S. K. Epperson The Neighborhood

ISBN 13: 9780843941098

The Neighborhood

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9780843941098: The Neighborhood
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Abra Ahren's new neighborhood seems like an average American small town, but her discovery of the grotesque secrets that lie beneath the white picket-fence exterior make her more reluctant to welcome her neighbors. Original.

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From Publishers Weekly:

In books like Nightmare and Borderland, Epperson has shown a talent for non-supernatural horror that is involving and often psychologically insightful. Here, she turns that talent toward painting a macabre picture of an all-American neighborhood seen mostly from the perspective of Abra Ahrens, a nurse assigned to home-care for Thomas Conlan. Abra is told that Conlan has AIDS, but he really has smallpox-deadly, highly communicable and supposedly eradicated. And that's just the beginning. Abra's new neighbors include Zane Campbell, who has retired from police work after being shot in the face and now handcrafts prosthetic eyes; the family of missing schoolgirl Cindy Melo; and Craig Peterwell, who collects parrots and cockatoos and expresses his dissatisfaction with life by breaking his wife's limbs with a two-by-four. Although the smallpox plot line is underutilized, the multiple threads concerning Conlan's neighbors-and Abra's mother, psychologist Lee Ahrens-are much better developed and fit together tightly. The characters are original and convincing: Zane is compelling, and Craig is a terrifying grotesque whose chilling insanity causes progressive damage. New horrors unfold, and the mystery of Cindy Melo's disappearance is solved, largely thanks to Abra and Zane. Epperson mixes horror and thriller elements-with dashes of realistic romance and truly sick comedy-into a gripping, eclectic read.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

The word neighborhood usually conjures up images of friendly people, cozy homes, and a welcoming atmosphere. This delightfully creepy novel could change all that. As the story opens, a young girl has disappeared without a trace. A former police officer, badly disfigured and blinded in one eye when he was shot by a suspect, now crafts glass eyes out of his home. His younger son, who had a crush on the missing girl, is a budding peeping Tom. One neighbor is a partially reformed burglar who still likes to break and enter every now and then just for the thrill of it. He makes the mistake of breaking into the house of another neighbor with a penchant for tropical birds and torture. In yet another house, a prominent physician hides his gay brother, whom he has accidentally infected with smallpox during an experiment for the federal government. To protect his hospital's reputation, he tells the brother he's dying of AIDS. Epperson piles one weird episode on top of another until she reaches the violent but totally appropriate climax. Bizarre but compelling. George Needham

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Epperson, S. K.
Published by Leisure Books (1996)
ISBN 10: 084394109X ISBN 13: 9780843941098
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