I can easily admit that The Couple Next Door by Rick R. Reed is perhaps the best psychological thriller I have ever read. In a nut shell, this story was insanely fast paced with multiple twists and turns, introduced the creepiest of characters who have so many skeletons in their closet it makes you afraid to dare think of what may be revealed next, and delivers a stunning climax that left me white knuckled and fearful of the outcome. In short, this was one wild ride that left me marveling at the consummate writing skills of an author who is outstanding in the m/m genre.
The little I can tell you about this incredible novel without giving too much of the story away is this: Jeremy Booth managed to grow up a normal man amidst the abuse of an angry father. From an early age he was a shield—nurturing and caring for a mother who could never leave the husband who used his fists with regularity to show her where her place was in their marriage. Now, having moved clear across country and scraping by running his own one man cleaning company, Jeremy wants little more in life than someone to love—a boyfriend to ease the loneliness he so often feels.
Returning from yet another blind date, Jeremy witnesses a horrific “accident” that involves new neighbors who have just moved into the apartment next to his. Against his better judgment, but unable to quell the inner man who needs to save those he senses are victims in need, Jeremy steps in to help the man who literally falls to his feet, Shane McCallister. What Jeremy does not realize is that by stepping in to “save” Shane, he has opened the door to much more than neighborly help. In fact, unknowingly he has ushered into his life a form of evil more virulent than the plague and just as deadly. However, he has also welcomed in a love that will sustain him in the darkest of moments.
First, I should admit that I stayed up into the wee hours of the morn reading this book. I couldn’t help myself, I was utterly hooked and simply unable to put it down without knowing how it would end. Much like the rich and amazingly well written main character, Jeremy, I found myself horrified at the final twist in this story and, hence, never approached an epilogue with more relief in my life. Shane captivated me from the start, as did Jeremy. In many ways both were lost souls who needed saving, but what they endured to get to that place was chilling to read about to say the least. Written with such attention to detail and fully fleshed out so as to give them both such realistic personas, not once did I think these two were merely characters in a book—no these were flesh and blood men whom I feared would come to harm before the novel ended.
This was a story that gripped the senses and kept the mind whirling with each new revelation. In turns creepy and dangerous, the way in which Reed laid out the plot reminded me of an old Hitchcock story where nothing was as it seemed and you were pretty sure you should not be reading it in the dark. Still you could not turn away from these characters who tore at your heart and in whom you became totally invested, worried for their lives, wondering if they were going to survive, and hoping like hell that your heart could take one more surprise twist in the story you were hungrily devouring.
Dear reader, I desperately wish I could give your more insight into this magnificent story, but to do so would truly ruin your own reading of the same. Suffice it to say that this is one of the best novels of 2015 and guaranteed to make this author an auto-buy for many a fan. The Couple Next Door is a stunning tale that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat; I highly recommend it to you.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.