The Neighbors by Zach Bohannon is a short novel, Amazon notes it is a one-hour eight-minute read. It is fast paced and leads the reader’s mind in a couple of directions, the principal one is into the occult. It is not so much that Spence believes in the occult, but his wife Julie does. They, along with infant daughter Erika and dog Spektor, live on a dead-end street which has eight houses.
Kyle Stewart and his father Eli lived in one of the houses. It was distinguished in Spence’s mind by the read rusted-out pickup truck parked in front of the house. When Kyle committed suicide it was a shock to the closed neighborhood, but people did not really know the Stewarts. Spence, however, was starting to consider the occult when he would occasionally see Kyle reappear in front of the truck. Kyle seemed to be trying to give him a warning.
Mr. and Mrs. Cobb were the next to die. Mrs. Cobb drowned herself in a bathtub. While there was a general sadness on the street, most neighbors had never met the cobbs. They were either an eighty or a ninety-year-old couple and the feelings were that maybe it was her time. Two suicides close together in time and on the same street was drawing media attention.
Marie lived next door to Spence with her two daughters, Jessie and Janie. One day there was a fight. The two daughters left. Later that day Marie committed suicide by hanging herself. There was a media frenzy. The observant reader might notice that the suicides started at two houses away from Spence, then the Cobbs, one house away, then Marie, the immediate next door neighbor. It seems it’s the turn of Spence and Julie.
Julies is getting mysterious headaches. Medicine doesn’t work; she just wants to put her head in the bathtub to get some relief. Spence is noting occasional steep drops in temperature in the garage. Tools seem to fall from the wall to strange, illogical places on the floor. When Spence replaces them, they later reappear to locations discovered before by Spence. Kyle occasionally appears to Spence warning him that Death is coming.
All this occult activity culminates in a very violent ending. It is a surprise ending; I would not have guessed it. This short read is worth the effort to the conclusion. And, for me, the conclusion leaves me with questions. This is another author worth following.