Elliot Jefferson moved to the isolated Estates of North Hills to work on his sobriety and avoid other people at all costs. But when the electric transformers around the complex begin emitting a horrible buzz that he calls 'the Squall,' neither is easy to achieve.
Because some of his neighbors are acting strange. Twitching, fighting and muttering above voices only they can hear.
Soon Elliot will come face-to-face with the worst humanity has to offer, as wives imprison husbands, children butcher parents, and those under the Squall's influence go to insane lengths to keep their secret safe. If he wants to survive, Elliot must discover the awful truth for himself, and lead a small group of innocents to safety...before they're all just as doomed as their neighbors.
Winner of the Independent Publisher Award for Horror and Reader's Favorite Award for Horror
Elliot Jefferson is a soon to be divorcee, isolated on a spring break from the school in which he teaches. Elliot is determined to focus on rest and relaxation in an attempt to work on his sobriety. In the apartment complex where he lives, Estates of North Hills, a strange buzzing sound emitting from the electric transformers on every block is adding to an already noticeable uneasy feeling. This buzzing sound, referred to as the Squall, is only one of Elliots problems as the residents are beginning to act strange and violent.
As Elliot is pushed to the limit, so to are the residents of the Estates of North Hills. Violence, torture, murder, everyone faces severe reactions from the Squall. As things ramp up high and out of control, Elliot will lead a group of innocents, those not under the hypnotic influence of the Squall, and will attempt to pull them out of the civil unrest that is unfolding before them.
Elliot is a troubled character. Not just because the Squall is constantly blaring, ringing in the sign of impending doom. No, he is troubled because Russell C. Connor likes to write with a heavy, relatable dose of realism. Elliot is losing his mind as he tries to wrap that very same mind around a laundry list of troubles. The alcoholism that he struggles with is written with an insider's understanding. I have known many in my life and so rarely is the realism, the adjectives in their descriptions, captured to such a perfect stroke. With all of the bizarre and violent events that surround him, nothing is more horrifying than the very real and wonderfully written look at Elliot's struggle.
Good Neighbors is not a splatterpunk or splatterspunk, but it does get a little heavy at times. The raw viciousness in the violence is a true sight to behold. Bouncing between violent gore and graphic sexual perversion, the downward spiral of insanity is frustratingly well written.
The collective insanity of the apartment complex losing its mind reminds me of a darker version of Joe Dante’s classic film The Burbs. At the beginning, I kept waiting for some dark, twisted humor. It never came. Horror and insanity await you in this tale. There are some jokes, but humor is a backdrop and never comes into the depth that I felt it was heading. Instead, Connor has opted to show you some of the darkest corners of humanity.
A lot of books and authors are compared to Stephen King, especially fiction that showcases the dark side of the human condition. Good Neighbors is easy to compare as such, but I think that Connor’s writing has enough of its own voice that it doesn’t need the comparison. The book is long, but not overly. The characters are so well written that I could have easily spent more time with them. Connor’s ability to richly develop each character and plot thread is fascinating even when the horror is reserved. The tension is thick and remains constant throughout, sending your brain through a cheese grater.
Good Neighbors is an impressive read. The constricting pressure as the dread piles on makes this book hard to put down and even harder to go to sleep after reading. This is a great novel that more people need to be talking about.
Good Neighbors by Russell C Connor is a horror story. Elliot Jefferson needs to stay away from people. He needs to get sober and stay sober so he moves to the Estates of North Hills, the perfect, isolated place. Or is it? He has some odd neighbors; people he wouldn’t have dreamed of becoming involved with before. The complex is surrounded by electric transformers and they are alive. Or so it seems when they start a shrieking buzz that Jefferson calls “the squall.” That’s when bad things happen. That’s when children start killing their parents. That’s when husbands are locked up by their wives. That's when his neighbors begin to twitch, to fight, and to mumble about voices, voices only they can hear. And nobody will tell him the truth about the squall. Jefferson must find out for himself if he wants to live, and he must help the innocent people in the complex before they all end up the same way.
Good Neighbors by Russell C Connor is a real chilling horror story, a story that I guarantee will send shivers down the spine of any reader – I know it did mine. The story starts off at an even pace, but when things really start to pick up, it’s full speed ahead. From the first page to the last, this is a roller coaster. Not quite out of control because Mr. Connor does let you catch your breath occasionally, but not for long! This is one of those books that plays itself out in your head while you read, in glorious technicolor but, for me, that just added to it. Mr. Connor has a real command of language, using plain, easy to understand language, with nothing ambiguous, flowery, or too complicated. He has clearly put a great deal of thought into this and the characters match the story very well. I thoroughly enjoyed it and think it’s one of those books that could be made into a great movie – provided they don’t ruin the story when they do it.