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An addicting and twisty debut about an apartment building devastated by the disappearance of a teenage girl–and by the secrets that won’t be kept behind each closed door–that will thrill fans of Lisa Jewell and Shari Lapena. One House. Three Families. Countless Secrets. From her downstairs apartment in suburban London, Emma has often overheard the everyday life of the seemin An addicting and twisty debut about an apartment building devastated by the disappearance of a teenage girl–and by the secrets that won’t be kept behind each closed door–that will thrill fans of Lisa Jewell and Shari Lapena. One House. Three Families. Countless Secrets. From her downstairs apartment in suburban London, Emma has often overheard the everyday life of the seemingly perfect family upstairs–Steph, Paul and teenage daughter Freya–but has never got to know them. Until one day, she hears something that seizes her attention: Freya has vanished and the police are questioning Steph and Paul about their life. Do either of you have any enemies? Anyone who might want to harm or threaten you? The effects of Freya’s disappearance ripple outward, affecting not just her parents, but everyone who lives in the building, including Emma and local driving instructor Chris, who was the last person to see the teenager before she went missing. Each character’s life is thrown into sharp focus as devastating mistakes and long-held secrets are picked apart and other crimes come to light–including a child gone missing 25 years before, and a shocking murder–that make clear that the past never stays where we leave it, and that homes can be built on foundations of lies.


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An addicting and twisty debut about an apartment building devastated by the disappearance of a teenage girl–and by the secrets that won’t be kept behind each closed door–that will thrill fans of Lisa Jewell and Shari Lapena. One House. Three Families. Countless Secrets. From her downstairs apartment in suburban London, Emma has often overheard the everyday life of the seemin An addicting and twisty debut about an apartment building devastated by the disappearance of a teenage girl–and by the secrets that won’t be kept behind each closed door–that will thrill fans of Lisa Jewell and Shari Lapena. One House. Three Families. Countless Secrets. From her downstairs apartment in suburban London, Emma has often overheard the everyday life of the seemingly perfect family upstairs–Steph, Paul and teenage daughter Freya–but has never got to know them. Until one day, she hears something that seizes her attention: Freya has vanished and the police are questioning Steph and Paul about their life. Do either of you have any enemies? Anyone who might want to harm or threaten you? The effects of Freya’s disappearance ripple outward, affecting not just her parents, but everyone who lives in the building, including Emma and local driving instructor Chris, who was the last person to see the teenager before she went missing. Each character’s life is thrown into sharp focus as devastating mistakes and long-held secrets are picked apart and other crimes come to light–including a child gone missing 25 years before, and a shocking murder–that make clear that the past never stays where we leave it, and that homes can be built on foundations of lies.

30 review for The Downstairs Neighbor

  1. 5 out of 5

    MarilynW

    The Downstairs Neighbor by Helen Cooper Despite being a very busy story, with frequent time and point of view changes, this was a book that had me looking for the next clue on every page. But, finally I just sat back and took in the story because so much is thrown at us that I realized it'd be very hard to figure anything out. There are too many moving parts, too many people, too many timelines (when memories of past events are thrown in). I didn't want my "sleuthing" to interfere with my underst The Downstairs Neighbor by Helen Cooper Despite being a very busy story, with frequent time and point of view changes, this was a book that had me looking for the next clue on every page. But, finally I just sat back and took in the story because so much is thrown at us that I realized it'd be very hard to figure anything out. There are too many moving parts, too many people, too many timelines (when memories of past events are thrown in). I didn't want my "sleuthing" to interfere with my understanding of the characters, their motivations, and their fears.  Seventeen year old Freya lives in a nice apartment with her perfect (from the outside looking in) parents, Steph and Paul. Living below them is Emma, a small business owner who has had to close up shop and who lives alone...oops, not alone because she lives with her hamster who sleeps during the day and runs on his hamster treadmill at night, keeping Emma awake. Below Emma is driving instructor, Chris, and his nurse wife, Vicky. All these people have secrets, long held secrets that they never plan to reveal. But then Freya goes missing and everyone's life is thrown into chaos and put under a microscope.  There is also the timeline of Kate, twenty five years ago. Kate is living with her mom and extremely worried about her mom's dodgy boyfriend. It's not until far into the book that we learn how all the secrets and Kate's timeline fit together. This story is like years of a soap opera thrown into the span of a week. It's very interesting, twisty, convoluted and maddening. I had great fun reading this story although I wish it could have been a bit more straightforward and not so messy with so many people and their secrets...but then that's what this story is about...secrets, lack of honesty, and how not revealing something can be the same as lying.  Publication: February 16, 2021 Thank you to G.P. Putnam's Sons/Penguin Publishing Group and Edelweiss for this ARC. 

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jayme

    The book synopsis describes this as an apartment building devastated by the disappearance of a teenage girl, perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell and Shari Lapena. But, I don’t think this book will find it's correct audience with those expectations. Their writing styles are both lighter and more engaging. The only similarities between this book and those it is being compared to, is that all are stories of suspense, centered around neighborhoods (or apartments in the same building in London). Your resi The book synopsis describes this as an apartment building devastated by the disappearance of a teenage girl, perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell and Shari Lapena. But, I don’t think this book will find it's correct audience with those expectations. Their writing styles are both lighter and more engaging. The only similarities between this book and those it is being compared to, is that all are stories of suspense, centered around neighborhoods (or apartments in the same building in London). Your residents in this complex are: Chris, a driving instructor and his wife Vicky, in the basement flat. Blue haired Emma, Zeb and a hamster called Gilbert, in the ground floor unit. And the the seemingly perfect family of Paul, Steph and their daughter Freya- the girl who has gone missing-occupying the top floor. You will also meet KATE, but her story takes place 25 years earlier, the flashbacks interspersed between the alternating perspectives of Steph, Paul, Emma and Chris in the present day. Is Freya’s disappearance tied to one of the neighbors? Or is it tied to the PAST? And, WHO, is Kate? The pace of the book is uneven. The first half had a lot of back story, which slowed things down, and the first reveal that GOT my attention wasn’t till a third of the way through. There are more surprises in the second half, but I would have preferred them more evenly spread out. Another problem for me is that I NEVER felt the DEVASTATION of Freya being missing despite the fact that I would NOT know her fate until almost the end of the book. But, the Author DID manage to KEEP ME GUESSING, so kudos to her for that! This is a debut from an author who shows promise! 3.5 ⭐️ Rounded down Available Feb. 16, 2021 Thank you to the Publisher for my gifted copy. It was my pleasure to provide a candid review!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    Chris Watson, a driving instructor lives with partner Vicky in the basement flat and Emma Brighton on the ground floor and they are the downstairs neighbours of Steph and Paul Harlow who own the house and live on the top two floor with seventeen year old daughter Freya. Freya goes missing and her disappearance appears to be linked to the past ..... The story is told in two timelines, twenty five years ago and in the present day and from several perspectives. What a cracking debut which clearly i Chris Watson, a driving instructor lives with partner Vicky in the basement flat and Emma Brighton on the ground floor and they are the downstairs neighbours of Steph and Paul Harlow who own the house and live on the top two floor with seventeen year old daughter Freya. Freya goes missing and her disappearance appears to be linked to the past ..... The story is told in two timelines, twenty five years ago and in the present day and from several perspectives. What a cracking debut which clearly indicates a writer with a very bright future. This is a really good mystery thriller which keeps your attention throughout as you try to solve the intriguing puzzle. The different points of view are very interesting and illuminating throwing up so many secrets, lies and cover ups and each of the protagonists have good backstories. It becomes apparent that several characters are wearing masks and carrying burdens that weigh them down which come to the surface with Freya’s disappearance being the catalyst. The characters emotions are well depicted with everything from being bereft and fearful and terrified by what could happen to Freya to unraveling guilt. The plot is very good as is the pace, it’s full of tension and suspense as the mystery deepens. There are plenty of deceptively clever twists and revelations as the consequences of all the secrecy emerge and you have no idea how it’s all going to end. Overall, a compelling and intriguing read which I thoroughly enjoyed. With thanks to NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for the arc for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julie (JuJu)

    This debut thriller was brimming with surprises that kept me craving the next secret. ”Two missing girls, then and now. All these years they’d been carrying similar burdens. Guarding their secrets, burying their pasts. It had almost lost them everything.” It begins with the disappearance of Freya, a high-spirited and feisty teenager. Once in awhile, we get glimpses of the past...mysterious and my favorite part of the book. The long list of flawed characters are so different, yet with similar predic This debut thriller was brimming with surprises that kept me craving the next secret. ”Two missing girls, then and now. All these years they’d been carrying similar burdens. Guarding their secrets, burying their pasts. It had almost lost them everything.” It begins with the disappearance of Freya, a high-spirited and feisty teenager. Once in awhile, we get glimpses of the past...mysterious and my favorite part of the book. The long list of flawed characters are so different, yet with similar predicaments. Each carrying long-held secrets that can shatter their lives. I’ll admit I wasn’t captivated until almost halfway in. Then it became hard to put down. The mother-daughter relationship and unanswered questions at the end of each chapter drove me to read just one more! When I read that this book was a “debut that will thrill fans of Lisa Jewell and Shari Lapena”, I knew I had to read it! It’s exciting to read new authors, for one, and Jewell and Lapena are excellent authors that I adore. Thank you to Edelweiss, Helen Cooper and G.P. Putnam's Sons for this free digital ARC, in exchange for my honest opinion! My Rating: 4 ⭐️’s Published: February 16th 2021 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Pages: 304 Recommend: Yes #HelenCooper @PutnamBooks @weiss_squad #psychologicalthriller #NoRulesJustThrills #InExchangeForReview #JustFinished #BookReview #Edelweiss #SecretsKill After publication, my reviews can be found: Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/amz... Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/takemeaway21 BN.com, BookBub

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    The Downstairs Neighbor is a riveting British mystery, where the real twists and turns come from those involved to thought-provoking effect. It centers around a big house divided into three apartments in London, and let me tell you, not a single person of the seven living there are whom they seem to be! There's Chris and Vic, who live in the bottom flat. He's a driving instructor, she's a nurse, and it seems like Chris is having massive doubts about their relationship. She seems not to notice or The Downstairs Neighbor is a riveting British mystery, where the real twists and turns come from those involved to thought-provoking effect. It centers around a big house divided into three apartments in London, and let me tell you, not a single person of the seven living there are whom they seem to be! There's Chris and Vic, who live in the bottom flat. He's a driving instructor, she's a nurse, and it seems like Chris is having massive doubts about their relationship. She seems not to notice or care. Next is Em and Seb. She's into fashion, and has just had to close her shop. Seb has just left her. Neither of these things seem like mystery fodder but they are. They so are! Then there's Freya, Paul, and Steph. Paul has a dull but well paying job, Stephanie is beautiful and a high flying* customer rep who works out of Heathrow (*couldn’t help it!) and Freya is their gorgeous teen daughter who, as the novel opens, has disappeared with Chris being the last to see her. Freya's disappearance is definitely part of the book but a small part, because as The Downstairs Neighbor races along, it turns out that every person in the house has at least one secret, and some of them are quite dark and deep. There are so many twists here and what I liked is that they all worked! Every reveal felt genuine, not forced, and the layers to them kept coming to the very last scene. And it was fascinating (and so well done) to see how all the revelations conected, how The Downstairs Neighbor is really, at its core, a psychological thriller about hiding parts of yourself. We all do it, but the seven characters here take it to very extreme (and deadly) places. I also thought The Downstairs Neighbor had a lot to say about the justice system. Though the book is set in England, its criticisms of the legal system are definitely, absolutely applicable to the United States as well, from how poorly and prejudicial police can conduct investigations to arrests and trials and how justice isn't always served well or fairly, right down to a look at how and why "the law" can try to hide wrong they've done. I thought The Downstairs Neighbor would be a good British thriller and it definitely is but it's also a collection of fascinating character studies and an intense and searing look at the injustices of the justice system and those things end up what makes The Downstairs Neighbor so fresh and surprising. This is definitely smarter and more thought-provoking than your average thriller and is absolutely worth checking out.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood...won’t you be my Neighbor?” Fred M.Rogers This is definitely NOT Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Here we have three couples, three flats, and a multitude of ugly secrets living in the same divided house. Steph and Paul appear to be that successful couple everyone wants to emulate. Until their teenage daughter goes missing. The other two downstairs neighbors are sucked into the drama with Emma doing some investigation of her own. With eleven main characters and “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood...won’t you be my Neighbor?” Fred M.Rogers This is definitely NOT Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Here we have three couples, three flats, and a multitude of ugly secrets living in the same divided house. Steph and Paul appear to be that successful couple everyone wants to emulate. Until their teenage daughter goes missing. The other two downstairs neighbors are sucked into the drama with Emma doing some investigation of her own. With eleven main characters and two timelines, there was a lot to track but still manageable to keep everything straight. The people in this story have varying degrees of sliminess and it’s good that we don’t have to spend a lot of time with any one person. I loved this book! It wasn’t what I expected. It’s also very taut and there’s no let up - I never felt that the author took her foot off the gas. It would be simple to say that the story revolves around the disappearance of a teenager. However, it’s dense with observations about relationships with people close to us, what we tell them, and in the end what we tell ourselves. Thank you to the publisher, the author, and Edelweiss for my advance reader’s copy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    In a converted Georgian townhouse in South West London, three families live under one roof. The large flat that takes over the top two floors is home to the Harlow family: Paul, Steph and their teenage daughter Freya. The first floor flat is rented by Emma, she spends most of her time alone. The basement flat belongs to Chris, a local driving instructor, and his partner Vicky. Their lives are all upendedwhen Freya disappears. Paul and Steph own the townhouse an rent out the basement and first flo In a converted Georgian townhouse in South West London, three families live under one roof. The large flat that takes over the top two floors is home to the Harlow family: Paul, Steph and their teenage daughter Freya. The first floor flat is rented by Emma, she spends most of her time alone. The basement flat belongs to Chris, a local driving instructor, and his partner Vicky. Their lives are all upendedwhen Freya disappears. Paul and Steph own the townhouse an rent out the basement and first floor flats. Their seventeen year old daughter Freya goes missing.This story is told from multiple points of view and told across two timelines: the present day and twenty five years ago. The neighbours all have their own secrets. The plotline is complex with a fast pace. This is an intriguing thriller which kept my attention throughout. It's hard to believe that this is a debut novel. I'm looking forward to reading more fron the author in future. I would like to thank #NetGalley, #HodderStoughton and the author #HelenCooper for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Belle

    I am a sucker for an eavesdropping premise, and Helen Cooper’s The Downstairs Neighbor doesn’t disappoint. Cooper starts with a bang, with a missing girl and a big house filled with suspects, then holds the suspense high with characters that will keep the reader guessing—and guessing wrong. A gradual unearthing of long-held secrets wrapped in a smoothly plotted page-turner.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea | thrillerbookbabe

    Thank you so much to Putnam and Helen Cooper for the fantastic ARC of The Downstairs Neighbor. This book was so full of secrets and twists that I couldn’t keep up! It was about an apartment building and three of the families who lived there. The upstairs family, Steph, Paul, and Freya, who are hiding something and each have their own secrets. The ground floor family, Emma and Zeb who are going through lots of personal struggles. The basement family, Vicky and Chris who are not all that they seem Thank you so much to Putnam and Helen Cooper for the fantastic ARC of The Downstairs Neighbor. This book was so full of secrets and twists that I couldn’t keep up! It was about an apartment building and three of the families who lived there. The upstairs family, Steph, Paul, and Freya, who are hiding something and each have their own secrets. The ground floor family, Emma and Zeb who are going through lots of personal struggles. The basement family, Vicky and Chris who are not all that they seem. When Freya goes missing, it seems like everyone has a reason to worry and wonder if it was because of them? Thoughts: I loved all the twisted storylines in this book! There were so many changes in point of view and timeline that you had to pay attention if you wanted to guess what was going on. Each person was complex and interesting, and each chapter was just as informative as the last. I didn’t necessarily connect with the story, but it was a lighter read that was enjoyable. I liked that the twists made sense and weren’t reaching too much. It was fun to see how everyone was connected and even though it was predictable, it was a fun read. There were some slower parts, but it speeds up after the halfway point and keeps the pace until the end. At points I wanted to yell at them to just talk to each other, but they never did! It was a fun, lighter thriller- 3.5 stars.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    3.5 stars Another twisty, exciting psychological suspense book. I was very invested in finding out what happened to Freya--how did she disappear into thin air, and what secrets are everyone in her life hiding? The book is told from multiple points-of-view, many of them residents of a house that has been divided into three flats, one is a girl from twenty-five years in the past. I loved the story for the most part, but it took a little bit too long for the author to tie the events of the past to 3.5 stars Another twisty, exciting psychological suspense book. I was very invested in finding out what happened to Freya--how did she disappear into thin air, and what secrets are everyone in her life hiding? The book is told from multiple points-of-view, many of them residents of a house that has been divided into three flats, one is a girl from twenty-five years in the past. I loved the story for the most part, but it took a little bit too long for the author to tie the events of the past to the present. Even with that, it honestly would have been a four star book, but the ending for me was just too unbelievable, it made me roll my eyes a little. Overall though, it's a fun read with some pretty awful characters and some that you might think are awful but turn out to be decent. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    This book gets 5 stars from me for the many moments in the narrative that point back to the title. I have a linear brain and love to make connections. It made my brain and my heart happy to breeze through this debut thriller and see how appropriate the title is. 'The Night Swim' was like that, too. At the center of this book is a missing seventeen-year-old girl, but for the people around her in her family and building it becomes so much more. This would make a fantastic book group read as there This book gets 5 stars from me for the many moments in the narrative that point back to the title. I have a linear brain and love to make connections. It made my brain and my heart happy to breeze through this debut thriller and see how appropriate the title is. 'The Night Swim' was like that, too. At the center of this book is a missing seventeen-year-old girl, but for the people around her in her family and building it becomes so much more. This would make a fantastic book group read as there are so many issues that are touched upon throughout. Bullying, marriage, economic hardship, intergenerational relationships, abuse, new beginnings, and parenting are all addressed. j Thank you to Penguin Publishing and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    MINI REVIEW: Helen Cooper's The Downstairs Neighbor is a light mystery/family drama that takes place in both present and past point of views, along three different family tenants in a residential building. When a daughter of the top floor tenants disappears, the pasts of all the residents starts to slowly unfold. Who is hiding the biggest secrets and does it involve the disappearance of a teenage girl? I really enjoyed the straightforward approach that the author provided in this story (there' MINI REVIEW: Helen Cooper's The Downstairs Neighbor is a light mystery/family drama that takes place in both present and past point of views, along three different family tenants in a residential building. When a daughter of the top floor tenants disappears, the pasts of all the residents starts to slowly unfold. Who is hiding the biggest secrets and does it involve the disappearance of a teenage girl? I really enjoyed the straightforward approach that the author provided in this story (there's not really any irrelevant twists and turns), but ultimately I found that the story was predictable and slow at times. That being said, I would definitely read more by the author. Definitely not a bad read by any means.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)

    How well can anyone ever know their neighbours? “The Downstairs Neighbour” is the debut novel from Helen Cooper and what a fantastic first outing it is. The story is narrated from the perspective of four main characters. Each one tells an intriguing and interesting story and how they all fit into each other’s lives in the three story building they reside in. - Steph and Paul Harlow live on the top floor. Their seventeen year old daughter Freya hasn’t come home after school. Steph worries somethi How well can anyone ever know their neighbours? “The Downstairs Neighbour” is the debut novel from Helen Cooper and what a fantastic first outing it is. The story is narrated from the perspective of four main characters. Each one tells an intriguing and interesting story and how they all fit into each other’s lives in the three story building they reside in. - Steph and Paul Harlow live on the top floor. Their seventeen year old daughter Freya hasn’t come home after school. Steph worries something in her past is the reason for her going missing and Paul delves back into his previous career, believing he too is the cause for his daughter’s disappearance. - Chris Watson lives with his wife Vicky in the basement flat. He’s a driving instructor who is currently teaching Freya to drive. Could he be hiding things from Vicky and why is he suspected of being involved? - Emma lives on the ground floor and after Zeb has moved out, is feeling lonely and in despair. She often hears the Harlow’s talking from upstairs and realises things are amiss but is it possible she too, could hold the key to Freya’s disappearance? - We also have intermittent chapters from twenty five years ago, told by a young girl called Kate, who has concerns about her mother’s boyfriend. Emma was my favourite character, although I enjoyed reading about them all, especially Kate’s story, which was a particularly intriguing domestic plot line. I really did love this book and for a debut author to capture the attention of a reader with a tight plot and engaging narrative is no mean feat. Helen has surpassed all the goals for a successful novel and in my opinion writes with the confidence and flare of a mainstream big name author. Exceedingly clever in how the story seamlessly ties together and with a tense denouement accompanying twists and turns, this story really does grab your curiosity. How well can we really trust those closest to us? “The Downstairs Neighbour” is a story of families guarding secrets and burying their pasts, believing their lives to be untouchable. This book is a real winner and I’d happily recommend this author and her entertaining book and I’ll certainly be following her again in the future. 5 stars

  14. 5 out of 5

    Thais • tata.lifepages •

    This book is a fast paced thriller that had me hooked from the start! A loving couple goes through a horribly scary situation when their teenage daughter, Freya, vanishes, and they don't know what to do. The Downstairs Neighbor is told in two different timelines: one of Paul and his wife Steph in our current time in England, where their daughter is taken and the residents of their building all become mixed together as potential suspects of her disappearance. The second timeline is of another fam This book is a fast paced thriller that had me hooked from the start! A loving couple goes through a horribly scary situation when their teenage daughter, Freya, vanishes, and they don't know what to do. The Downstairs Neighbor is told in two different timelines: one of Paul and his wife Steph in our current time in England, where their daughter is taken and the residents of their building all become mixed together as potential suspects of her disappearance. The second timeline is of another family 25 years before these occurrences, exposing dark secrets of Kate and her mom. I knew that these two stories were intertwined somehow, and was anxious to see how everything would link! The author has really written a very elaborate and action-packed read that had my eyes glued to the pages! The mystery between these two different families years apart was thrilling and had me rooting for a happy end for both once their destiny meets. Thank you to Hodder Books for providing me a copy for review!

  15. 4 out of 5

    K.L. Slater

    The unrelenting tension of this well-crafted debut kept me whizzing through the book, eager to discover exactly what had happened to Freya and whether the intriguing neighbours had anything to do with it. Loved the tension, the secrets and the satisfying, unexpected conclusion. Recommended!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kirsti

    This got rave reviews in Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist. So I thought I'd give it a try. It was fun! Very twisty, but with some sharp prose, and nearly every character has an interesting backstory. I guessed one subplot but wasn't able to figure out how everything fit together. I would have been angry if I figured out the whole thing before the end. This got rave reviews in Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist. So I thought I'd give it a try. It was fun! Very twisty, but with some sharp prose, and nearly every character has an interesting backstory. I guessed one subplot but wasn't able to figure out how everything fit together. I would have been angry if I figured out the whole thing before the end.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Bridgeman

    I loved it! There we are, short review, that's all you need to know , right? It's twisty like a hairpin road, it's thrilling like a rollercoaster ride and satsifyingly concluded in all the best ways. Who, even , is the downstairs neighbour? And can we take a moment to applaud the awesome cover design which is retro and also deeply chilling? As Helen moves her characters around her chessboard of a novel, point after point is scored against the reader who desperately scrambles to keep up with a compli I loved it! There we are, short review, that's all you need to know , right? It's twisty like a hairpin road, it's thrilling like a rollercoaster ride and satsifyingly concluded in all the best ways. Who, even , is the downstairs neighbour? And can we take a moment to applaud the awesome cover design which is retro and also deeply chilling? As Helen moves her characters around her chessboard of a novel, point after point is scored against the reader who desperately scrambles to keep up with a complicated plot. The nieghbours who live upstairs, are Steph, Paul and teen daughter Freya, downstairs lives Emma and in the basement are Vicky and Chris. All happily going about their business , awkwardly smiling in the hall as they pick up post, pass each other on the stairs and so on. Until Freya goes missing and some rather ugly secrets are brought to light by the ensuing search. Someone in that house is not what they seem, someone knows more than what they are saying and someone is about to pay the price for another's mistake. As the police search turns from a missing girl to the hunt for a body, a ghost raises its head and tells the story of a catastrohic mistake. Alternating between now and then, the multiple narrators give the book a feeling of urgency that drives the reader on past a sensible hour and into the early part of the morning. But hey! No regrets!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Fictionophile

    Wow! If this is Helen Cooper's debut novel, I'm eager to see what she comes up with next. This is definitely a debut that does not read like one. Polished, well-plotted, and with believable characters, it presents as the work of a much more seasoned novelist. Teeming with secrets, the inhabitants of this house in Kingston-Upon-Thames, have made many mistakes. Not malicious, but mistakes born from misunderstandings, guilt, and misguided, life-altering decisions. With themes of deception, family sec Wow! If this is Helen Cooper's debut novel, I'm eager to see what she comes up with next. This is definitely a debut that does not read like one. Polished, well-plotted, and with believable characters, it presents as the work of a much more seasoned novelist. Teeming with secrets, the inhabitants of this house in Kingston-Upon-Thames, have made many mistakes. Not malicious, but mistakes born from misunderstandings, guilt, and misguided, life-altering decisions. With themes of deception, family secrets, sacrifice, and making disastrous choices, this novel is ingeniously plotted and alarmingly realistic. Highly, highly, recommended to those readers who enjoy intelligently plotted domestic thrillers.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    You never really know your eighbors do you? The Downstairs Neighbor has intrigue, mystery, deception, and lots of unanswered questions. It was a decent read, although there were a lot of people to keep straight. My attention did wane at various intervals throughout the book. Thanks to Edelweiss and G.P. Putnam's Sons for the early read. You never really know your eighbors do you? The Downstairs Neighbor has intrigue, mystery, deception, and lots of unanswered questions. It was a decent read, although there were a lot of people to keep straight. My attention did wane at various intervals throughout the book. Thanks to Edelweiss and G.P. Putnam's Sons for the early read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Hall

    An unexpectedly compelling debut, The Downstairs Neighbour gives readers a rather different take on the story of a missing teenager that sees every resident in the Georgian townhouse where she lives revisiting their past mistakes and long-held secrets. Setting off at a relentless pace that never falters with an array of different perspectives the story is set in Kingston upon Thames and opens with Steph and Paul Harlow’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Freya, failing to return home from school. Whe An unexpectedly compelling debut, The Downstairs Neighbour gives readers a rather different take on the story of a missing teenager that sees every resident in the Georgian townhouse where she lives revisiting their past mistakes and long-held secrets. Setting off at a relentless pace that never falters with an array of different perspectives the story is set in Kingston upon Thames and opens with Steph and Paul Harlow’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Freya, failing to return home from school. When the police ask the Harlow’s if they have any enemies it sees the married couple thrown into turmoil and fearing that the secrets they have chosen not to reveal could well be behind Freya’s disappearance. With neither of the couple having explicitly revealed the full extent of their histories they find themselves thrust into a race against time to locate their daughter, with Paul quick to assume that his former career as a detective is to blame and Steph left nursing her own secret. As the news of Freya’s disappearance ripples through the townhouse it unsettles a lonely Emma on the ground floor whose vintage clothing store has just folded and now spends her days indoors, hearing every noise from the family upstairs. With Freya’s driving instructor, Chris Watson, living in the basement flat with his wife and the last to see the self-assured teenager following a lesson it presents uncomfortable issues for all of the occupants in one way or another. Each of them is soon drawn into the mystery of Freya’s disappearance, immediately disrupting all of their lives and the third-person perspective of Steph, Paul, Emma and Chris rotates throughout. Cooper excels at gradually peeling back the layers and revealing everything from the lies they have built their life on right down to the dirty little secrets. Alongside the present day action runs a second narrative from twenty-five years earlier of teenager Kate living with her single mum and taking a dislike to her new boyfriend. When and how the two timelines coalesce, and the implications of Kate’s story on Freya’s disappearance, are drawn out brilliantly in a tightly plotted story with almost every chapter disclosing one secret or questionable decision after another. It takes an accomplished writer to combine the perspectives of multiple distinctive characters, all with credible backstories and Helen Cooper’s debut had me guessing all the way. I could envisage all of the characters in the house and whilst I can’t say I really liked any of them, or was particularly invested in Freya’s fate, the constant tension had me whizzing through the pages. Throughout the novel Freya is not just a name but a character and what the story does well is give a fantastic insight into the kind of girl she is and also what she might be capable of. The reveals are plentiful and more importantly pretty plausible with some relatively trivial in the scheme of things and the author resisting going for the far-fetched and possibly easier option. Whilst occasional things didn’t ring true, such as the ease with which Paul delved back into a police investigation, this was a minor niggle in a very impressive and slick debut.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Ryles

    The Downstairs Neighbour is a very addictive and captivating debut from Helen Cooper, filled with characters who all have something to hide. Nobody is who they appear to be and I felt like a bit of a nosy neighbour myself when I was reading, peeking through my curtains and making assumptions about each and every one of them. With chapters told from various characters' viewpoints, Helen Cooper has created a right page-turner. Interspersed between the chapters following Freya's disappearance, there The Downstairs Neighbour is a very addictive and captivating debut from Helen Cooper, filled with characters who all have something to hide. Nobody is who they appear to be and I felt like a bit of a nosy neighbour myself when I was reading, peeking through my curtains and making assumptions about each and every one of them. With chapters told from various characters' viewpoints, Helen Cooper has created a right page-turner. Interspersed between the chapters following Freya's disappearance, there are heart-rending chapters from 25 years earlier told from the perspective of a girl called Kate. I was as equally intrigued by the past storyline as I was by the present and although you know it has to link to one of the characters somehow, you need to scratch well below the surface to discover all of the well-buried secrets. Very well written with heaps of suspense, The Downstairs Neighbour is a definite page turner. As if Freya's disappearance wasn't enough of a hook, I was completely enthralled by the characters' stories and couldn't read fast enough to discover all of their secrets. The tension mounted to an almost unbearable level as I raced towards the breathtaking conclusion and I finally released the breath that I didn't realise I had been holding. Reading The Downstairs Neighbour really made me think about how little we know our neighbours these days. Neighbours don't pop round to borrow a cup of sugar anymore and we barely even know our neighbours' names, let alone know anything about them. It's quite a scary thought to think that we could know as little about the person with whom we are living. With a twisty fast-paced plot and filled to the brim with secrets, The Downstairs Neighbour is a superb debut novel that left me completely breathless. An extremely enjoyable and highly recommended read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mysia Thatcher

    This is a really good story, full of twists and characters with secrets. I enjoyed the plot, but some elements of the author’s writing style made it difficult to read. First of all, this is written from multiple points of view, which I normally like, but this book has five, a bit too many to keep up with easily. To further complicate things, all of them are written in the third person, except for one, which is written in first person. And that one POV is also the only one that takes place in the This is a really good story, full of twists and characters with secrets. I enjoyed the plot, but some elements of the author’s writing style made it difficult to read. First of all, this is written from multiple points of view, which I normally like, but this book has five, a bit too many to keep up with easily. To further complicate things, all of them are written in the third person, except for one, which is written in first person. And that one POV is also the only one that takes place in the past. Secondly, there is a lot of past perfect tense, which I find difficult to read. Since four of the POVs are in third person, they’re written in past tense. (He walked in and saw her jacket.) But the author uses the characters’ memories to reveal their secrets, so they have to be written in past perfect (He’d bought her that jacket when they’d been vacationing on the coast. She’d loved it at first sight, and he’d been pleased to see how happy it had made her.) These are not quotes from the book, just made-up sentences to illustrate my meaning. Some readers might have no problem with this extensive use of the past perfect tense, but I found it difficult to read and actually resorted to rewording it in my mind into the normal past tense. All of that being said, the plot, with its surprising twists and turns, was enough to keep me reading, hence the four stars.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Danni

    This book was insanely gripping, and I found myself finding excuses simply to carry on reading it! There is a reason it was 4 stars rather than 5 - but more on that later. Reasons to read this book: 1) the characters are genuinely full and wholesome. The nuance to all the characters was impeccably explored even though this was a plot driven narrative 2) The paciNG WAS faNtaStiC. I was so worried that she would rush the ending because there were so many aspects and secrets yo unmask, but the pacin This book was insanely gripping, and I found myself finding excuses simply to carry on reading it! There is a reason it was 4 stars rather than 5 - but more on that later. Reasons to read this book: 1) the characters are genuinely full and wholesome. The nuance to all the characters was impeccably explored even though this was a plot driven narrative 2) The paciNG WAS faNtaStiC. I was so worried that she would rush the ending because there were so many aspects and secrets yo unmask, but the pacing was almost flawless. 3) the plot came together brilliantly! Although not the most original and exciting ending, the narrative was told in a way that made the book super exciting! This brings me onto the reason it didn’t earn a 5 star rating - I feel like I could tell that this was a debut novel. Not because it was badly written, however, it doesn’t ooze experience as many other mystery/thrillers I’ve read do. Some areas are a little teeny bit try-hard, but this is me being fussy. I loved this book a lot and will definitely look out for more by Helen Cooper!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brittany S.

    Read Completed 2/26/21 | 4.5 stars This was a little gem of a thriller for me! It hit so many things that I love in a thriller including a fast start with immediate interest, secrets upon secrets, many twists and reveals, and an ending that just keeps going. I was supremely engaged the whole time and was riveted to see how all the different points of view connected (with many wrong guesses). It was so interesting to see this book unravel in order to connect. There are only a couple of minor thing Read Completed 2/26/21 | 4.5 stars This was a little gem of a thriller for me! It hit so many things that I love in a thriller including a fast start with immediate interest, secrets upon secrets, many twists and reveals, and an ending that just keeps going. I was supremely engaged the whole time and was riveted to see how all the different points of view connected (with many wrong guesses). It was so interesting to see this book unravel in order to connect. There are only a couple of minor things I might pick at but really, I enjoyed this book from the second I started listening. There is a ton to unpack from every character and Helen Cooper did a great job at slowly unraveling those stories, giving just enough away to keep the reader guessing and asking questions. I thought just one more thing could have gotten resolved and/or connected to really round out the book but that was about the only piece that was left hanging. Rounding up on star rating for the inability to put it down.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    The entire book is predicated on every single character making catastrophically stupid decisions in an effort to keep things secret that shouldn’t have been secrets. I always struggle with books or visual media that have this as their basis because it’s just so annoying. TALK TO EACH OTHER for crying out loud. Communication is such an easy concept but hard in action I guess. So for me, the book immediately drops down because of that. We had all sorts of random side stories that really didn’t need The entire book is predicated on every single character making catastrophically stupid decisions in an effort to keep things secret that shouldn’t have been secrets. I always struggle with books or visual media that have this as their basis because it’s just so annoying. TALK TO EACH OTHER for crying out loud. Communication is such an easy concept but hard in action I guess. So for me, the book immediately drops down because of that. We had all sorts of random side stories that really didn’t need to be part of the drama, except the author needed to have reasons for characters keeping secrets. While I understand it, I don’t particularly love it. That said, I still enjoyed the overarching plot enough to finish this fairly quickly. It was fun seeing what happened to Freya, although I’m a little upset that the people who wronged someone else most egregiously didn’t get their comeuppance. True to life I suppose, but still left be grumbling.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gail M

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I am rethinking this rating (originally 2.5 stars) after contemplating the story overnight. Amazing that so many characters with so many secrets could all be so closely entangled. A circuitous, messy plot, somehow straightened out by the end, but more than hard to believe. However, the resolution leaves us with three people, a husband who destroyed the lives of two other people, a wife who has acted unconscionably, destroying another person's life by her failure to admit to her crime, and a daug I am rethinking this rating (originally 2.5 stars) after contemplating the story overnight. Amazing that so many characters with so many secrets could all be so closely entangled. A circuitous, messy plot, somehow straightened out by the end, but more than hard to believe. However, the resolution leaves us with three people, a husband who destroyed the lives of two other people, a wife who has acted unconscionably, destroying another person's life by her failure to admit to her crime, and a daughter, ostensibly a "nice" teenager, who is already blackmailing and coercing others. This "happy ending" reunites them (amazingly, see above) and proclaims that their new honesty will allow them to be a happy family. Disturbing on so many levels.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Meghan Moore

    There are a lot of layers in this book. Liked it!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Extremely slow and boring. The end reveal was not worth trudging through the pages.

  29. 4 out of 5

    April Engels

    It was a slow and boring read halfway through the book. The suspense surrounding a missing teenager girl is what keeps you going. Her disappearance is told through a series of montages from other characters back stories and are woven together to solve the mystery.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    I rarely ever write reviews on here, and in fact, this won't be one - I will write a proper review over on instagram. There's just something I needed to say... I did enjoy this book - though fairly similar to a lot of domestic thrillers - I think Helen Cooper did a great job keeping her readers invested in this page-turner. However, it lost a star for the mentions of Harry Potter. I love those books too, but in this day and age, there's really no need to shine any light on Rowling given her behavi I rarely ever write reviews on here, and in fact, this won't be one - I will write a proper review over on instagram. There's just something I needed to say... I did enjoy this book - though fairly similar to a lot of domestic thrillers - I think Helen Cooper did a great job keeping her readers invested in this page-turner. However, it lost a star for the mentions of Harry Potter. I love those books too, but in this day and age, there's really no need to shine any light on Rowling given her behaviour towards the trans community. I think any beloved children's book would've had the same effect the author was going for.

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