Cover Image: When No One Is Watching

When No One Is Watching

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Member Reviews

This a powerhouse of a novel. The elements of reality (gentrification, manipulation of the marginalized, etc.) are masterfully woven throughout this hold-your-breath thriller. I grew up in the rural South; poor as a could be. This book brought back memories of "outsiders" moving in, building huge houses, and turning our small town into something unrecognizable. They looked at us poor folks like we were something to be studied--unhuman--or examined under a microscope. How Ms. Cole turned those feelings into a story is amazing. She truly captured the essence of what it is like to be considered "the other." I have never read a book by Ms. Cole before, but she been placed on my list of "to read" fiction authors.
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I really enjoyed this! I read the first two chapters before bed, and then polished off the rest in a non-stop session the next morning/afternoon. It does go a bit off the rails at the end, but otherwise a very enjoyable read.
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When No One is Watching is an un-put-downable psychological thriller that had the hairs of my neck standing up the whole time. Sydney is a lifelong resident of a Black neighborhood in Brooklyn that is slowly being gentrified -- until things speed up and neighbors are leaving town without a warning or goodbye and somehow the same development company and real estate business seem to be behind these sudden departures. Told between two perspectives, Sydney and Theo, a new white man in the neighborhood who is equally unsettled by goings on, this novel will have non-BIPOC readers examining your own involvement in systemic racism while maybe looking a bit closer at weird happenings in your neighborhood.
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Not only can Alyssa Cole write a mean romance, she can write a kickass thriller too. The horrors of gentrification are made manifest in this book about a Brooklynite growing increasingly suspicious as her longtime neighbors disappear, only to be replaced by white people. Only one of her new neighbors seems to notice or case, but can she really trust him to have her back in a neighborhood that is barely his when the Us vs. Them mentality has become so strong? 

I couldn't put this book down. The story is deeply disturbing and thought provoking, mostly because the premise doesn't seem nearly as far fetched as one would hope, given the horrors its describing. Highly, highly recommend.
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This read blew my mind away a little bit. I tried really hard to read outside my genres and explore thrillers. I didn't have much luck until I read this one. I mean, I knew I would probably enjoy it because I love Alyssa Cole but this book just SCREAM FOREVER. The tension, the characters, the mood, the way it explores racism, abuse, and gentrification while having a little bit of romance and being about community. It's such a layered and thought-provoking read. Scary because in many ways, this violence is real and happening right now. Cole doesn't let you out of the hook for one second and  I couldn't put it down
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This thriller does NOT stop until you have stayed up way too late to finish this book!  If you love thrillers and reading past your bedtime, pick up this book!
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“People bury the parts of history they don't like, pave it over like African cemeteries beneath Manhattan skyscrapers.”

I wanted to like this more than I did, because the gentrification thriller is a great concept, and I could round up for audacity alone. But the villains are a little too one-dimensional, and mustache-twirling, and I don't think it really stuck the landing at the end. My favorite part of the book by far, were the fake "NextDoor" posts at the end of every chapter which showed the truly terrifying gentrification interactions during which the villains were hiding behind the "nice" veneers, the way white hegemony does in real life.
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I really wanted to love this book. It started off very slow, so slow that I almost gave up on it. About midway through the book it started to pick up tempo and draw you into the story of Sydney and Theo.  Alyssa Cole pulls you through the terror and dismay of gentrification in a historically black neighborhood in Brooklyn. Sydney is desperatly trying to keep her mothers home safe and from being taken from her. Theo is a new neighbor who is intrigued and mystified by the history of the block and Sydney. Together they uncover mysteries, wrongdoings and evil. 
Like mentioned above the book picked up tempo and my interest about midway through. I feel like the ending was rushed. Everything seemed to happen all at once, very quickly and then it was just done and the book was over. I would have like a little more substance leading up to the final "scene" and a gradual flow after. 
Overall, I enjoyed this book and would most likely recommend it to others.
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This book was a kind of a slow burn because there was a lot of background needed to lay the plot ground work.  Once you hit the last 1/3; hold on to your hat!  It is a wild finish.  The finish may be a bit unbelievable to some, but it held my attention and made me not want to put it down.  This book was a combination of current social issues and fiction.  It was a good blend even if some would classify it as fantastical.  

Sydney is struggling to hold on to her family home after an unfortunate series of events threatens to take it away. This book takes you on a journey of the challenges of people of color and gentrification.  Sydney finds an ally in Theo, but then loses trust in him when she finds information that could put her entire neighborhood in danger.  Lots of twists and turns and an unexpected ending to this story!
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As her first undertaking in the thriller genre, Alyssa Cole crafted an extremely intriguing tale, with a taste of the romance that her fans love. The comparisons to the film, Get Out, definitely make sense, but it doesn't take away from the originality of this story.
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I have tried multiple times to read this book - yet sadly it seems its not for me.   I thank you for the opportunity to read and review it.
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I love Alyssa Cole's romances. The bulk of this book worked for me. I liked the sinister gentrification angle. But the ending was really wild and took things up to a level I wasn't prepared for.
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This is an uncomfortable book.  It is much more than your garden variety thriller.  While it seems that the premise is typical for any thriller: people are disappearing!  there is an old mental institution around the corner!  someone is watching!  This has a racial, white vs. black, gentrification angle added in, and it isn't kind, comforting or easy to read.  This is fiction, but there is an element in here that seems like it "could" be truthful, like eugenics or the Tuskegee study.  It was GOOD, but get ready to have your conscience twinged.
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This book seemed like a different concept but the execution of it lost me. I didn't care about Sydney or Theo and the issues brought up in the book felt forced. As if the author set out to push an agenda on the reader rather than tell a story. I also thought the dystopian ending was over the top and unbelievable.
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This wasn't your everyday thriller. It was a slow burn for the first 1/2, then the second half picked up the pace and I couldn't put it down. It was like "Get Out" but about gentrification. Would make a great movie!
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While this book is most certainly filled with tension, the plot seems a little exaggerated.  The point is appreciated, but the events are a little unbelievable.
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This is my first Alyssa Cole novel, even though she has published multiple novels. This story reminded me a little bit of the movie Disturbia with a twist. Set in a small Brooklyn neighborhood that is primarily black. Our protagonist is Sydney, a young black woman who has returned to her childhood neighborhood in her 30’s after a failed marriage. Sydney is proud of who she is and her heritage and she wants to protect the history and culture of her neighborhood. A task that is becoming more and more difficult as locals sell their houses to wealthy white elites, and beloved neighborhood business’s are replaced by starchy, white wash mega corporations. Sydney herself is burdened with mounting costs and pressure to sell her mother’s property. She finds an unlikely ally in Theo, a recent transplant to the neighborhood, who has taken an interest in Sydney and her causes. Sydney, already suspicious by nature, starts to suspect that there may be some shady things happening accelerating the gentrification already occurring in her neighborhood. Behind it all, a massive pharmaceutical company planning on opening a massive industrial building just down the street from Sydney’s house. What is essentially so disturbing about this story is that it’s close enough to real events and trends that it doesn’t feel Ike fiction, it feels like it could happen to anyone we know. Alyssa Cole does a wonderful job of conveying the black experience that for those of us that aren’t marginalized makes sense. A genuinely horrifying take on trends that already exist in our society. Thank you to Netgalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I love Alyssa Cole's romances, so I was thrilled to read her first thriller. We know gentrification is often a negative force on a neighborhood, but in Cole's tale it is downright terrifying. I enjoyed meeting Sydney and everyone in the neighborhood. I also enjoyed the slow build of drama. However, the sudden, wild ending came out of nowhere for me. I will still recommend this book for the sense of place and excellent character development.
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I liked this book a lot! It was really interesting to learn about gentrification and how it affects Black communities. I thought the ending of the book was a little...unexpected but I still enjoyed the book and would recommend it to a friend.
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Gentrification is the process where a historically disinvested neighborhood has an economic revitalization and/or transformation. This sounds like a wonderful plan to make the old new; but, what happens to the people in these neighborhoods when they are out priced from their local stores or the housing market.

Sydney Green is watching the gentrification of her neighborhood. Everything  around her is changing and the people are just disappearing.  As the faces of the neigborhood change Sydney starts to have weird feelings that something isn't right.  Then she starts hearing noises in her house but there is no one there. What is the scratching in the wall? Is she losing her mind?

Sydney finds an unlikely ally in her new neighbor Theo. Though he just moved to the neighborhood he is different. Together they set about researching the history of the area and begin to see some patterns. Can they trust each other enough to figure out what is really going on in their neighborhood?

Thank you NetGalley and William Morrow for the opportunity to read and write an honest review of this book.
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