A compulsively readable debut crime novel inspired by the legendary real-life murder of Kitty Genovese
At 4:00 A.M. on March 13, 1964, a young woman returning home from her shift at a local bar is attacked in the courtyard of her Queens apartment building. Her neighbors hear her cries; no one calls for help.
Unfolding over the course of two hours, Good Neighbors is the story of the woman's last night. It is also the story of her neighbors, the bystanders who kept to themselves: the anxious Vietnam draftee; the former soldier planning suicide; the woman who thinks she's killed a child and her husband, who will risk everything for her. Revealing a fascinating cross-section of American society in expertly interlocking plotlines, Good Neighbors calls to mind the Oscar-winning movie Crash, and its suspense and profound sense of urban menace rank it with Hitchcock's Rear Window and the gritty crime novels of Dennis Lehane, Richard Price, and James Ellroy.
For his crime novel debut (which won the CWA John Creasy Dagger Award), Jahn fictionalizes the horrific 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese, whose cries for help during a lengthy stabbing assault went unanswered, but the execution falls a bit short of the intriguing concept. When Katrina Marino returns late one night to her Queens apartment complex from her bar job, a man attacks her in the building's courtyard with a knife. Kat's neighbors hear her screams, but no one bothers to call the police, assuming someone else already has. The intersection of the lives of the people who witness the crime will call to mind films such as Crash, but some readers will wish that the author had explored what led to their fatal indifference. The horror of their apathy occasionally comes through as when one character turns from his window to mix a drink but given the raw material to work with, the overall impact is less disturbing than it could have been.
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Excellent book. I didn't want it to end. I like how the story was told through different perspectives. I couldn't put it down.