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GOOD NEIGHBORS by Ryan David Jahn

GOOD NEIGHBORS

By Ryan David Jahn

Pub Date: June 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-14-311896-1
Publisher: Penguin

A darkly powerful fictionalization of the last two hours in the life of Kitty Genovese, attacked and killed outside her New York apartment in the early morning hours of March 13, 1964, while her neighbors did nothing.

Only steps from her door in a typical Queens neighborhood, Katrina Marino, 28, returning from her job as night manager of a sports bar, is stabbed by an unknown man. Kat is a fighter, and she doesn’t take the assault lying down. She fights back; she screams; she begs her neighbors in the building for help. Although four different people hear her and consider phoning the police, none of them does, simply because they’re all so involved with their own problems. Patrick Donaldson weighs how to tell his bedridden mother that he’s been drafted. Diane Myers waits to confront her husband Larry about his obvious adultery. Thomas Marlowe, Larry’s bowling teammate, contemplates suicide. Peter and Anne Adams indulge in their first taste of spouse-swapping with Ron and Bettie Paulson. Frank Riva, terrified that his wife Erin may have struck a child with her car, sets off to see what he can learn. Emergency Medical Technician David White catches up with the molester who abused him as a child. Officer Alan Kees takes steps to deal with an extortionist. Debut novelist Jahn inhabits these people and their problems so completely and convincingly that they don’t seem like monsters even as they ignore the woman who’s dying only a few yards away.

Since Kat Marino is, for better or worse, the least-interesting person here, it’s well worth watching to see what Jahn can do in a novel that isn't based on a real-life person.