Lockwood family just moved into their new home at 25 The Avenue. The beginning of the story never reveals the reason why they moved to a suburb which has already had several murders that occurred in the past but hinted that it was Olivia's fault. Garrick is happy that they can get the house at such a low price and hope they can make a fortune when they sell it in the future.
Dessie is a make-up artist and lives with her boyfriend Fletcher at 26 The Avenue. Fletcher likes to spend time with his telescope observing stars but also struggling with his inner desire. Dessie always wants to go for a holiday with Fletcher, but he always seems hesitant. This is because Fletcher is not Fletcher. He just changed his name a few months before he moved in to live with Dessie. Fletcher's real name is Benjamin Turner. Who is Benjamin? And why he changed his name?
Audrina lives with her husband Cooper at 27 The Avenue. Their son had run away several years ago, and Audrina misses him every day. Their house is just next to the Lockwood family.
Trefor is a doll maker and lives alone at 32 The Avenue. After his wife left him, neighbourhood kids are teasing him that he murdered his wife. Trefor is a very private person and the neighbours never seen his wife around anymore, which leads to the speculation of the murder.
The latest victim of the murder is a police officer named Adam. His wife Wildeve is investigating his death which has a connection with other previous murders. The victims' faces are painted, and their eyes are gouged. They give the killer a name, 'The Doll Maker'.
The entire story was told by an unknown narrator who lives at The Avenue. The narrator, who is the serial killer, also knows every neighbour's secret. He or she even knows Olivia's past affair with a younger man and her husband Garrick still wondering whether he should stay in their marriage. The narrator tells his or her unhappy childhood memories with the adoptive mother Birdie and how they move to this suburb. The narrator also shares his or her stories about obsession killing and witnessing the victims' last moments before their death.
To be honest, the plot is intriguing, and it's a great storyline. Unfortunately, the writing style is not my cup of tea. I feel confused when reading the story because it it keeps switching between different time, current and other dates. And the story tells the secrets of different families at The Avenue. As I continued reading it, I was confused and mixed up with the families and the house number. Also, the story wasn't told straightforwardly. Maybe other readers will like the mysterious writing style, but for me, it seems a lot of things happening at the same time. I have to keep myself busy with multiple tasks when reading the story. I have to catch up with the development of each family, the past history of the family, the date and time, the house address, and I have to crack the author's hidden meaning behind the words. A bit too much for me.
- Detective French wants to get promoted with a big pay, and Trefor Lovell is his lead. He goes to Trefor's house before waiting for the squad and the warrant. When he found a woman's body in the spare room, he was hit by Trefor, and he goes unconscious.
- Trefor's wife Annie had died a few months ago due to bone cancer. It wasn't intentional to keep her body at first, but he soon used to talk to her of his loneliness and grief. As the weeks had passed, he uses his skill with the paintbrush to preserve her face.
- Dessie tries to search for Benjamin Turner (real name of Fletcher) online. She finds out Benjamin Turner is a pharmacist who was caught spying on women with a telescope between 2011 - 2012 and was sentenced to a three-year community order. He was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for five years. He was sacked from his job in March.
- When the kids try to set a fire on Trevor's doll shop, one of the teenage boys got shot by a gun. Evan's sister, who is also there saw Adam's badge is in the shop.
- All the evidence go against Trefor, but he claims that he is innocent. Everyone assumes that the doll shop belongs to him, but he is just a tenant. The landlord of the shop is Audrina and Cooper.
- The ending of the story reveals that the real killer is Audrina. She fills the raisins with the poison, a poisonous plant which she grows at the back of the garden. She used raisins for the cakes. She convinced Cooper to kill Birdie. Natalie Tiernan discovered Birdie's body in the shop when she was a kid during the shop's grand opening. They killed their son as well because he asked them to go to the police to surrender themselves. They killed Adam because he knows there is a connection between the missing of their son (also his childhood friend) and the parents.
More reviews can be found on Goodreads: The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins.