Title: Nosy Neighbors
Author: Nina R. Schluntz
Publisher: MLR Press
Length: 210 Pages
Category: Paranormal, Mystery
At a Glance: If you like a good ghost story, wrapped up in an intriguing little mystery with a side of romance, give this one a try!
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Julian is used to drama, seeing ghosts tends to do that to a person’s life, but when he falls for a man known as the neighborhood murderer–the dead help him uncover secrets no housewife could predict.
Moving into a suburban, middle class, stereotypical neighborhood was never on Julian’s to do list. When his identical twin brother inherits their Aunt’s house in such a place, then finds a good job, Julian reluctantly follows. He expected to feel isolated by being the only gay person on the block, okay, more likely the zip code, but a few nosy housewives eagerly inform him the neighbor across the street is gay, and punned, Mr. Creepersen, due to several murders that occurred in his basement five years ago.
Review: I’ll admit to being a fan of supernatural stories, especially ones that have a ghost element and mystery involved. Nosy Neighbors did not disappoint. What I really enjoyed was the mystery element; sure, there was a dash of romance happening, but that isn’t what had me enthralled. Julian’s has a very interesting mix of psychic abilities that allow him to communicate with those who have left this life. But, they aren’t limited to that aspect. I won’t go into the other skills, because discovering what they were was part of the fun for me.
When we first meet Julian he is blissfully unaware, moving with his twin, Miles, into a neighborhood that definitely deserves the “Nosy” in the title. Everyone is up in everyone else’s business. Yet, somehow, a crazy amount of deaths occurred, and people aren’t talking. And when they are, it’s only to condemn Mr. Creepersen. Even Julian’s brother seems to sweep the issue under the rug when approached. So, what happens when a pretty powerful medium moves into an area surrounded by death? Well, a lot of stuff, actually, and I loved joining Julian on that journey.
The author took some liberties here, and it worked. I can’t go into exactly what they were, but I’ll say there were a few unexpected surprises that didn’t follow the common themes I am used to seeing as the truth is uncovered. Be warned, some of the elements involved in these murders could be a trigger for people exposed to domestic abuse; though not especially detailed, there is the component present which is necessary to understand the events and decisions of many of the characters. The connections he made and the journey Julian takes are what kept me riveted, as he soon becomes his own version of a nosy neighbor. There was quite the variety of ghosts, and each interaction revealed important information, and each communication with the deceased was different enough to keep that particular aspect from getting boring.
The romance aspect was always there, sort of hovering in the background, slowly progressing for Julian and Neil while everything kind of explodes around them. It is a slow-burn with a lot of obstacles to overcome individually. I personally may have liked a little more time spent on the romance and working through their issues, because I just love a good hurt/comfort read, but if I am honest, I think it was appropriate to the overall flow of the story. Our MCs are both messed up emotionally, and have been through a lot of tough times, causing each to create defense mechanisms to protect themselves. Their connection is fragile, and misunderstandings occur continuously, creating a one-step forward/two-steps back type of situation. I found their relationship exploration to be more on the mental and emotional joining, so there was relatively low heat level, with carefully placed moments of physical intimacy. Some of their complications remain even after I reached the last page; I guess that’s true to life, though, so in a way I can’t blame the author for that choice despite my personal preference of having things more worked out by the conclusion of a story. The two each have been through too much, and with majority of the book spent delving into solving the crimes, they really didn’t have much time to work on their relationship to resolve their problems to a level I prefer.
The secondary characters were essential to the story, especially Miles. Julian and his twin’s relationship gives insight to Julian and how his life has been. He has struggled with his abilities for as long as he can remember, and his more extrovert twin took on so much in the process. There is a co-dependency element to their relationship. At times it was one of those situations where I wanted to lash out at Miles for how he behaved, and the things he was saying. But as more of their history was revealed, I began to understand the reasons why their bond functioned the way it did. They frustrate each other, they bicker and fight, and their interactions and roles are a certain way. Then, they move and everything coming at Julian changes the dynamics, putting stress on their relationship.
There was a weird couple of things that popped up, such as a character was a granddaughter and later in the book is referred to as a daughter, but it was nothing that really took me out of the story. The murder mystery and the different relationships explored (both familial and not) had me well and truly snagged.
If you like a good ghost story, wrapped up in an intriguing little mystery with a side of romance, give this one a try!
You can buy Nosy Neighbors here:
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