British suspense novelist Haynes' latest asks the question: How well do we know our neighbors?
Initially, this book appears to be a routine murder mystery, but it evolves into a provocative examination of a controversial issue: the right to die. The story begins when Annabel, a police analyst, follows a strong odor into the home of her neighbor, who she thought had moved out long ago, only to come upon a horrific discovery: the woman’s decomposed body. She is aware that a number of dead bodies have been discovered in her part of town, so she analyzes the data and concludes that there has been a radical spike in these numbers. She believes an investigation is in order, even though all signs indicate that the victims died of natural causes. The ensuing story is told from the points of view of Annabel, who feels unappreciated at work, and Colin, who perceives himself to be a liberator of people whose lives have become empty of all but misery. Interspersed are chapters that juxtapose newspaper articles about the discovered bodies with the voices of the deceased, articulating why they wanted to end it all.
An artfully woven tapestry of stories that delves into what familial disapproval, social rejection, infidelity, abandonment, loneliness and lack of self-esteem can do to people.