Good Neighbors

Cover of Good Neighbors, A Novel by Sarah Langan

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Synopsis:

Welcome to Maple Street, a picture-perfect slice of suburban Long Island, its residents bound by their children, their work, and their illusion of safety in a rapidly changing world.

Arlo Wilde, a gruff has-been rock star who’s got nothing to show for his fame but track marks, is always two steps behind the other dads. His wife, beautiful ex-pageant queen Gertie, feels socially ostracized and adrift. Spunky preteen Julie curses like a sailor and her kid brother Larry is called “Robot Boy” by the kids on the block.

Their next-door neighbor and Maple Street’s Queen Bee, Rhea Schroeder—a lonely community college professor repressing a dark past—welcomes Gertie and family into the fold. Then, during one spritzer-fueled summer evening, the new best friends share too much, too soon.

As tensions mount, a sinkhole opens in a nearby park, and Rhea’s daughter Shelly falls inside. The search for Shelly brings a shocking accusation against the Wildes that spins out of control. Suddenly, it is one mom’s word against the other’s in a court of public opinion that can end only in blood.

A riveting and ruthless portrayal of American suburbia, Good Neighbors excavates the perils and betrayals of motherhood and friendships and the dangerous clash between social hierarchy, childhood trauma, and fear.

Advance Praise for Good Neighbors:

“A modern-day Crucible, Good Neighbors brilliantly explores the ease with which a careless word can wreak havoc and the terrifying power of mob mentality. Beneath the surface of a suburban utopia, madness lurks. The veneer of civility among close neighbors disguises hypocrisy, envy, and hatred. Langan deftly unveils the psychology behind her character’s actions with blistering prose and spot-on depictions. She is a writer to watch!”

—Liv Constantine, bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish

“Good Neighbors is a riveting critique of American suburbia. Langan deftly confronts social mores and beliefs as she tears all the ugliness down to make something dangerous and beautiful. The monsters of Maple Street have never been so us.”

—Paul Tremblay, author of Survivor Song

“Good Neighbors is a wickedly funny, unnerving puzzle box of a novel. Sarah Langan has a delightfully twisted sensibility.”

—Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will

“In Sarah Langan’s amazing, riveting Good Neighbors, we sift through the wreckage of a neighborhood, trying to make sense of the violence and hidden darkness of a small community in the aftermath of disaster. Langan is an inventive, confident writer, with such a sharp sense of humor, and she so deftly handles the complex ways in which we find ourselves inextricably linked to each other, how little it takes to push us over the edge. A chilling, compulsively readable novel that looks toward the future in order to help us understand how we live now.”

—Kevin Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Nothing to See Here

“Sarah Langan is a phenomenal talent with a wicked sense of wry humor. Good Neighbors knocked me out. Like Shirley Jackson’s novels, Langan’s work blends a bleak streak with an underlying sense of the humane that wrung my heart.”

—Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling

“Good Neighbors was such a fun read—fun in a brilliant, twisted, dark, compulsive-reading kind of way! I loved the structure of it, with the little hints Langan threw my way about the Maple Street Murders—I just had to keep reading, because I had to know what happened. She is so good at showing how the idle gossip of suburbia can turn darker, malevolent, and downright dangerous. Wonderful stuff!”

—Claire Fuller, author of Bitter Orange

“You have to read Good Neighbors. Through Langan’s gift for mood and setting, I was absolutely transported to Maple Street—I feel like I lived in this book, walked in it, dreamed in it. The characters were strikingly real and I was utterly invested in their individual journeys. All of it—the characters, the setting, the sinkhole, the heat—made this book the masterpiece that it is. Real and sad and almost painfully moving, Good Neighbors is a novel I will never forget.”

—Sally Hepworth, bestselling author of The Mother-in-Law

“In the wonderfully inventive Good Neighbors, Sarah Langan takes her readers on a wild ride through suburbia. As sinkholes open and rumours rise, I couldn’t stop turning the pages to find out what new terrible event would befall these fascinating characters, each with a secret sorrow. A gripping read.”

—Margot Livesey, New York Times bestselling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy and The Boy in the Field

“A brilliant story. I was completely absorbed by the world Sarah Langan created. The interspersing of the media excerpts was inspired and my interest was piqued and then my assumptions were blown away by the end. I even felt a little sorry for the monster that is Rhea. Clever, arresting and thought-provoking, Good Neighbors gripped hold of me like the best kind of thriller.”

—Melanie Golding, author of Little Darlings

“The monsters aren’t just coming to Maple Street, they’re already here.”

—Stephen Graham Jones, author of The Only Good Indians