Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for the ARC. It hasn’t affected the contents of my review.
I was a bit iffy on this one to start, because the premise and how it was being executed seemed really thin. But you should know before you read this, it’s not really a book about a woman who thinks her next door neighbor is a serial killer, despite what the blurb says. The serial killer thing is a metaphor. I really ended up liking it after my initial trepidation. And it’s funny!
Phoebe has temporarily relocated to Florida to help her younger brother clean out their childhood home after the death of their father, who Phoebe was estranged from. She is a graduate student about to defend her PhD, which centers on true crime as a literary genre, and Phoebe is truly a huge nerd about this subject. She’s always spouting off facts about books she’s read and TV specials she’s seen, and she knows all the Do’s and Do Not’s to avoid being serial-killed. One of my favorite parts of the book was her constantly and casually just bringing up morbid shit during otherwise normal conversations and the people around her just sort of lovingly tolerating it.
But anyway, so I mentioned above that this isn’t really a book about a woman who thinks her hot next door neighbor is a serial killer and then somehow falls in love with him anyway. This is really not that book. She thinks Sam is a serial killer for about five minutes, and everyone acknowledges her obsession with his behavior is both a distraction for herself as she comes to terms with the changes in her life, and part of the everyday walls she builds up between herself and other people. Once you realize that’s what’s actually going on, and she’s not paranoid, the book becomes a joy to read. I loved her relationship with her brother, loved watching her open herself back up to friendship and love, and I loved loved loved the chemistry between her and Sam, the next door neighbor, who is a shy cinnamon roll of a man.
This is a really good romance and also a character study, but if you happen to love both romance AND true crime, I highly recommend buying it or reserving it at your library, because it’s quite a good time. I felt seen in a sort of uncomfortable way, but also heart-warmed. There’s also a cat.
Chipping Away at Mt. TBR, July 2022—Book 2/31
CBR BINGO: Time
I went for the easy option here . . . Time is in the title.