The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood
(Penguin Books, 2014, 400 pages)
The rooming house located at 23 Beulah Grove appears at first glance to be an average dwelling with average tenants, but they are not average at all. Each of them is hiding a secret and one of them is a serial killer. The landlord is used to taking in those who are down on their luck and have nowhere else to go. He’s a Peeping Tom too. Collette is on the run from her ex-boss. Upon closing the club one night she witnessed her ex-boss sexually brutalize a client. Cher is a children’s home escapee. After being battered by her mother’s boyfriend she decided to take to the streets rather than wait to be sexually abused. She resorted to prostitution to come up with the money the landlord required monthly. Thomas lives on an upper floor after separating from his wife and children. He’s an odd fellow, who tries to make friends with his neighbors. The gorgeous Iranian is attractive to Collette, but there is something mysterious about him. Unknown to her, he is an asylum seeker who wants to stay under the radar. Then there is Vesta, a mature spinster, who knows everything that goes on in the house. Her parents reared her there and she continued to let the apartment when they died much to the dislike of the landlord. Vesta thought she knew everything, until the night when she and the others accidentally kill the landlord. Now, they must hide their secret. But there is something more sinister – multiple murders have occurred right under their noses.