The People Next Door: A Novel of Suspense

Caroline Crane, Author Dodd Mead $15.45 (213p) ISBN 978-0-396-09240-7
This cumbersome and slow-moving novel by the author of Summer Girl follows an irrational course through Luna Beach, a Long Island resort town plagued with rampant infidelity, unfettered gossip and unsolved burglaries, and disturbed by the mysterious and unresolved death of a three-year-old boy one year earlier. When Debra Gillis and her difficut family (a hostile step-daughter, a philandering husband, a spoiled and truculent two-year-old son, Drew) move to Luna Beach, they are greeted with active dislike by their landlady. This unpleasant woman, who lives next door, has her own problems: an unfaithful husband and a severely brain-damaged son, Billy. Debra's adolescent stepdaughter Gigi soon becomes deeply involved with handsome drug pusher Todd Jorgenson. Debra's husband Kurt, a professor at the local college, begins an affair with a colleague, and Debra starts to worry about the unsolved murder of the little boy, particularly since Todd has made some menacing remarks about Drew. Issues of why Billy is brain damaged and what Todd really intends to do with Drew come to a climax in a lengthy, frenzied, incoherent and inconclusive finale. Pallid characters add to this book's considerable burdens. Doubleday Book Club alternate. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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