Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Book Review: The People Next Door

There's nothing I like more than a bargain. When I go into Tesco, or other retailer, my head is switched on to seek out the best option. You might even find me puzzling over the various options for a moment or two until I decide on the best value. So a wee while back when I was purchasing my copy of One Day by David Nicholls, the only place I could find it was Tesco. They had a buy two for £x which seemed to be the option to go for. But which book should be my second? I hunted around the shelves, and finally settled on this one. And what a weird one it turned out to be.

The People Next Door by Christopher Ransom is truly weird. I found it a difficult book to get into, because of the weirdness of the early chapters - the strange happenings and the characters involved in the story. There were several times I thought that I wouldn't bother, just close the cover and move onto something else, but I persevered. Possibly because I'd paid good money for it, possibly because I wanted to see if the hype on the blurb matched the reality: 'You will never guess their secret. You will never forget the twist.'

Ransom's style probably matches the suspense-horror genre very well. He seems to revel in the bloody scenes and gore which are a big part of the book. The chilling descriptions of the creepy family next door do, to some extent, draw you in, as you continue to wonder what they're playing at and how they're doing the things that are described. The back story, though, I found ever so slightly confusing, never quite fully understanding what was going on, even at the 'reveal'. The hype was perhaps too much.

The thing Ransom did best, in my opinion, were the references to contemporary pop culture, often in clever ways. The characters used a variety of text messaging and other social media; there were passing mentions of music, politics and various other subjects, and this may have been the main reason I carried on to the end - that, and trying to get my money's worth.

Perhaps I'm not the typical suspense-horror-thriller reader, perhaps I just don't get the genre, perhaps I'm being unfair through high expectations or my own idiocy. However I'm not sure that I would recommend this book, unless you're already a fan of Ransom's other books or the genre in general. I don't think I'll try another one in this style for a long time either.


  1. I too bought this book, being drawn in by the brief description of the story and the whole 'You will neverguess their secret. You will never forget the twist.' It wasn't till I got home I realised I had read one of Christopher Ransom's books before The Birthing House and I found that book hard to get into but I still persevered thru it and it got worse. Similar to The People Next Door I found the plot intrigue-ing bit the story boring and the character's dull. Tbh I gave up on this book halfway thru. It may be for some readers but not for me.

  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one that struggled with the book! Thanks for your comment.

  3. I found it confusing in the beginning but at the end I understood how things happened.
    Mick and his family also have the 'gift'. They eat other humans. The humans they eat then die and come back to life as a human eating zombie. This started on the small island. When Mick checks on Bob next door he sees all the dead people in the pool. Those come back to life and turn to cannibals. Each member of the Render family is onto a member of the Nashes.
    The boy/wolfgang-Briela
    Render and Cassandra aren't the real parents of Keelie and, probably, wolfgang. At the beginning we hear about a girl getting in the Renders car and them stopping, turning... and then probably eating her. She tries to warn Kyle.

    The Man who saves Mick is Render. Roger and Bonnie dissapear because they came back to life. Briela throws tantrum because the boy and she seems to have a gift of sensing them coming.

    The twist= that Mick and his family are also cannibles and that his family were the ones that ate the two boys who were drinking in the mountains.

    The part with the boy and Amys friend is just an add on.

    This book really scared it out of me cause I read it at night.
    Hope it helped...

    1. I was completely clueless at first.Thank you. I was going to comment but I found yours good. I appreciate it!