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New York, années 1960. Kat Marino, qui rentre tard chez elle, est agressée au couteau par un inconnu. De nombreux voisins sont témoins de la scène, mais personne n'avertira la police, persuadé que quelqu'un d'autre l'aura déjà fait. C'est le "bystander effect". En donnant la parole à tous les protagonistes, ce roman noir polyphonique, dont l'action se concentre sur quelque New York, années 1960. Kat Marino, qui rentre tard chez elle, est agressée au couteau par un inconnu. De nombreux voisins sont témoins de la scène, mais personne n'avertira la police, persuadé que quelqu'un d'autre l'aura déjà fait. C'est le "bystander effect". En donnant la parole à tous les protagonistes, ce roman noir polyphonique, dont l'action se concentre sur quelques heures, esquisse une tentative de généalogie de la violence contemporaine.


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New York, années 1960. Kat Marino, qui rentre tard chez elle, est agressée au couteau par un inconnu. De nombreux voisins sont témoins de la scène, mais personne n'avertira la police, persuadé que quelqu'un d'autre l'aura déjà fait. C'est le "bystander effect". En donnant la parole à tous les protagonistes, ce roman noir polyphonique, dont l'action se concentre sur quelque New York, années 1960. Kat Marino, qui rentre tard chez elle, est agressée au couteau par un inconnu. De nombreux voisins sont témoins de la scène, mais personne n'avertira la police, persuadé que quelqu'un d'autre l'aura déjà fait. C'est le "bystander effect". En donnant la parole à tous les protagonistes, ce roman noir polyphonique, dont l'action se concentre sur quelques heures, esquisse une tentative de généalogie de la violence contemporaine.

30 review for De bons voisins

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Chavez

    Won this book as a Goodreads First Reads and I am at a loss for words. Wow... I mean wow... This book was so packed with action. It really did recall movies such as Crash, 11:14, and Vantage Point. Ryan David Jahn or RDJ does an amazing job of weaving the very busy characters lives that revolve around the brutal murder of Kat. At first as I started the book and the characters were being introduced I said to myself how is RDJ going to pull off this whole story with so many characters in under 300 Won this book as a Goodreads First Reads and I am at a loss for words. Wow... I mean wow... This book was so packed with action. It really did recall movies such as Crash, 11:14, and Vantage Point. Ryan David Jahn or RDJ does an amazing job of weaving the very busy characters lives that revolve around the brutal murder of Kat. At first as I started the book and the characters were being introduced I said to myself how is RDJ going to pull off this whole story with so many characters in under 300 pages, but he does and I wouldn't change a thing. I never thought Katrina Marino would last and fight until the end of the book, at first I thought it would be more of a story of the neighbors seeing the murder and just not saying anything, like everybody saw it but nobody speaks about it; however, the story is so much more deeper and different then that. You got Patrick the kid called into the draft with a ailing mother who is dependent on him, Thomas Marlowe the lonely man who gets lost in a world with a fake family, Officer Alan Kees a dirty cop whose bad deeds catch up with him, Mr. Vacanti, another man whose past transgressions catch up with him after a car accident, David the paramedic who finds him and who was the victim of Vacanti's past life hobbies, Peter the rich, neat married snob who experiments with swinging with another couple, Diane Myers the housewife who loves her husband but discovers he is cheating on her, William the killer who can't control his urges and doesn't understand why nobody stops him, and Frank Riva the hard working black man trying to help his wife out of a jam and winds up at the wrong place at the wrong time. All of these characters and situations unraveling nearby as Kat is being stabbed to death in a courtyard between two apartment complexes, with most of these characters passing windows or looking out thinking, "someone will call the police, we shouldn't tie up the lines." It is a amazing story that played out like any well scripted crime movie, I can't see why this doesn't become a movie. It's just so sad that it is based off of the real murder of Kitty Genovese, it pains me to think that people would just stand by and watch as a woman is murdered in plain view and just think, somebody else will help, but it does happen all the time, every day. I definitely will look for more books by Ryan David Jahn, this novel opened my eyes to his amazing writing and characterization. This is a must read. Best Goodreads First Read I have won and read yet.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ben Loory

    though loosely based on the famous real-life murder of kitty genovese, this is actually a conceptual novel with a dark conceit at the heart of it... basically, the idea is that everyone is always at their darkest, scariest, most life-defining moment... whether they notice it or not... the book is a tapestry of interwoven stories about different people in this apartment building, all of whom may or may not be partially guilty for the murder that happens in the courtyard below them (which they may though loosely based on the famous real-life murder of kitty genovese, this is actually a conceptual novel with a dark conceit at the heart of it... basically, the idea is that everyone is always at their darkest, scariest, most life-defining moment... whether they notice it or not... the book is a tapestry of interwoven stories about different people in this apartment building, all of whom may or may not be partially guilty for the murder that happens in the courtyard below them (which they may or may not see), but are definitely guilty (and also innocent) of the mayhem that's occurring in their own lives. it's a hard book to explain, but easy to read, and very hard for me to understand how it was written... there are so many stories, all occurring at once, but they all seem separate and yet completely connected. it's a page-turner with a terrifyingly sad ending that also manages to somehow impart courage. i read this book a few months ago and still think about it all the time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)

    Kat Marino was returning to her Queens apartment from her shift at a local bar at 4 AM in the morning, when she was attacked by a man, who was hiding beside a tree nearby. Kat had never met the man before and is completely taken by surprise and shock. A few of her neighbors whose apartment windows face the courtyard, where the action was unveiling, hadn't yet gone to sleep and were watching dazed, having been interrupted from whatever argument or conversation they were preoccupied with at that h Kat Marino was returning to her Queens apartment from her shift at a local bar at 4 AM in the morning, when she was attacked by a man, who was hiding beside a tree nearby. Kat had never met the man before and is completely taken by surprise and shock. A few of her neighbors whose apartment windows face the courtyard, where the action was unveiling, hadn't yet gone to sleep and were watching dazed, having been interrupted from whatever argument or conversation they were preoccupied with at that hour. None of them however make a move to help her. None call the police either. While Kat screams for someone to help, and every observer assumes someone else is making that 911 call, this 280-page short book gives us a brilliant insight into the lives of all the people, whose paths cross Kat's, however marginally, between 4 and 6 am. This is one of those books I wish I had reviewed right away. I know my head was buzzing with thoughts to share with you but somehow I'm only getting to it now - a good month after reading this book. Even now, I cannot stop thinking about how brilliant this book was and how much I would love to reread it. Good Neighbors is based on a true incident whose details are very much similar to that of this book's. If you don't want to be spoiled by the details of the real crime, skip the rest of this paragraph. New Yorkers will probably be aware of this incident better. 29-year old Kitty Genovese was returning home at 4 am in 1964 when she was attacked by a man thrice, the last time fatally, over the span of a half hour. A lot of the neighbors saw some part of the attack but no one saw the whole thing. Nobody called the police believing that someone else was making that call, though a few claimed to have called. There's a term for it - bystander effect. The New York Times posted an interesting article on this tragedy a few days later. A lot of the facts about this murder are disputed, but it does appear apparent that very few people responded to her calls for help, and although one man did call the police, they didn't turn up. "I didn't want to get involved" was the predominant sentiment. Good Neighbors is a work of fiction. Although it is based on the Kitty Genovese murder, all the characters in it are fictional. In Good Neighbors, Ryan David Jahn sets an incredible array of characters against this tragedy. On one side, we have Kat making her way home, only to be attacked by a man who then just runs away, leaving Kat shocked and immobile outside. On the other side, we get an inside look into some of the neighbors who see a part of the attack. They are each however plagued by their own problems, so much so that they only feel an odd sense of curiosity over what's happening in the courtyard, before they return to their problems. There is a 19-year old boy who has been ordered to report for the Army's Physical Examination, but he also has an ailing mother he has to look after. Another couple is playing swinger for the first time, until it goes horribly out of control for them, making them question their own relationship. Yet another man is trying to come to terms with his homosexual orientation, but is finding himself reluctant to. Another man, who knows Kat very well, had just left in his car when his wife returned home panicking after hitting a stroller. His own actions form a subplot within this book, opening the pages to more characters - a paramedic, a corrupted cop and his equally corrupted chief, and a paedophile, while they get themselves involved in a car accident just down the road and in an attempted murder. The huge number of characters is the main asset of this book. While it would have been easy to end up with cardboard cutouts instead of solid characters, Ryan manages to carve out intricate characters, none of whom get 'boring' for the reader. The primary sensation you get is that of the role of fate or chance in life and people's beliefs that they are the center of the world and hence their problems are the most important ones in the world. I found it very interesting to read about all the problems the other characters were having, while a woman was dying outside and calling for help. The last chapter left me thinking a lot - was it worth trying to fix your problems while a woman was losing her hold on life minute by minute? When is it okay to say that "my problem is important, because it affects me and only I can fix it!" Would you be selfish for thinking that or just looking out for yourself? Would you be happier having saved a life, but in return lost everything that meant the world to you? Or would you end up feeling resentful towards life for how things turned out for you? It's fascinating how complex we humans really are. There's plenty of gray in every picture. This book could be an intriguing theater production - I'm sure the questions it raises will be quite humbling. Quite a few of the stories come to some interesting conclusions by the time the clock strikes 6 am. I did feel very curious as to how their stories led from there, because many of the lives did change drastically. Good Neighbors is one of the best books I've read this year, and I think waiting a while to write this review was a good thing in one respect - in that I know the book has withstood the test of time, wherein sometimes you find you loved a book immediately after reading it, but days or weeks later, your perspective changes a lot, and you start criticizing the book quite a lot, but this book has managed to leave me still impressed a month later. Have any of you watched the movie Crash? The story-telling technique is very similar here - a multitude of protagonists with their own issues, apparently unconnected, but they all have something that ties them together. If you haven't watched the movie, you should. I hope I have convinced you to pick this book right away! (If you're interested in reading about the real Kitty Genovese, this piece on TruTV is fantastic.)

  4. 5 out of 5

    J

    It is hard to "like: a book like this one. The story is so disagreeable. But the writing was good. A very quick read. But still so sad and unsettling. It is hard to "like: a book like this one. The story is so disagreeable. But the writing was good. A very quick read. But still so sad and unsettling.

  5. 5 out of 5

    David Hebblethwaite

    Queens, New York: 1964. In the small hours, Katrina Marino heads home from her job as night manager of a sports bar. In the courtyard of her apartment, she is attacked and stabbed by a man who has followed her. Meanwhile, the inhabitants of several other apartments in the block are awake. and going through their own personal dramas. Over the course of three hours, relationships are forged, broken, and re-negotiated — but no one comes to Katrina’s aid, even though they heard her screams and saw w Queens, New York: 1964. In the small hours, Katrina Marino heads home from her job as night manager of a sports bar. In the courtyard of her apartment, she is attacked and stabbed by a man who has followed her. Meanwhile, the inhabitants of several other apartments in the block are awake. and going through their own personal dramas. Over the course of three hours, relationships are forged, broken, and re-negotiated — but no one comes to Katrina’s aid, even though they heard her screams and saw what was happening. No one even calls the police, assuming that someone else would have already done so. The outcome, of course, is that Katrina dies from her injuries. Though not a fictionalised account as such, Acts of Violence takes as its inspiration a real-life incident: the murder of Kitty Genovese, to which there were reportedly (the details have been contested), 38 eyewitnesses, none of whom did anything to help. Ryan David Jahn’s forst novel is a portrait of what such a situation might be like. I use the word ‘portrait’ deliberately there, because I think it’s important to be clear what Acts of Violence is and is not. It’s not about the narrative, not in the usual way; it’s not a question of tension over whether Katrina lives or dies, and no mystery is solved. Rather, this is a snapshot of a few hours in the lives of a number of people, with Katrina’s attack in the background (sometimes literally) of all. Good characterisation is of course vital in a novel like this, but it’s even more so when the cast is so large (at least eight viewpoint characters). So it’s a pleasure to report that Jahn proves adept at drawing convincing characters in relatively few words. Here, for example, is Diane Myers, studying her reflection in the window while she ruminates on the passage of time: Is her ghost happier than she is? Being disembodied but still conscious would have its advantages. Walls and locked doors could no longer stop you. No more back pain or neck aches. No more miscarriages with names. Or Thomas Marlowe, an ex-soldier with thoughts of suicide: He pulls the gun away from his head and sets it on the coffee table. He wonders who coffee table coffee table. He gets to his feet and walks into the hallway. He wonders who first called it a hallway. He wonders who first named anything. How did someone look at a dog and decide what to call it? It’s all so random. Everything is so goddam random. This is not the only way in which Jahn is a skilled wordsmith. He builds tension efficiently when it’s needed; and not the cheap-thrills kind, but a more real tension. And, though naturally there is violence, and Jahn does not flinch from describing it, his treatment is sensitive, bringing home the brutality without tipping over into gratuitousness. However, there are flaws in Acts of Violence, and I think they arise primarily because the parameters of the novel limit its possibilities. Perhaps inevitably, some of the story threads feel less well developed than others; for example, there’s one concerning a pair of wife-swapping couples where I feel the background could have done with being sketched in a little more. Another problem is that Katrina’s murder doesn’t really feel as much like the linchpin of the novel as is presumably intended. In the case of the paramedic David White, who’s faced with the dilemma of being expected to save a patient he’d happily let die (the teacher who sexually abused him as a child), it’s clear to see how Katrina’s dying on his watch affects him. But, for most of the characters, if there are psychological repercussions from Katrina’s murder, we don’t really see them – the timeframe of the novel is too short for us to see them. This makes Acts of Violence less satisfying as a complete piece. Yet there is much to like and admire here all the same. Jahn gives a good sense of the milieu beyond his immediate focus. I’m not in a position to know how far his depiction of the 1960s reflects reality; but I can well believe that, for example, an interracial couple would have faced the same prejudice and difficulties that Frank and Erin Riva do in the novel. I would hope that the unspeakably corrupt cop Alan Kees and his Captain are not representative of the police at that time; but I’d also hope that a group of witnesses to an attack wouldn’t stand idly by and let it happen. Perhaps the key question is not whether something is likely, but whether it is possible. As the book’s title may suggest, Jahn also shows some of the many reasons – malevolent or benign, comprehensible or not – people may have for committing violent acts. I do have a sense that the novel doesn’t leave enough room to truly explore all the issues it raises; but, as a portrait – as a début – Acts of Violence is a fine piece of work.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    No where in the book does it mention Kitty Genovese (the woman who was raped, assaulted, and left to die in an alley while her neighbors watched) and the whole time I kept thinking about that amazing story. As a sociology grad student the Kitty Genovese story is widely discussed as a social psychological problem (and the idea that in an emergency it is always best to identify someone, not just ask for help but say "you in the red jacket help me"). And then, I pull up the book here on goodreads an No where in the book does it mention Kitty Genovese (the woman who was raped, assaulted, and left to die in an alley while her neighbors watched) and the whole time I kept thinking about that amazing story. As a sociology grad student the Kitty Genovese story is widely discussed as a social psychological problem (and the idea that in an emergency it is always best to identify someone, not just ask for help but say "you in the red jacket help me"). And then, I pull up the book here on goodreads and it mentions at the very top that this is a fictional story based on Kitty Genovese. I'm not sure if that blurb came from the back of the book (reading ebooks I don't get those blurbs) or if the publisher pointed it out or if whoever created the book on goodreads did...but I'm glad to see the acknowledgement. All of that said, it was a well written, captivating story. I loved Jahn's style of jumping from person to person during the course of the book. Each of these people should have called the police (and certainly the free rider-ish problem of assuming someone else will do it is the social psychological explanation), but mostly the reason they don't is that they are distracted by their own lives. The whole book is very Checkovian in that each of them is so self-absorbed with their own drama (all of which are fairly intense) that they simply forget about not only the dying woman but everyone else outside of their current issue. Besides being entertaining, Jahn has some great quips about selfish human nature: "If you have thirty dollars and rent is eighty, there's no point in saving any of it. Drink till you're drunk and pay for a ride home. You might as well enjoy your trip to the bottom. It's when you've got eighty-seven dollars and the rent's eight that you need to save." There was another quote here that I've seen before (but don't remember where): "All courageous men are afraid, he told Frank-all of them: if a man isn't afraid of something that normal men are afraid of, that doesn't make him courageous, it makes him an idiot. A courageous man is a man who feels fear but does what he has to do anyway. If you're not afraid, he told Frank, you're not being brave." Overall, a bit grotesque (but necessarily so); compelling, and an easy page turner.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    This won a Crime Writer's Association Award, so I was expecting big things. It's based on the Kitty Genovese murder that occurred in the early 1960's. For those who don't know, Kitty Genovese was a young woman who was raped and murdered in the courtyard of her apartment with her neighbors looking on while it happened. The murderer ran and left her still alive, but came back ten minutes later, systematically searched for her, and finished her off. It wasn't until that point that someone called th This won a Crime Writer's Association Award, so I was expecting big things. It's based on the Kitty Genovese murder that occurred in the early 1960's. For those who don't know, Kitty Genovese was a young woman who was raped and murdered in the courtyard of her apartment with her neighbors looking on while it happened. The murderer ran and left her still alive, but came back ten minutes later, systematically searched for her, and finished her off. It wasn't until that point that someone called the police. This incident led to a lot of research studying the "bystander effect" and the phenomenon of diffused responsibility. Sadly, at this point in our history this is awful, but not nearly as shocking as it might have been. The 24-hour news cycle has brought all kinds of horror into our living rooms. Additionally, I've found that for me the definitive work on this is a short story written by Harlan Ellison. It's called "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs" and it's been seared into my brain in the most crystalline form since the first time I read it. It's collected in Deathbird Stories and highly recommended. Harlan Ellison can get under your skin better than just about any writer living or dead. My primary issue with this book, however, was the interlocking stories. There were too many of them too loosely connected. The book keeps a careful distance from everything in it, including the characters, and while this works as a metaphor for what happened for me it just doesn't work from a storytelling point of view.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Smith

    I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this book. I won this book from First Reads and it was an awesome read. It is an absolutely riveting tale that weaves a magnificent web. Ryan David Jahn, creatively depicts a tragedy through the lives of the victim and her neighbors. Based on the Kitty Genovese story, Jahn brings to life the emotional causes and profound effects of "Genovese Syndrome." This novel will have you questioning your own personal convictions. "Would you...could you stand by an I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this book. I won this book from First Reads and it was an awesome read. It is an absolutely riveting tale that weaves a magnificent web. Ryan David Jahn, creatively depicts a tragedy through the lives of the victim and her neighbors. Based on the Kitty Genovese story, Jahn brings to life the emotional causes and profound effects of "Genovese Syndrome." This novel will have you questioning your own personal convictions. "Would you...could you stand by and watch a crime being committed and not call the police? Amidst the horrifying scenes at an apartment complex, are onlookers with their own tragic stories. Told in omniscient third person, the reader is able to not only see everything that is happening, but the reader is able to hear the personal thoughts of each character as the events play out. This novel goes beyond the attack of Kat, and addresses many other societal ills that include: racism, homophobia,extra-marital affairs, death, and corruption in police departments. This is truly a phenomenal debut novel!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    This review of Good Neighbors is of a copy of the Penguin Books 2011 edition, received as a free copy from Goodreads First Reads. This is an great first novel giving a fictionalized version of the Kitty Genovese murder. It does an excellent job of trying to show what might have happened on that fatal night and explaining the known facts. The only downside I found was the short chapters and rapid switching of persons and locale made the reading a little choppy. I feel that this is a great device fo This review of Good Neighbors is of a copy of the Penguin Books 2011 edition, received as a free copy from Goodreads First Reads. This is an great first novel giving a fictionalized version of the Kitty Genovese murder. It does an excellent job of trying to show what might have happened on that fatal night and explaining the known facts. The only downside I found was the short chapters and rapid switching of persons and locale made the reading a little choppy. I feel that this is a great device for movies or television to show concurrency of action, but, since it hampers continuity of scene, it leaves something to be desired in a novel. On the upside, this novel captures the fundamental psychological stresses of the actual event with the author's intense, "you are there" style of prose. It is the strength and power of his writing style that grips and carries the reader through the shifting scenes. In the end, I found myself feeling, like one of the characters in the book, feeling quite unsettled. Well done, Ryan David Jahn.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway. I liked this book and this book showed the truth. When no one would help Kat it showed that people don't usually help each other we just stand around and watch. Some people do help but mostly not. Everyone just stood there watching as someone attacked her and they didn't even call the cops. They just made an excuse that somebody else called the cops already. Everyone has problems they are faceing themselves but it only would have taken a couple minutes I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway. I liked this book and this book showed the truth. When no one would help Kat it showed that people don't usually help each other we just stand around and watch. Some people do help but mostly not. Everyone just stood there watching as someone attacked her and they didn't even call the cops. They just made an excuse that somebody else called the cops already. Everyone has problems they are faceing themselves but it only would have taken a couple minutes to call. The stories everyone else went through were sad and sometimes I wanted to put the book down because of what they were going through. This was a really good book!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Danuta

    This is an excellent and unusual thriller. The characters are convincing, and almost all of them are sympathetic in some way. It's based on a real - and shocking - event, and Jahn reminds the reader of something that the more extreme crime novels seem to have forgotten: that being knifed to death is a horrible way to die. You know from the start what the outcome will be, but to the end, you hope you are wrong. A real page turner. This is an excellent and unusual thriller. The characters are convincing, and almost all of them are sympathetic in some way. It's based on a real - and shocking - event, and Jahn reminds the reader of something that the more extreme crime novels seem to have forgotten: that being knifed to death is a horrible way to die. You know from the start what the outcome will be, but to the end, you hope you are wrong. A real page turner.

  12. 4 out of 5

    James Kidd

    Great book. I found the violence very direct and visceral. I have read many books with vivid violent scenes and not been affected as I was with this book. The writing was excellent, the story many layered and apart from the all too easy wrap up of the Frank/bad cop story line (that was the bit that just did not ring true) I thought it was compelling.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lisaann

    I literally could not put this one down...very quick read. It's one of those fascinating yet repelling novels. You've carried her groceries or said hello in passing...now she's being murdered. What do you do? The no brainer answer is "Call the police." However...you're sure someone else already has, and then life sets in... I literally could not put this one down...very quick read. It's one of those fascinating yet repelling novels. You've carried her groceries or said hello in passing...now she's being murdered. What do you do? The no brainer answer is "Call the police." However...you're sure someone else already has, and then life sets in...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kym

    Just finished the galley of this one- run out and get it as soon as it publishes (as a paperback original!) it was phenomenal. Read it in two days and could not put it down- the comparison to the movie Crash on the back cover is not amiss.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Wedgington

    Read it in only 3 hours. Was hard to put down!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Holy crud! Best book I've read in a long time. Holy crud! Best book I've read in a long time.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karen Manning

    Interesting read with all of the sub plots. Frank and Kat were my favorite characters. Its a sad story because these kinds of things happen all the time.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kalen

    Brutal and graphic and I couldn't put it down. Brutal and graphic and I couldn't put it down.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    This book is so screwed up with how everyone did NOTHING for poor Kat as she was violently attacked by her own front door!!! I wasn't thrilled with the ending though.... This book is so screwed up with how everyone did NOTHING for poor Kat as she was violently attacked by her own front door!!! I wasn't thrilled with the ending though....

  20. 4 out of 5

    Zach

    Any book that is compared to the movie 'Crash' as though that is a favorable distinction, should be approached with immense caution. Tries to juggle A LOT and succeeds about half the time. Very readable, though cliched and trite as all get out. 'Rear Window' x 'Crash' ÷ Intro to Writing = 'Good Neighbors'. Any book that is compared to the movie 'Crash' as though that is a favorable distinction, should be approached with immense caution. Tries to juggle A LOT and succeeds about half the time. Very readable, though cliched and trite as all get out. 'Rear Window' x 'Crash' ÷ Intro to Writing = 'Good Neighbors'.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ida Wieborg von Rosen

    If you want to read a book that makes you angry at every character, angry at the world, sad for the way we treat each other and hopeless for mankind in general, then please go ahead with this book. Otherwise leave it alone.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Mixed feelings all the way throughout the book. It is a difficult read but it's still good. Mixed feelings all the way throughout the book. It is a difficult read but it's still good.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    I was originally going to give this a 2.5 but I bumped it up to 3. The way the characters intertwined in the end was satisfying enough. The book as a whole, however, was just a disappointment to me. This book, as you may or may not know, is inspired by the real life murder that happened long ago of a young woman named Kitty Genovese. Kitty Genovese was stabbed and (trigger warning) raped to death. About 34 neighbors in the apartment complex saw the attack but did not report to the police nor step I was originally going to give this a 2.5 but I bumped it up to 3. The way the characters intertwined in the end was satisfying enough. The book as a whole, however, was just a disappointment to me. This book, as you may or may not know, is inspired by the real life murder that happened long ago of a young woman named Kitty Genovese. Kitty Genovese was stabbed and (trigger warning) raped to death. About 34 neighbors in the apartment complex saw the attack but did not report to the police nor stepped in to help the young woman. This case has baffled many ever since—why didn't anybody step in? Why did they all just watch?—and thus the "bystander effect" was developed not long after. I had high expectations for this book and I definitely think it had a lot of potential. The author was also very brave and therefore worthy of a little applause for tackling a real life incident and putting his own fictional twist to perhaps better understand the bystander effect. The execution, though, unfortunately fell flat for me. There were too many characters and the development of each took too long in my opinion. I was a little halfway through the book already and the characters—along with the plot itself!—were still very much undeveloped. This book was a quick read, as I had expected. But I think it would have been better had it been a little longer and maybe with less characters to focus on (some of the characters could have been removed and it would not have made any difference to the book). I did not feel attached or feel connected to any of the main characters at all. I almost felt as though the author presented the characters in such a way that you could tell he was trying too hard to get the reader to like them or feel sorry for them. But alas, it was just very difficult to care for them! There were just too many of them and it got confusing more often times than not. It was tough to follow and seemed redundant to me. I also thought there was too much use of repetition. I understand it was probably for added effect, but it was overdone in my opinion (for example, the unnecessary repetition of "monster with gentle eyes." Repetition can be quite effective when it's done right. It doesn't have to happen every other line. That's when it becomes redundant and makes it difficult for me to keep reading.) I thought perhaps once I've turned the last page of this book, I can set it down with a newfound knowledge or even just a better understanding of the murder of Kitty Genovese and why the neighbors very well chose to be bystanders. That was not the case. Overall, the book was not terrible. I just think I could have gone my whole life without reading this and I'd still be okay.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rowena Hoseason

    This is a dazzling novel. Don't start it unless you can devote the whole evening to it. The force of the narrative drags you into half a dozen compelling human stories; interwoven and parallel lives which are all at a turning point during one early morning. The crisp writing and tightly plotted chapters drive you through it at a relentless pace: you really won't want to stop reading until you find out what happens to each character as they confront a pivotal moment and emerge forever altered by t This is a dazzling novel. Don't start it unless you can devote the whole evening to it. The force of the narrative drags you into half a dozen compelling human stories; interwoven and parallel lives which are all at a turning point during one early morning. The crisp writing and tightly plotted chapters drive you through it at a relentless pace: you really won't want to stop reading until you find out what happens to each character as they confront a pivotal moment and emerge forever altered by the experience. This book feels very much like one of those blockbuster montage movies, where intertwined threads weave back and forth en route towards an almightly climax. In this case the action is set in mid-America, in the early 1960s. The main theme involves a savage attack on a young woman but although that is sold as the central narrative there is plenty else going on in here too; being drafted for Vietnam, wife-swapping and all its consequences, what happens when an abused child grows up, racism and police corruption, being chronically ill, the loneliness which can lead to suicide, taking the step from boyhood to manhood, acknowledging an unspoken sexual desire and more -- oh, there's heaps more. It's as if author RD Jahn has done his best to cram every ounce of the human condition into this one novel, and he's come scarily close to achieving that goal. For the characters also display compassion, fidelity and mercy; it's not all entirely grim. You may find in the opening chapters that you are a little bewildered about who all the different people are, because each segment hops between scenes and people and there's some real stunt-writing with the timeline too. As the novel goes on you become familiar with each situation (although I never did identify the characters by their names), and it rewards careful reading. This book delivers its best if you have time and concentration to spend on it: turn off the background chatter if you really want to be swept away by the stark and occasionally exquisite outcomes. If you like this kind of crime-thriller fiction, then I suggest you also try A Last Act of Charity[[ASIN:1909984426 A Last Act of Charity]]. I'm a bit biased (reader: I married the author!) but it should appeal to a similar audience. Very hard to see how Acts Of Violence (which is an alternative title; it's been published as both this and Good Neighbours, so don't buy both!) could have been better, so it scores an astonishing-- 10/10

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    This is an incredible story, and even more so for being a debut novel. Kat, the night manager at a bar, is almost home when she's attacked right outside her front door. She thinks she'll be okay, because many of her neighbors are home - in fact, she sees their lights on, and they see her after she screams. But each one of them has a different reason for not calling 911: a more pressing personal problem, someone starts talking, they don't want to tie up the lines with redundant calls... Obviously This is an incredible story, and even more so for being a debut novel. Kat, the night manager at a bar, is almost home when she's attacked right outside her front door. She thinks she'll be okay, because many of her neighbors are home - in fact, she sees their lights on, and they see her after she screams. But each one of them has a different reason for not calling 911: a more pressing personal problem, someone starts talking, they don't want to tie up the lines with redundant calls... Obviously this is a fictionalized retelling of the Kitty Genovese story, but it's so much more than that. (For those who have had CPR training, this is precisely why you are taught to single out one person and say, "YOU, call 911 and come back".) Each neighbor's story is examined and drawn into the storytelling weave, not just what happened that night but also some of their history. Each neighbor becomes a real person, despites only having a few chances to develop. Each has motivations, problems, relationships, a story. And each person can share in the guilt and shame of knowing they watched a girl being attacked and did nothing to stop it, and left the anonymous "other people" to help her. Not one called for help, even though they thought "Poor girl". When you read this, let the truth sink in. Promise to yourself that you will never leave the responsibility for a simple phone call to other people when you have the ability, even if it means you're the 100th caller about an incident, because you never know if yours is the call that will make the difference.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Smith

    I guess the fact that the book upset me shows that it was well written. I feel, however that it is a sad commentary of our concept of "Good Neighbors". I live in the same house I grew up in and only know 4 people, and they are left overs from when I lived her as a child. We do not interact any longer. We do not assist- we bank in machines, check our groceries out with out talking to anyone. We pay our bills, bank, etc on the computer. So our connections are severed....never allowed to connect. E I guess the fact that the book upset me shows that it was well written. I feel, however that it is a sad commentary of our concept of "Good Neighbors". I live in the same house I grew up in and only know 4 people, and they are left overs from when I lived her as a child. We do not interact any longer. We do not assist- we bank in machines, check our groceries out with out talking to anyone. We pay our bills, bank, etc on the computer. So our connections are severed....never allowed to connect. Even in trouble. So when we are in trouble our neighbors just close the doors and pull the blinds. How you feel about it is up to you... None the less it is a great read. I do not want to give anything away.. The blurb on the back says " A young woman returning home from her shift at a loal bar is attaced in her Queens apt complex. Unfolding over the course of Two Hours, Bood Neighbors is the story of the woman and of the bystanders who kept to themselves.... Great read. You will not be sorry. I promise.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cathi Cantrell

    I received this copy of Good Neighbors through a Goodreads giveaway. I managed to read 11 chapters before putting it down the first night! This is a riveting character study in the best and worse of the human condition. They were many and varied and each perfectly molded into the people next door and psychotic strangers (those "human monsters" that DO exist out there) among us! Based on a true story that happened in the 1960's, the author has done a truly amazing job recreating what surely must I received this copy of Good Neighbors through a Goodreads giveaway. I managed to read 11 chapters before putting it down the first night! This is a riveting character study in the best and worse of the human condition. They were many and varied and each perfectly molded into the people next door and psychotic strangers (those "human monsters" that DO exist out there) among us! Based on a true story that happened in the 1960's, the author has done a truly amazing job recreating what surely must have been similar incidents and character insights. I found it difficult to put down and would enjoy reading more future exceptional works from this author.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pixie

    I won this book for FREE here on goodreads.com. It is not my usual type of genre but I entered the contest because the book sounded really good. I really enjoyed this book a great deal! It was an easy read but the writing drew me into the characters and their individual situations. I would briefly forget about one neighbor as I started reading about another because the writing was so good. He is great at keeping your attention and full of details. I watched this book like a movie in my head. Sus I won this book for FREE here on goodreads.com. It is not my usual type of genre but I entered the contest because the book sounded really good. I really enjoyed this book a great deal! It was an easy read but the writing drew me into the characters and their individual situations. I would briefly forget about one neighbor as I started reading about another because the writing was so good. He is great at keeping your attention and full of details. I watched this book like a movie in my head. Suspenseful and creative and the interwoven stories are fantastic! I highly recommend this book to anyone!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    It's hard to say what I thought of this book. In a way I think it was excellent and in a way, I hated it. It confirmed what I am starting to believe these days - that people are self-centered and horrid. It was hard to read...hard to believe it's based on an actual event as well. Knowing myself and knowing I can't stay uninvolved (I once saw a woman getting beat up by a man and you bet I called...and followed her down the street to make sure she was okay)....it just infuriated me. But definitely It's hard to say what I thought of this book. In a way I think it was excellent and in a way, I hated it. It confirmed what I am starting to believe these days - that people are self-centered and horrid. It was hard to read...hard to believe it's based on an actual event as well. Knowing myself and knowing I can't stay uninvolved (I once saw a woman getting beat up by a man and you bet I called...and followed her down the street to make sure she was okay)....it just infuriated me. But definitely an interesting idea. I often people-watch and wonder...this book is kind of like people watching and getting to find out what's really going on.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tamiya Bates

    wow this book has to be one of the best books i have read in years. i loved the way it was put together. this book went into the lives of many people and what they were doing and going through while a lady was being attacked in there apartment buildings courtyard.many people seen what happened to her but no one did anything they were to busy with their own twisted lives. there was a lot of drama going on with everyone in this book and a lot of what was going on was very shocking, sad and weird. wow this book has to be one of the best books i have read in years. i loved the way it was put together. this book went into the lives of many people and what they were doing and going through while a lady was being attacked in there apartment buildings courtyard.many people seen what happened to her but no one did anything they were to busy with their own twisted lives. there was a lot of drama going on with everyone in this book and a lot of what was going on was very shocking, sad and weird. i say if u have not read this book u really should because u will love it.

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