|Reviewing Here to Stay by Mark Edwards|
Warning: This psychological thriller describes the behaviors of cruel and/or dysfunctional people. This story involves threats, intimidation, and murders.
Elliot - a 38 year old bachelor who lives alone with his cat, Charlie, at number twenty-six Cuckoo Lane. Socially clumsy, his dating life was nearly non-existent. He kept busy with remodeling his historic Victorian home and his career. Elliott is a good, albeit somewhat anal, guy. He is a science teacher who earned a significant amount of money selling an educational website. This income allowed him to start a non-profit that ran science workshops for underprivileged kids.
Gemma - The beautiful Gemma. When she arrives at Elliot's open house (garden), he is immediately smitten. She reminds him of an American movie star. Little does he know that she carries a lifetime of scars, both outwardly and inwardly. She and Elliott very quickly fall in love.
The In-Laws - Gemma's family consists of her brother, Stuart, and his family who live in a nearby neighborhood. Gemma's Mom (Lizzy), Dad (Jeff), and sister (Chloe) are currently living in France but returning to the UK and need a place to stay.
Jeff and Lizzy are rude, intimidating, and dirty house guests. They immediately begin to foul up Elliot's immaculate home. Jeff and Lizzy are very quickly and easily disliked. Chloe is visibly ill. There is something very wrong with Chloe but Jeff and Lizzy keep her isolated rather than seek help. Anytime that soft-spoken Elliot attempts to make a stand, Jeff postures and physically intimidates.
Fairly soon, innocent people are victimized. Dead bodies begin to turn up and when it is too late Elliot thinks he knows what the scheme is. Is there such a thing as love at first sight? Or is it only part of a plan created by a parasitic family who is trying to meet their own needs?
This author, Mark Edwards, has an increasing fan base and many online reviewers are raving about this story in particular. Some of the negative reviews state that the story line is unbelievable; that there aren't people like this (both naive Elliot and his evil in-laws) in the world. But there are. There are many, many people just like them. Naive people who are used as pawns and those who stop just short of leaving a trail of dead bodies in order to obtain what they want. This is the part of the story that kept me up and reading late into the night. This book may be for you if you like stories where the girl-next-door may really be something nightmares of made of.
Note: Edited for correction. The character's name is Gemma. Not Emma as written in the original review.
Other Psychological Thrillers:
Stephen King's Misery is probably the best example of a plain, everyday neighbor who is someone you never want to meet. Someone who uses people to meet her own needs in a very sick way. While it is a bit hard to believe that good ol' Annie Wilkes is able to rescue a full grown man from a terrible car wreck and keep him alive despite his horrendous injuries, it is a gripping and frightening tale. Annie was able to get him "out of the cockadoodee car" and kept him alive in order to torture him until he completed a task for her.
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