Those People

by Louise Candlish

Lowland Way is a nice quiet street in South London where the houses are gorgeous, the gardens are tidy, and the neighbours are all great friends – aren’t they?

This perfect suburb is disrupted when “Those People,” Darren and Jodie, move into #1. Darren and Jodie start by filling the garden with used cars, tearing down walls inside the house, and erecting scaffolding on the outside. As if it wasn’t bad enough that the appearance of #1 no longer fits with the idyllic well-kept houses and manicured lawns, their music blasting at all hours and their blatant disregard for the weekly street closure to accommodate the kids’ playtime sets their neighbours on edge. Not only do the neighbours turn on Darren and Jody, but when a death occurs on the street, they begin to turn on each other.

Candlish uses a variety of methods to share the story of what actually happened on Lowland Way, which makes it an interesting read and allows the reader to know what the neighbours are thinking. Through the diary-like thoughts of the residents and the interview entries gathered by the police during their investigation, we gradually piece together the cause of death and the identity of the victim.

At first the long-time owners join forces to try and intimidate newcomer Darren. They collectively stand up to him by confronting him on his front lawn, making plans through the neighbourhood Facebook group, and even going as far as to enter #1 while he sleeps on the couch. Darren responds by playing his music louder, using his power tools at all hours of the day and night, and verbal retaliation. Darren will not be convinced to become a good Lowland Way neighbour.

As the neighbours begin to unravel, some consider moving, but with the state of #1, property values plummet as quickly as the neighbourly conflict grows. It is no wonder the neighbours have stooped to such menacing behaviour.

This is a steady-paced, entertaining read in which we may recognize neighbours we have known, although I am sure none of us have been one of those people . . .