"Those People" by Louise Candlish; Berkley (368 pages, $26)
You know the story's not going to end well when it opens with police interviews.
There's been a death on the block. Their street. Their well-kept, close-knit street that won awards, mind you, for creating a sense of community and citizenship. Their charming British bungalows, row houses and a few bigger, lavish homes thrown in. Their block was known for its Play In Sundays, where everyone would move their cars off the street so kids could roam safely and adults could relax in kinship with their neighbors.
Then Darren and Jodie moved in. Those people.
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The tattooed, heavy-metal-loving couple bought the house from an aunt's estate. Right away the interlopers start a messy renovation, with power tools, a rickety scaffolding and music blaring night and day. The neighbors appeal to the town council but are told no rules are being broken. Then Darren starts moving in cars, a resale business that quickly gobbles up all of the prized street parking. When he deposits a broken-down orange RV in front of Ralph and Naomi's house, things turn ugly.
Civilized moms and dads get worked into a frenzy, neighbors install spy cams, and secrets start to pour out of the lovely woodwork.
It's a fine telling of human nature coming unraveled at the seams, and with disastrous results. The ending, though, is sweet revenge.
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