shocks the street. As the police go house-to-house, the residents close ranks and everyone’s story is the same: They did it.
But there’s a problem. The police don’t agree. And the door they’re knocking on next is yours.
Those People felt for me quite a departure from Louise Candlish’s previous novel, Our House (which I absolutely loved – read my review here), but was similarly entertaining, well-written and absorbing. It’s perhaps less of a ‘thriller’ as such, but it still has a real air of mystery around it, which made me want to keep turning the pages and kept me up far too late before work!
We know from the beginning that something bad – a crime of some sort – has happened in an affluent suburban street in South London, and we see various interviews with residents after the fact talking about the gripes and horrors which surrounds the new neighbours, who have loved in to disrupt the peace, tranquility and family-friendly atmosphere of the street’s community.
What we don’t know, of course, is who is involved in this crime. And from then on, the story unfolds…
I loved the multiple narratives and character’s stories in this novel. You’re never quite sure which character may be hiding something, and who knows more than they’ve left on. There’s also a real sense of foreboding as you wonder who will be in danger – the new neighbours or one of the other residents?
This is definitely a slower-paced story than Our House, but Those People has its own twists and turns, albeit slightly less dramatic ones. It feels almost more suffocating, though, because it’s so damn relatable! Even if you’ve never experienced the frustration of a terrible neighbour, you can imagine what it would be like, and how you would feel trapped as you realise that house prices are plummeting, and you’re stuck with these people unless they decide to move out.
At the same time, Louise Candlish has cleverly created an array of complex characters who make you question your own judgements, because I felt for the existing families of Lowland Way… but another part of me thought they were really snobby and privileged. As horrifying as it must feel to suddenly have your world invaded by people you feel are ‘less than you’ and who have no care for your perfectly curated life, some of their judgements feel based on class, not on the people that these new neighbours are (and I’m not denying they seem awful people to live near!). This book really made me think about pre-judgements.
Therefore, as a reader I’m sure this book will provoke varying feelings, depending on how you yourself would react. For me it’s a truly entertaining read and I think I almost enjoyed the character development and details of what is seemingly just ‘everyday life’ *more* than the mystery at hand – which, as a real crime fiction fan, I wouldn’t say often!
Many thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.