Book Review / Lisa Gardner / Reviews with Spoilers

Lisa Gardner | The Neighbor (Detective D.D. Warren #3)

The Book: 

The Neighbor (Detective D.D. Warren #3) by Lisa Gardner
Published: June 4, 2009 by Bantam Books

Torrie’s Rating:


The Plot (Goodreads):

From a master of suspense comes a chilling new novel that explores the dangers lurking closer than you think. Because even in the perfect family, you never know what is going on behind closed doors…

This is what happened…
It was a case guaranteed to spark a media feeding frenzy—a young mother, blond and pretty, disappears without a trace from her South Boston home, leaving behind her four-year-old daughter as the only witness and her handsome, secretive husband as the prime suspect.

In the last six hours…
But from the moment Detective Sergeant D. D. Warren arrives at the Joneses’ snug little bungalow, she senses something off about the picture of wholesome normality the couple worked so hard to create. On the surface, Jason and Sandra Jones are like any other hardworking young couple raising a four-year-old child. But it is just under the surface that things grew murky.

Of the world as I knew it…
With the clock ticking on the life of a missing woman and the media firestorm building, Jason Jones seems more intent on destroying evidence and isolating his daughter than on searching for his “beloved” wife. Is the perfect husband trying to hide his guilt—or just trying to hide? And will the only witness to the crime be the killer’s next victim? 

Click here for book spoilers for The Neighbor
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Neighbor, I suggest you turn back now.

Sandra and Jason’s marriage is not a romantic one, it is an agreement of sorts. They met when Sandra found out she was pregnant and needed to get out of town where she was being raped by her own father. Sandra and Jason both needed a fresh start, so they chose to do so together. They are never intimate for the first 4+ years of their marriage, they are intimate once, a few weeks/months prior to the main events of the book.

Jason has secrets, he was held captive as a child and pornographic photos were taken of him. He now spends his nights online tracking down photos of himself (and others), removing them from the internet, and hacking the financials of the people who are buying and selling said photos.

Sandra left willingly. She stayed in view of the house until Jason pulled in the driveway to ensure their daughter was never alone. She left because an emotional affair she was having with Wayne (the Uncle of her student Ethan) got out of control. While Sandra had cheated on Jason previously, it was only ever physical, and Jason pretty much knew and let her, things were much more serious and emotional with Wayne. When Sandra realized she didn’t want to leave her husband, and when her and Jason finally became intimate, she tried to break it off with Wayne, who got jealous.

Sandra’s father shows up and tries to get custody of her daughter, but instead, Sandra frames him for the murder of Wayne when she plants a bomb in Wayne’s car.

Sandra returns home willingly and shares with Jason that she is pregnant with his child.

I’ve read that Jason is a character that appears in Say Goodbye (Raine & Quincy Series) by Lisa Gardner which is about his childhood kidnapping and rescue.

Torrie’s Review:

Another Lisa Gardner book that mixes old secrets with new mysteries. Lisa Gardner is a fantastic writer, her books always set a good pace, though sometimes I have to stop myself from skimming as I just want to get on with solving the mysteries. I definitely didn’t solve this one, some new characters joined the story mid-way and they threw me off (in a great way).

I loved that this book took its time unraveling the lives of both the husband and wife separately, it gave us a story within the story. Instead of giving us many disappointing red herrings, it gave us purposeful red herrings, where they had a role in the story beyond just throwing the reader off.

For those looking for meaning in the book beyond being a crime thriller, this book explores the meaning of family and marriage, and if a non-traditional marriage is still just as important as a traditional one.

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