Sunday, January 29, 2023

 Dear Great Book Guru, I was at a family reunion in Point Lookout last weekend and lots of my cousins were talking about a novel set on Long Island and particularly Garden City.  Are you familiar with the book and-if so- would you recommend it?  Fan of Local Locales

Dear Friend of Local Locales, GOOD NEIGHBORS by Sarah Langan, was a delightful find, indeed.  It opens on Maple Avenue in Garden City, in a kind of cul-de-sac where all the neighbors know all there is to know about each other…or so it seems. Block parties, cookie swaps, baseball pickup games - all these things and more unite the families.  When Arlo and Gertie Wilde move from Brooklyn, they are embraced by all, especially Rhea Schroeder – the acknowledged neighborhood leader.  A few months after their move, the newcomers are suddenly shunned, first by Rhea and then eventually all the residents of Maple Avenue. Mysteriously a sinkhole then develops in a nearby park; a sense of dread envelops all the families and reaches a climax when Rhea’s daughter Shelly falls into this muddy abyss.  We know from the opening pages set twenty years in the future that a murder has occurred but who and how is not revealed until the closing pages. Throughout, we see this veneer of utopian, civilized life gradually stripped away to reveal an underbelly of hypocrisy, greed, and hatred in wildly improbable ways. Definitely a page-turner and a great start to the new year - highly recommended!

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