(54) What would you do if you heard someone screaming?

Title: Good Neighbors: A novel by Ryan David Jahn
Publisher: Penguin Books
280 Pages
Genre: Mystery

Synopsis: At 4:00 A.M. on March 13, 1964, a young woman returning home from her shift at a local bar is attacked in the courtyard of her Queens apartment building. Her neighbors hear her cries; no one calls for help.

Unfolding over the course of two hours,Good Neighbors is the story of the woman's last night. It is also the story of her neighbors, the bystanders who kept to themselves: the anxious Vietnam draftee; the former soldier planning suicide; the woman who thinks she's killed a child and her husband, who will risk everything for her.

Review: Great debut for this author.  Fast paced and suspenseful. I didn't want to put it down, I needed to find out what happened. Reading this book was like sitting on the edge of your seat just watching a car wreck.  As the lives of the neighbors intersect you find yourself totally absorbed and utterly horrified.  The story flips back and forth between Kat who has been stabbed in the courtyard of her building and the stories of the other tenants who live there who have heard and witnessed her attack, yet none come to her rescue.

The self absorption and utter lack of wanting to get involved is troubling yet so realistic.  Everyone thinks someone else will do something so no one does anything.  Its a sad commentary on our lives, but maybe this book will be a wake up call.  


  1. I have a psychology degree and I studied bystander effects, and it is quite depressing. Basically, if people think anyone else knows what is going on, they will leave the hassle of sorting it out to them.


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