Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Killer Next Door - Alex Marwood - Guest Book Review

Published by Sphere

Guest book review by Janice Lazell-Wood


No. 23 has a secret. In this bedsit-riddled south London wreck, lorded over by a lecherous landlord, something waits to be discovered. Yet all six residents have something to hide.
In the dead of night, a terrible accident pushes the neighbours into an uneasy alliance. But one of them is a killer, expertly hiding their pastime, all the while closing in on their next victim...


No.23 Beulah Grove is a rotten old house divided into bedsits, and it’s owned by the most revolting of landlords, Roy Preece, a vile and obese creature with no morals or hygiene.  He’s desperate for the sitting tenant of the house to die, so he can sell up, move away and live comfortably on the rent proceeds, but she’s not dying nearly quickly enough, so he hatches a plan to help her on her way, a plan that goes horribly wrong.  A plan that leaves the residents unable to go to the police, for fear of their own secrets being discovered, for they have many secrets amongst them…

Cher is an underage care home runaway, living a dangerous day to day existence, Thomas is lonely, boring and just wants some friends, Hossein is an Iranian asylum seeker, Collette is on the run from some very nasty men after doing a bunk with lots of their money, there’s a mysterious man who keeps himself hidden away, playing his music at all hours and interacting with no-one, and finally, there’s sitting tenant Vesta, the matriarch of the group, a woman approaching 70, who’s lived in the house all her life, with nothing to show for it but dusty ornaments and a tea set that once belonged to her parents.

One of these residents is a murderer and we are given full access to their modus operandi in all its graphic and gory detail.  If you can stomach the novels of Mo Hayder and Val McDermid, you’ll be ok reading this, if not, then be warned, it’s not for the fainthearted.  There are shades of how real life killer Dennis Nilsen disposed of his victims here, as well as great detail on how the Egyptians took care of their dead…  The fact that the novel is set during a heatwave, just cranks up the rancid atmosphere of the house!

For me, this was a page turning psychological thriller, one that was devoured in a day.  I have just one gripe, the ending.  It left a question unanswered, however, don’t let this put you off.  Read, enjoy, and treat yourself to a restorative G&T afterwards, you might just need it!

Thanks to Lindsay for the chance to read and review this novel.  I look forward to reading more by the author, Alex Marwood.

Many thanks to Janice for reading and reviewing this novel for The Little Reader Library!


  1. The plot and characters of this one sound gripping.

    Though the plot convention of a host of people who all may or may not be the murderer is an old one, it seems like this book infuses the idea with some unconventional characters.

    I tend to like it when an anther leaves unanswered questions at the end of a book, but I am not so sure that I would like it in this kind of book.

  2. Loving the sound of these characters, Roy Preece sounds like the type we all love to hate.

  3. I am really looking forward to this one! I've heard such great things about Alex Marwood's work but haven't read her yet myself. This one is due out in the States next month and is tops on my must have list!

  4. Hi Lindsay and Janice,

    This one is going onto my 'Want To Read' list as we speak!

    A new to me author, Alex sounds to have captured a psychological thriller, taken it by the throat and shaken it into a whole new level of intrigue, revulsion and fear.

    Janice, your excellent review really helped to swing it for me, I can almost smell that rotten decaying house and its equally rancid landlord.

    Thanks for hosting Lindsay.



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