When No One Is Watching


Publisher’s Synopsis:
Rear Window meets Get Out in this gripping thriller from a critically acclaimed and New York Times Notable author, in which the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood takes on a sinister new meaning….

Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block – her neighbor, Theo.

But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.

When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other – or themselves – long enough to find out before they too disappear?

Point of view:
1st person. Alternating between Sydney & Theo’s perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
DNF @ 65%

I was looking for a thriller. Because you know, “A Thriller” is on the cover of the book and the blurb says, “like Rear Window…” – great. Except, part of the reason I was looking for a thriller is that I wanted a break from romance.

This is a ROMANTIC thriller with a heavy dose of romantic suspense. Initially I was thinking that the alternating POVs was juxtaposition. Black woman from the neighborhood. White guy buying up property and moving in. And all the assumptions thereto. Except there’s sparks flying and slow burn vibes all through this. Plus, Theo has more in common with Sydney than she realizes. He’s also open & interested in learning more about her perspective. It becomes Sydney & Theo against gentrification and “the insidious evil”.

The antagonists feel overdone and border on mustache-twirling caricatures lacking nuance. I guess, maybe that contrast is the point. That all day, every day – every single thing that every single white person says or does is overtly hostile, racist, aggressive, etc. It missed the opportunity to provide some characters with depth.

There’s also something off about the pacing. Too many questions without answers or reasons and way too much “vague booking” by Sydney. It seems like it should grip me but instead makes me feel like there’s this huge list of things to keep track of to be prepared for a test later.

I did love the rich history throughout. Being from urban sprawl of the South – I learned so much about gentrification, Black community, small neighborhoods, Brooklyn, etc. Unfortunately, even using the walking tour & Theo as a reason to share this info it started to feel like too much information especially combined with all the other “facts” being shared.

I don’t know. At some point maybe I’ll come back and finish this when I’m in the mood for romantic suspense/thriller.

Both were new to me, but I enjoyed the narration by Susan Dalian and Jay Aaseng.

Published by rellimreads

Avid reader/listener who has finally decided to turn it all into a blog...

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