FORECAST FRIDAY: THE RESIDENT by David Jackson (Viper, 16 July 2020)
David Jackson’s The Resident cleverly plays upon some of our worse fears.
Thomas Brogan is a serial killer on the run. The police stumbled on his latest bloody scene while he was there and now he is running. In desperation he breaks into an abandoned house at the end of a terrace on a quiet English street. He climbs into the loft to hide and realises that the four houses in the terrace are linked by the shared attic space. Initially Brogan is glad of a place to lie low, but gradually he comes to realise that he can spy on the residents of the other houses and even drop down into their homes. It is not long before the voices in his head are convincing him to play games with the other residents, especially the young couple at the end of the terrace.
Jackson takes a little while to set the various elements of his story in place, but once underway The Resident is gripping tale with some very dark moments. Unexpected developments keep the story moving along at a good pace and Brogan’s internal dialogues provide insights into his childhood and the factors that influenced his descent into killing. Everything is seen through Brogan’s eyes and some of his observations have a darkly humorous touch to them. There are also surprising flashes of poignancy and reflection, especially in Brogan’s relationship with one of the occupants.
The violence in the book is not overly graphic, although there are realistically gruesome moments towards the end. The tension mounts considerably over the last few chapters and the ending delivers some good surprises. Some suspension of disbelief is needed, but not enough to detract from the enjoyment of the story.
In all, it is a good chilling read that will make you think twice next time you hear something go bump in the night.
Four stars out of five.
The Resident is released in Australia and the United Kingdom in paper and electronic versions on 16 July 2020.
Thanks to NetGalley and Viper for an electronic copy of the book to review.