Rating: 3.5 Stars
The Family Next Door by Fiona Cummins is an above average thriller which takes some time to establish itself, but redeems itself as it proceeds. It tells the story of a dilapidated, quiet neighborhood shaken by a string of killings that have been baffling the police. The serial killer behind these murders has been named The Doll Maker by the press, and no one seems to have any clue about the killer or his motives.
The first 20% of the book was almost painful to read, and it looked like the book will be impossible to finish. Things got interesting, however, when the identity of the latest victim was revealed and the story started to move forward at a better pace.
A new family moves to 25 The Avenue on the same day that another body is discovered in the woods nearby. The Lockwoods are caught up in their own family drama and don’t have the luxury of passing up the opportunity to move to The Avenue, even with it’s poor upkeep and the horror surrounding it. They are ready to start afresh and are willing to overlook the matter of the serial killings going on in the neighbourhood. However, they will soon realize that not all is as it seems on this street, and everyone has a secret that they are willing to protect at all cost.
Wildeve Stanton is a Detective Sergeant with the Essex Police, and a part of the team trying to solve the murders. Then, one morning the whole case takes a turn that makes it very personal for Wildeve. Now, she will stop at nothing to find out who The Doll Maker is, and what is the motivation behind all these senseless and gory murders.
Suddenly, everyone is in everyone else’s way, and things start getting out of hand. Now, it is just a matter of time before the killer strikes again, and it looks like the police will be too late to do anything about it, as usual.
I managed to figure it all out at the 77% mark, and had to see how it all pans out, but I think avid thriller fans will be able to figure this one out earlier than I did. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t read the book. It is enjoyable, if a bit explicit and gory, and quite interesting once you get past the 20% mark.