Saturday, 19 August 2017

THE PEOPLE AT NUMBER 9 - by Felicity Everett

THE PEOPLE AT NUMBER 9 - Felicity Everett
Published: 2017 - by HQ.
Pages: 315.
Genres: Adult / mystery / thriller / contemporary fiction
Triggers/Content Advisory: There are a number of explicit sex scenes.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Jonathan Ball SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
Have you met them yet, the new couple? When Gav and Lou move into the house next door, Sara spends days plucking up courage to say hello. The neighbours are glamorous, chaotic and just a little eccentric. They make the rest of Sara's street seem dull by comparison. When the hand of friendship is extended, Sara is delighted and flattered. Incredibly, Gav and Lou seem to see something in Sara and Neil that they admire too. In no time at all, the two couples are soulmates, sharing suppers, bottles of red wine and childcare, laughing and trading stories and secrets late into the night in one another's houses. And the more time Sara spends with Gav and Lou, the more she longs to make changes in her own life. But those changes will come at a price. Soon Gav and Lou will be asking things they've no right to ask of their neighbours, with shattering consequences for all of them...


This blurb promises a delicious thriller. I love the subtext, the creeping tension, the juicy foreboding, and not to mention the irresistible theme of complicated relationship dynamics.
I did enjoy the book, although overall I was disappointed.


But the writing is good. It flows at a comfortable pace, and the suspense - although understated - is always there; quiet and subtle. It's never boring, however I do think it needs more drive. It lacks urgency.
There are also a ton of details sprinkled throughout the story, and most of them appear extremely significant the way the author draws your attention to the smallest thing. But when the ending comes, none of those details actually contribute to the final twist!
I felt cheated.

Then there's the climax. What is supposed to be a huge twist and shocking moment, just. Falls. Flat. The twist is so underwhelming and 'meh' that I felt like saying out loud: "That's the best you could do? That's supposed to shock me?"
It didn't shock me, it didn't make me feel anything, and it didn't take everything that had been building before it to a satisfying clash. Throughout the book, it's clear that the characters are getting riled and that tensions are climbing, but at the end everything just flops quietly downhill without a blow-out confrontation of any kind. It's too mild and easy.

"The thing is, Sara, writing's scary. You have to be prepared to go deep......And when your brain's shouting, 'No, no, no, I'm not going to think that thought; it's too dirty, it's too scary, it's too painful,' that's when you must make yourself think it and make yourself write it."

You must push through the negativity and self-criticism that dam up your creativity and just let it flow. Be your authentic self. Write or sing or dance or paint with your whole being, without guardedness or cynicism and without trying to second-guess an audience.

"Writing isn't something you can tinker with on the sidelines. It's a serious commitment, or it's nothing. Why do you think I'm up in the middle of the night? It's not because my creative juices flow better at two in the morning, I can tell you. It's the only time I can b***** carve out. Is it any wonder my writing's s***? Is it any wonder I've got an inbox full of rejections? I'm an amateur, Neil, and I write like one. To be a proper artist, you've got to make sacrifices. You've got to be prepared for your work to eat you alive - and for it to eat everyone around you alive."
(I love those quotes ↑↑. I usually don't like it when an author makes one of her characters a writer, but I think it works in this book. And I found those above quotes so empowering and relatable).  


I liked the characters. They're all original, vivid, flawed, and fascinating. Sara's my favourite, and I adored her personality; flaws and all. She's the main point-of-view character, and I enjoyed seeing the story unfold through her eyes.
I loved the tension and conflict between the couples. Every scene when they're all together is absolutely delicious and rife with seething feelings and heated subtext. The awkwardness, the tension, the lust, the conflict.....Everett nails it. She handles the scenes between the couples superbly.
The characters deserved more than that cop-out ending.



The People At Number 9 is a wonderful and entertaining story with vivid characters and excellent conflict between them.
But as a thriller, it doesn't deliver.


4 comments:

  1. So sad, since the " delivery " like you beautifully called it, is very important! Together with good characters of course.. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love vivid original characters; that and a well-built climax is really what makes a book stand out.

    xoxo Abigail Lennah | ups & downs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True :)
      Thanks for stopping by, Abby!

      Delete

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