The best books about the secrets your neighbors keep

Who am I?

I’m drawn to stories about the human experience in the throes of extreme situations. When I was younger, I lived on a military base. I remember hearing snippets of life through the walls of our duplex, seeing things through open windows in our cul de sac. Of course, it wasn’t all sinister, but I was impacted. Secrets and how people cope with trauma are a common theme throughout my work, and I seek out stories with them as a focus. Books that deep-dive into characters and their lives will always make the top of my list!


I wrote...

Our Tragedy

By Elle Mitchell,

Book cover of Our Tragedy

What is my book about?

A wife accused of murder. A teenager searching for answers. A neighbor who knows everyone’s secrets.

Kore's husband is murdered in broad daylight, steps outside their front door. Her life in shambles, she wants to hide away and grieve. But a shocking photo taken at the crime scene is made public, and she finds herself dodging press and defending her innocence. Hannah, a less-than-popular teen overhears a conversation between classmates minutes before finding out about her favorite teacher’s murder. She worries his killer might be walking the halls. Soon, everyone's a suspect. Their neighbor, Clarence, keeps a journal of the goings-on in his small cul de sac. Secrets are being harbored behind each door. He wonders who was willing to kill to keep theirs buried.

The books I picked & why

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Good Neighbors

By Sarah Langan,

Book cover of Good Neighbors

Why this book?

Sarah Langan tells you the story of a crime on Maple Street in layers, peeling back the lives of the residents there. While it may seem like a regular suburb, nothing is quite as it seems. Secrets are almost the lifeblood of the street. With news snippets, dissertations, and articles, along with the traditional narrative, the novel immerses the reader into the world Sarah Langan created. But the most impressive part is how trapped the temperature, the very environment itself, makes you feel. Unable to escape that, even the fairly benign secrets of Maple Street feel heavy.

Good Neighbors

By Sarah Langan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Good Neighbors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named by Goodreads as One of the Most Anticipated Mysteries and Thrillers of 2021

"A modern-day Crucible....Beneath the surface of a suburban utopia, madness lurks." -Liv Constantine, bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish

"A sinkhole opens on Maple Street, and gossip turns the suburban utopia toxic. A taut teachable moment about neighbors turning on neighbors." -People

"One of the creepiest, most unnerving deconstructions of American suburbia I've ever read. Langan cuts to the heart of upper middle class lives like a skilled surgeon." -NPR

Celeste Ng's enthralling dissection of suburbia meets Shirley Jackson's creeping dread in this propulsive literary…


The Virgin Suicides

By Jeffrey Eugenides,

Book cover of The Virgin Suicides

Why this book?

Intensely voyeuristic, The Virgin Suicides is a novel that locks the reader deep in the minds of neighboring obsessed teenage boys. They unravel the mystery of the Lisbon household with a distance that is both far and near in a way that shows Jeffrey Eugenides’ mastery of the written word. The novel is told by the collective of boys after they’ve become men, all still unable to let go. Their childish male gaze turned adult insight into the secrets that surround both the Lisbon daughters and those close to them are haunting. Also, the prose is stunning.

The Virgin Suicides

By Jeffrey Eugenides,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Virgin Suicides as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introducing the Collins Modern Classics, a series featuring some of the most significant books of recent times, books that shed light on the human experience - classics which will endure for generations to come.

That girl didn't want to die. She just wanted out of that house. She wanted out of that decorating scheme.

The five Lisbon sisters - beautiful, eccentric and, now, gone - had always been a point of obsession for the entire neighbourhood.

Although the boys that once loved them from afar have grown up, they remain determined to understand a tragedy that has defied explanation. The…


Dark Places

By Gillian Flynn,

Book cover of Dark Places

Why this book?

Unexpected darkness is one of my favorite kinds. Stumbling on a neighbor’s horrifying secret, having them tell you about hurting someone in a blasé tone, however it comes out, I can’t get enough. Dark Places’ first sentence (which I won’t spoil) drops you right into a woman named Libby Day’s fractured life. She wants to piece herself back together, but she can only do that by learning the hard truths that come from hushed conversations and behind pulled curtains. Gillian Flynn takes the reader deep into the hearts of a town with many secrets, filled with lies, all while staying deeply rooted in whoever’s voice is on the page.

Dark Places

By Gillian Flynn,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Dark Places as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE BESTSELLING PHENOMENON

'Eerily macabre... Wonderful' Guardian
'A nerve-fraying thriller' New York Times
'Every bit as horribly fascinating as In Cold Blood' Daily Mail

Libby Day was seven when her family was murdered: she survived by hiding in a closet - and famously testified that her older brother Ben was the killer.

Twenty-five years later the Kill Club - a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes - gets in touch with Libby to try to discover proof that may free Ben. Almost broke, Libby agrees to go back to her hometown to investigate - for a fee.

But when Libby's…


The Bad Seed: A Vintage Movie Classic

By William March,

Book cover of The Bad Seed: A Vintage Movie Classic

Why this book?

At its heart, this is a book about secret darkness. The sweet, innocent-appearing girl may be off-putting, but it’s hard to wrap your head around the things she’s willing to do to get what she wants. One man in the book sees her as she really is and thinks they are alike. The dual storyline is tense without being pushy. William Marsh just tells you the narrative and lets the characters tell you how to feel. He doesn’t guide you through emotions, but allows you to feel whatever comes up naturally. It’s a departure from current books and worth a read—before you watch the movie or the remake.

The Bad Seed: A Vintage Movie Classic

By William March,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Bad Seed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling novel that inspired Mervyn LeRoy’s classic horror film about the little girl who can get away with anything—even murder.
 
There’s something special about eight-year-old Rhoda Penmark. With her carefully plaited hair and her sweet cotton dresses, she’s the very picture of old-fashioned innocence. But when their neighborhood suffers a series of terrible accidents, her mother begins to wonder: Why do bad things seem to happen when little Rhoda is around?
 
Originally published in 1954, William March’s final novel was an instant bestseller and National Book Award finalist before it was adapted for the stage and made into a…


The Woman in the Window

By A. J. Finn,

Book cover of The Woman in the Window

Why this book?

This is one of those stories that feels as familiar as it does original. A. J. Finn moves the reader through a tight timeframe, where Anna Fox questions her neighbors, herself, and reality. With each glance out of the window, she has another opportunity to discover something or shatter what she thought to be the truth. Personally, I didn’t try to figure out the ending. I just let Anna tell me her story. I felt it was easy to do, as we are so deep in her mind. If you’re able to do that, you may find yourself questioning things you’ve seen, conversations you’ve had, and those friendly next-door neighbors you assumed were safe to trust.

The Woman in the Window

By A. J. Finn,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Woman in the Window as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NUMBER ONE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

OVER 2 MILLION COPIES SOLD!

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by 20th Century Fox, starring Amy Adams, Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore

'Astounding. Thrilling. Amazing' Gillian Flynn

'One of those rare books that really is unputdownable' Stephen King

'Twisted to the power of max' Val McDermid

'A dark, twisty confection' Ruth Ware

What did she see?

It's been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too…


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