Cover Image: The Neighbor

The Neighbor

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Claire Vogel is a divorced mother of four girls who has a secret. A therapist, she likes to live on the wild side, stepping back just before she might tip over the edge. When she begins a flirtation with sexy, new neighbour Steel Nolan, odd things start happening around the house.

Before long, there is an unexpected murder-suicide in a family in the neighbourhood, and Annalen, her oldest, begins to suffer blackouts. Youngest daughter Paris expresses a vehement dislike towards Steel.

Meanwhile, one of Claire’s patients claims to be living a life that is a mirror image of her own, down to the smallest details. The woman even claims to be seeing a guy called Steel Nolan.

At first, Claire wonders if Steel is two-timing but then she gives in to his seduction and sleeps with him. It is the beginning of the worst nightmare of her life. Creepy things began to happen, with stuffed toys moving around, and her own children behaving as if they are possessed.

Then there is a creepy website that shows you your worst secrets and horrors from your past, things you cannot un-see.

Will Claire succeed in saving herself and her family?

 

The mood is deliciously slow, the details building up to give the book the vibe of a paranormal thriller.

There’s a minor subplot about her ex-husband, Gunnar, who has moved on and is married, and about the children’s interactions with her. This element led me to think that it might be a domestic thriller, but thankfully, it wasn’t so. The focus remains on the house, and what transpires within. Is it haunted? The author does a fantastic job of keeping us looking over our shoulders to see if ordinary objects around us have turned sinister.

 

I wish the author had given Claire two daughters less. Except for Annalen and Paris, the other two don’t get much space in the book, and I don’t see why they had to even be there. I couldn’t even remember their names.

To her credit, the supposed desire to live on the wild side doesn’t really show up much. I couldn’t see what the big deal was about it. For the most part, Claire is a sensible woman, genuinely loving towards her children and determined to keep them safe. I felt sorry for her. All she was trying to do was move on the way Gunnar had. Why does it always backfire on women?

Of course, she does behave in classic horror movie character style when it seems her instincts have gone to sleep and she doesn’t listen to her kids. If this element had not been there, the book would have been tighter and a few pages lighter. The climax requires us to suspend our disbelief and felt forced.

The Korean neighbour and her mother-in-law bring in a touch of Korean folklore which resonates within the novel, reminding us that stories from different cultures are more similar than we realise.

 

Annalen is nearing 15, yet she seems remarkably naïve. She catches her mother getting out of Steel’s truck, smoothing her dress down, and asks her, without a trace of sarcasm, what she was doing in there. How unbelievable is that!

Towards the end, when the horror element takes us out of reality and into the unreal, forcing us to confront the primal issue of Good versus Evil, we really begin to root for Claire as we wonder if there could ever be hope for her.
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I really enjoyed this suspenseful story! It is my first book from this author, and I will be on the lookout for more. The Neighbor hooked me right from the start, and it kept me intrigued and quickly reading through because I had to discover what would happen next! I connected with its characters, and genuinely cared how things would end up for them. What a thriller! I highly recommend for others who enjoy spooky mysteries.
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Thank you to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial as well as London Clarke for the ARC.  I’m deeply grateful.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you one of the greatest horror books I’ve read in a long time.  I couldn’t put this one down.  I wish I could give more than five stars but, alas, I’m stuck.  
Claire Vogel is a divorced mother of four and a clinical social worker.  When a handsome, younger man moves next door to her, she finds herself attracted to him.  She also finds that her harmonious neighborhood and close relationship with her neighbors is starting to fray.  Her daughters begin acting strangely.  Finally, she notices strange things happening around her home and office.  Claire is skeptical at first but she is soon unable to deny that she has a problem.  
From the first page, this story had claws.  I couldn’t stop reading it.  It had everything from ghosts to demons as well as characters I genuinely cared about.  Ghost stories are my absolute favorite, especially ones in which the ending is not some kind of cope out.  Way too often what appears to be a haunting ends up being something else.  Nothing burns me up more in a story.  Ms. Clarke’s writing was compelling and palpable.  She has a gift for character development as well as creating a truly creepy atmospheric ghost story.  I would love to see this turned into a movie.  The story held hints of the Conjuring, which is a movie I love, but honestly, I enjoyed this story more.  
To the author, I read your afterword as well.  My condolences for the loss of your father.  I can tell how much you loved him and how important he was to your family.  Your afterword was moving.  You have thoughts and prayers as well as my gratitude for writing this book.
XOXO
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Not going to lie this book was a lot darker than I expected and a lot creepier than I expected.... but in the best ways possible. I was not expecting the horror aspects but I also thought that it was amazing (which is rare for me because I am usually a bit of a chicken) but this book read like a movie and I thought it was amazing. I thought at first it was going to be sort of a domestic thriller, but when the paranormal and horror aspects came out my mind was blown. I thought Claire and Steel were interesting characters individually but together I was honestly... I don't even know what to say. This book was GOOD. I think London Clarke is a brilliant author who I would be a little scared to see what goes on in her head, even though I am also amazed by it!
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A very well executed gothic story, which could easily be turned into a Netflix production :)
The chilling and gothic atmosphere slowly builds up and will give you goose bumps all over. A pleasurable late-night reading!
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Anything by London Clarke is a must-read for me and this book was no different. Truly an original story that took me on a ride. Surprising twists and an unforgettable ending left me wanting more. Of course when there's a hunky villain, it makes all the more intriguing.
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This was phenomenal. The story is a perfect blend of thriller/mystery and horror. Just my kind of read.
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Satanic cult,rituals,demonic possession,mischievous hot looking neighbor,dark websites and haunted houses.You just name it!
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Characters of Claire and the kids were portrayed remarkably. She is one strong woman(a divorcee, mother of four) and the connection to her past with the present was written in a brilliant manner. There are a handful of characters and every character had it's importance in the storyline. I'm missing them already!!! It would be great if there's a sequel.I mean it could be possible given the circumstances. Ugh.. Talk about book hangovers?!
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The whole Whitney's sequence is mind blowing! Literally my favorite part of the book. Also the plot twist?! I had to close my eyes for a few seconds to process it. It totally caught me off guard. There are so many things I loved about this book but I'm afraid of giving away the spoilers so..
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The first half was a page turner. I couldn't put it down and also it's so damn creepy... The second half until the last 15% was amazing so obviously my expectations for the ending would be over the moon.I thought the author went a little overboard with the ending trying to make the decent twists more twisted but gladly it didn't ruin the ending or the story for me. Though it would've been great if the pace stayed just the same without umm..overdoing it to make it more than perfect.
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All in all I enjoyed reading this so much and I'll definitely look out for this author's work in future.
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Thankyou @netgalley and @londonclarkeauthor for providing me with an ecopy of this book in return for an honest review
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Recommended if you're okay with cult stories or domestic thrillers with a mix of supernatural horror in it.
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Also I had a little bit of conjuring,insidious and Locke and key vibes throughout the book so there's that.
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In The Neighbor we follow a woman named Claire who is recently divorced with children. She lives in prestigious community where everyone knows everyone, until a new neighbour moves in and seems to take an interest in her. Soon after, she starts seeing strange things and her children start sleepwalking. 

So, firstly I thought this book was a thriller. It is most definitely a full on paranormal horror! But it was my kind of horror. It messes with your head with a slow build up and then by 50% it goes full on demons and possession. I really enjoyed it, the creep factor was very well crafted and it was genuinely freaking me out. It reminded me a bit of The Southern Book Club's Guide to Killing Vampires at the start, but I actually thought it was better. 

I did feel like the ending was a bit rushed, especially compared to the slow build up in the rest of the book. All hell breaks loose and it loses a bit of it's realism. I also felt it was a bit too quick of a fix and I would have liked more information on the other spirits, Levi and Steele as this was glossed over near the end. 

But other than that, I loved it!
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This was a really well written book and I can definitely see the potential, however this book just wasn’t for me......
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The Neighbor was a creepy, paranormal thriller that took every day, normal life events and twisted them up into macabre unexpected events that sneak up on you. While I considered the first half of the book a bit slow to ramp up to the twists and turns, I was gripped to keep reading every page by the spot on pacing.. The quiet concern that with every chapter increased for Claire and her children didn't let up for me. Especially as Claire explores what she once thought was unexplorable.

I enjoyed the juxtaposition between Claire being a psychologist and disbelieving the otherworldly things that invaded her sleepy, suburban neighborhood. There are a lot of events that made me think in the first half of the book, but I found myself screaming at Claire a few times to open her eyes. Though it made sense for her to be skeptical of the spooky things happening all around her, sometimes I just wanted to shake her to examine things a little deeper. But, one she breaks out of her logical shell? 

All. Of. The. Things.
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Also huge thank you and shout out to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the ARC of this one to read and review! 

From the start the atmosphere of this book was tense and frightening, set in a secure community it's made even scarier by the thought of something going wrong and spoiling the idyllic lifestyle they've all made for themselves. I love the whole secure/gated community thing, it makes it feel so much creepier when things start to go wrong... 

We're introduced to Claire (who seems like she's one bit of bad news away from becoming completely unhinged) and her family of 4 girls. Throughout the book the 5 of them play key roles in making the story, the children act like proper children of their age too, which gave it a real relatable feel.

And then once we start to meet others in the community and Steel... Well, the characters just absolutely made this book for me. They were so well crafted and linked with each other and the story so well. I felt as if I knew them personally, which made it easier for the rest of the book to influence me. 

As the backstory builds, so do the creepiness levels, shadows and bumps in the night become frequent, and the book started to really unnerve me. I'm not usually easy to scare but this book definitely managed to scare me. 

The author did an excellent job with setting the scene and making us feel as though we were there, we were hearing things go bump in the night, we felt the way Claire did, we too were drawn in by characters in the book that we shouldn't have been...

And the supernatural element was weaved so effortlessly into the story that even someone who doesn't believe in those kinds of things couldn't help but be drawn in and enjoy the rollercoaster that was this story. 

I did worry as we got deeper into the book that there may be too much going on, too many strands and plot lines to bring together, but as we neared the end of the book and it eventually reached it's conclusion everything just seemed to fall perfectly into place. 

The whole story from start to finish, including the smaller plot lines were absolutely made to work together and flowed perfectly. Every single plot used within this book was superb in it's own right. 

I finished this book and felt not only a profound sense of fear, but also a sense of awe. I hadn't read anything so scary for a very long time, I was covered in Goosebumps towards the end and read it with my eyes open so wide I'm surprised they didn't pop out of my sockets! 

On the whole, The Neighbour by London Clarke was a superb read, and I will definitely recommend it anyone who is in need of a good thrill...
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Original Review posted over on Horror Bound: https://www.horrorbound.net/blog/2021/7/9/the-neighbor-examining-female-autonomy-and-toxic-relationships-in-a-domestic-horror-setting

Claire Vogel is a recently divorced mother of four living in the idyllic suburban neighborhood of Amber Falls. She is competent, professional, and utterly dedicated to providing her children with a pleasant and peaceful home environment. That is until a new neighbor moves in next door. Steel Nolan is young and handsome, and though she’s not quite sure she’s ready for a serious relationship, Claire quickly finds herself romantically involved and from here, things begin to take a turn for the worst. Dark figures begin to stalk through Claire’s home. Disembodied voices torment her and her children, and Claire’s eldest daughter, Annalen is not quite herself. In fact, she appears to be someone (or something) else entirely. 

At first, Claire convinces herself that these strange happenings are manifestations of severe stress. But a series of tragic events soon strike Amber Falls, and it seems they can all be linked back to Claire’s new boyfriend whose past, we discover, is tainted by dark satanic rituals, tribal ceremonies, and a spate of women, both missing and murdered. Steel’s presence also begins to unearth memories from Claire’s childhood, memories she thought she’d buried a long, long time ago. As this section of Clarke’s novel unravels, we get some really disturbing scenes that touch upon childhood abuse and trauma. These scenes are not exploitative in any way but are dealt with in a remarkably sympathetic manner which by the end, contributes greatly to the overall growth and development of our main character. 

Clarke’s use of the suburban setting is also used to maximum effect. The bland sameness and depressing materialism of this out-of-town neighborhood is perfectly captured by the dutiful housewives that people its ‘ultra-modern,’ high-ceilinged homes. Gen Painter, for example, pregnant and already scrambling to organize and control her two screaming kids, is continuously at the behest of her beer-guzzling husband, Trey, while Agnes Frankenson, slips into a catatonic state when her house is suddenly vacated of its male occupants. Yet, Clarke cleverly plays with the symbolic dichotomies that are typically attached to this passive, feminine landscape. When she finally figures out what’s going on in Amber Falls, Claire uproots the image of the apathetic and obedient homemaker. She actively pursues Steel, and mobilizes herself to do battle against the evil, inhuman forces she has unconsciously allowed to invade her life, her children, and her family home. 

Clarke’s novel really ramps up in the closing chapters as domestic horror is expertly blended with the page-turning traits of the psychological thriller. An exorcist makes a brief appearance, and we also get a taste of Korean folklore when Claire’s elderly Korean neighbor steps in to give a hand. The folkloric elements of Clarke’s text are only fleetingly touched upon as the dokkaebi, the shapeshifting entities summoned to Amber Falls, are boiled down to hurried descriptions and definitions. We learn only that these sinister creatures are ‘attached to objects’ that have been ‘stained by human blood,’ but further research reveals a far more complex mythology with these creatures oftentimes performing as benevolent, harvest-giving spirits among fishing communities, and many rural and remote Korean villages. In saying this however, Clarke does effectively preserve the mythological link between the dokkaebi and the natural world. The eerie construction site next door provides a doorway to the past, violent storms conjure inexplicable paranormal activity, and Claire’s backyard eventually becomes a battleground for human souls as the story draws to a well-executed and satisfying close.  

In a style similar to Grady Hendrix’s The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires then, The Neighbor is a gripping, suspenseful read that not only delves deep into issues of spiritual faith and trauma, but examines the importance of female autonomy, and the ties that bind us to toxic and damaging relationships. Clarke’s approach to horror is the stuff of nightmares but there is also an unexpected tenderness at play as she brings to light the trials and tribulations of motherhood, and the extraordinary lengths to which a parent will go to protect their children. Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable contribution to the horror genre from a writer who obviously knows how to weave a truly excellent tale. 

A word of thanks to the author, London Clarke, and the team over at NetGalley who kindly provided me with a free Kindle copy of The Neighbor in exchange from an open and honest review.
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I haven’t seen this one across the gram but I have to tell you, I absolutely loved this one! Five stars here! It’s twisty, you don’t know what’s real, who to trust, and where the story is going to go. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up ASAP! Out now!
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This was the first book I read from London Clarke and I couldn't put it down. In fact, it is the reason why I didn't sleep much the last few nights as I was so gripped by this book. 

It has a horror feel but is psychological and I won't go into detail about the book as I don't want to give the plot away but suffice to say you will very much enjoy this book. It is a cracker. I only wish I wasn't finished it. I loved the style of writing and the descriptions - a talented writer and I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to Net Galley, the author and the publisher for allowing me to read The Neighbor, in exchange for an honest review.
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Generally speaking, to ask someone how they sleep at night is considered a bit of an insult. However, London Clarke, how do you sleep? Your imagination must run wild with scenarios like those in the book. This is my first Gothic thriller (?) genre, and I really enjoyed it. Claire, a divorced mum of 4 daughters, meets the hunky guy next door, who appears to be heaven sent. However, as the book moves on, is evidently the exact opposite. I really enjoyed the tension ratcheting up- the imagery such as the increasing rain, the popping of popcorn, spooky toy popping up everywhere, etc made this easy to picture in my mind movie. The deeper themes are there too, no one is who you think they are, everyone has a past, and the unassailable fact that you’d do anything for your kids - even go through hell.
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Thank you to Netgalley and London Clarke for kindly allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

Claire Vogel is a recently divorced mother of four girls and a successful counselor. She knows all her neighbors and they know her. But what they don't know is that Claire often participates in reckless behaviour to cope with hidden deep-rooted pain from her childhood. Mysterious Steel Nolan moves in next door and there's an instant connection between the two. Not long after their relationship develops, both Claire and her daughters are contending with sleep walking, shadow men and disembodies voices. Could Steel be behind the dark and evil things that are happening to Claire and her daughters?

Wow 🤯 I requested this book on a whim and I am soo glad I did! Clarke has a way of telling horror stories and making you feel scared for yourself as well as the characters. So many twists and turns which really kept the suspense and made you want to read on. She really goes in depth to explore the dark and evil places that exist in the supernatural world as well as the evil in humans. A dark romance, mystery, thriller, paranormal activity rolled into one to make for the greatest horror story! I am so intrigued by her other books so I may have to get my hands on those soon 😍
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“I wouldn’t get up if I were you.  Not if you’re planning to beg for the life of your children.  You can do that from there.  Oh, and while you’re at it, you might want to beg for your own life.”

Another new treatment of “The Exorcist” that provokes a striking atmosphere throughout its entirety,  while the latter half involves experiences and emotions.

Claire Vogel, divorcee, and mother of four is contempt with her suburban milquetoast lifestyle.  Her kids stabilize her primary occupancy, and she works part time as a therapist to keep her motivated and moving.  She still craves attention, and we’re immediately introduced to her erotic side that is lukewarm at best, and when a new man (Steel) moves in next door, he quenches the affection that she has been longing for since her divorce.

Without elaborating too much into detail, it’s quickly realized that the mysterious neighbor is not who he says he is, and Steel kinda opens a portal to hell…

There’s too many clichés and recurring themes that occur throughout this novel of possession and faith, but as I wrote earlier, Clarke sets the right tone and mood.  There’s never a dull moment and the characters are engaging enough.  

Thank you to NetGalley and for providing me with an ARC for my honest feedback.
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4.5 Stars!

This novel is a bit out of my genre, given I haven’t read much horror, but wowza! I was sucked right in! 

Claire is a therapist, mother of 4, and newly divorced by day, but by night, she’s a confident, brazen woman who likes to draw men in, just to push them away….until she meets the new, sexy neighbor…..who is definitely not who he says he is. 

This book gave me goosebumps and creeped me out to the point where I wanted to stop reading it in the dark….but, it was too delicious, I couldn’t help myself! 

A special thank you to NetGalley, BooksGoSocial, and London Clarke for providing me with an ARC.
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Woah! This was a thrill ride and it did not disappoint. Lonely single mother, of four girls, Claire doesn’t have much going on in her life but the mundane routines and being a therapist. Her husband left her and has remarried. New neighbor Steele is just her answer to not being lonely anymore.. he’s handsome and single and a bit mysterious. After a while, she starts to hear voices and seeing shadows. Claire is not superstitious or believes in God, so she’s not sure how to confront what’s happening. She feels as if she’s slowly loosing her mind. 

This book was a slow build of creepiness to super startling at moments. Facing Demons, inner and outer, can bring out the worst in us!

Will definitely read more from this author
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Im really glad I read this great book as I'm not really into ghost stories,  but this has changed my mind on them. I could not put it down and was reading late/early into the morning. I finished it in 2 days. Thank you
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