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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Love Thy Neighbor

Review of Love Thy Neighbor by Mark Gilleo

Overview from Clark Hayden is a graduate student trying to help his mother navigate through the loss of his father while she continues to live in their house near Washington DC. With his mother’s diminishing mental capacity becoming the norm, Clark expects a certain amount of craziness as he heads home for the holidays. What he couldn’t possibly anticipate, though, is that he would find himself catapulted into the middle of the terrorist operation. As the holiday festivities reach a crescendo, a terrorist cell – which happens to be across the street – is activated. Suddenly Clark is discovering things he never knew about deadly chemicals, secret government operations, suspiciously missing neighbors, and the intentions of a gorgeous IRS auditor. Clark’s quiet suburban neighborhood is about to become one of the most deadly places on the planet, and it’s up to Clark to prevent the loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives in the nation’s capital.

My Review:

I really don’t know where to start on this one. It is not a bad story but there were just several things that I didn’t like about it.

First off the title seems a bit misleading. It seems to suggest a Biblical story but the story itself is about a Muslim terrorist cell in residential neighborhood. Clark, our main character (at least I think that is who the author intended him to be), returns home from grad school to take over the care of his mother from a neighbor woman only to find that the neighbor who has been taking care of her while he was gone, might be a terrorist.

The main character is not very strong. This is the reason why I felt unsure as to who really was our main character. Was it Clark? Or the neighbor Ariana? If you reason that Ariana is “the bad guy (or is it girl),” then I suppose that would leave you with Clark. Yet every time someone crosses paths with Clark or Ariana we seem to suddenly shift to his or her POV until he or she comes into contact with one of them or sometimes even with another secondary character. In fact, there are so many new characters introduced throughout the novel that I had a hard time keeping track of them all.

Then there were the f-bombs. Too many of them in my opinion though I know I have read books with more of them but it seemed to be a bit too much.

Finally Clark struck me at times as being unlikable. He seemed to have some disrespect for his love interest and the fact that she forgave him for so many errors was not all that believable. But I guess the hero is always forgiven, even when he’s a jerk, just because he is the hero. I mean we see that Clark has a good side but it really doesn’t come out much in his relationship with the love interest and since she seems like a smart lady who doesn’t need him, why would she put up with that? It doesn’t make sense.

On the plus side, the story has an interesting premise. In the beginning the author explains how a residential address used by two 9-11 conspirators was reported by his own mother as a potential terrorist cell and was never even recorded by the FBI, or was it the CIA? The point seems to be that the author used this as a spring board for the plot of the book wondering what would have happened if someone were to follow up on an alleged terrorist cell living in suburbia.
And there is also plenty of action. The story was engaging, except where I got confused and mostly complex enough not to be trite. However because of the problems I mentioned earlier, I am not recommending this book.

Contains: foul language, violence

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