Book Review of The Girl Next Door

The Girl Next Door
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Helpful Score: 2

"The Girl Next Door," by Patricia MacDonald, is about a terrible act of violence that tears a family apart. Marsha Avery is the mother of three children, Nina, Patrick, and James, and the wife of Duncan, a respected physician. When Marsha is brutally murdered by an unknown assailant, Duncan is convicted and sent to prison. Although he has professed his innocence throughout the years, Nina is the only one who believes him.

Years pass, and when Duncan becomes eligible for parole, he is a broken man. He has been stripped of his medical license, and he lacks the friendships, money, and prestige that he once took for granted. His two sons are reluctant to associate with him. Only Nina has remained loyal and steadfast throughout the many years that her father has been in prison. Nina is horrified when her father tells her that he wants to return to the New Jersey suburb where her mother was killed. He insists that he needs to find out who really killed Marsha Avery. Duncan's fateful decision leads to unexpected and chilling consequences.

"The Girl Next Door" is a suspenseful psychological thriller that is hard to put down. The characters are nicely depicted, especially Nina Avery, the dutiful daughter who supports her father when everyone else has abandoned him. The plot is engrossing, with violence, romance, and enough surprising twists and turns to keep even the most clever reader guessing until the surprising, albeit melodramatic, conclusion. If you like intricate page-turners, pick up this fast-moving and exciting novel.