Berkley | 3 January 2023 | 146 pgs (Ebook)
This novella was set in Meritville, New York in 1959. A woman named Ginette Cox moves into a rented house at 19 Howard Avenue. Used to be a Broadway actress, she left her job and took her doctor's advice to stay away from cigarettes, alcohol and with minimal social visits and stimulation of any kind, mainly due to her agoraphobia condition.
With no entertainment and alone at home, Ginette watches her neighbors from her window, making up names and stories for them since she couldn't step out of her house with her condition. She named a little girl Trixie who's carrying her doll all the time, a married couple by the surname "Lowell" and Mr Elias who seems to be typing most of the time and figures he must be a writer. You'd think that Ginette would find comfort in watching her neighbours going about their life, but in truth she's too terrified to sleep in her bedroom and she thinks there are strange noises coming from the basement.
At some point, she sees a mysterious man in black making appearances outside her window, following the old Mrs Lowell (the mother-in-law) and she's worried that something bad might happen. But she couldn't leave the house, because she feels something in the basement is trying to stop her from escaping.
Ginette is the typical unreliable character because one wouldn't know if her thoughts and her behaviours are due to her mental condition so it was an engaging read as the story is one sided according to Ginette's narrative. Her interactions with the two detectives makes one wonder if there's truly a murder has taken place; so perhaps she's not mad after all and maybe something dark and sinister is at work? As in Simone St. James's signature style, this novella was atmospheric, suspenseful and a bit spooky. I wished that this story would be longer.
[The novella is only available in ebook and audio format.]
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