by Alyssa Cole
Narrator: Susan Dalian, Jay Aaseng
Length: 8 hours and 30 minutes
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.3x
Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.
But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.
When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?
Narrated by Susan Dalian & Jay Aaseng, When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole, quickly pulled me into this addictive, suspenseful and fascinating story surrounding gentrification. Grab a cup of pumpkin spice and check out my thoughts…
gen·tri·fi·ca·tion (noun) the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste.
Told from the perspective of two unreliable yet intriguing characters, Cole quickly pulled me into the goings on of a little street in historic Brooklyn. The author sheds light on racisms, privilege and history as she pulls us along in this unexpected mystery thriller.
Wow… this was my first experience with Alyssa Cole and her writing is smooth, poignant and twisted.
The story provides two perspectives in alternating chapters. The principal character a black woman named Sydney whose world is falling apart bit by bit. Divorce, moving home, her mother’s illness, debt collectors and now witnessing the strange happenings from her front stoop.
The second perspective is from a white man named Theo, who bought the home across the street with his affluent girlfriend. Only she lives on the first floor with the air conditioning and he lives in the sweltering hot attic with the crappy bathroom.
Research for a local block party has Theo and Sydney working on a project together. They bear witness to strange occurrences, injustice and more…but with two unreliable narrators who can trust who. Eep!
The dynamics between Theo and Sydney were interesting. Their friendship start with mistrust and is hampered by his racist girlfriend. The trust between them builds, but both are keeping secrets and when attraction factors into the equation, it complicates things.
While this was a story about the gentrification of a neighborhood it delivered a suspenseful mystery with clever unthinkable twists. All I can say is find a quiet place, plug in your headphones and devour this!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Nice review ?? We have also reviewed this novel do read and share your thoughts
Totally love Alyssa Cole’s books and this review is fabulous! Hugs, RO
I’ve been seeing this one and I’m curious!!! It sounds really intriguing! And I especially love unreliable narrators. They’re a great setup for an absolutely wild twist.
Great review Kimberly. I listened to this one and very much enjoyed it as well. My first Alyssa Cole, but not my last either.
Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra
I’ve seen so many great reviews for this book! After reading your review and listening to that sample, I think I’m definitely going the audiobook route when I read it.
Tyler H. Jolley
I love an unreliable narrator! I’ll have to check it out and see if it’s a good fit for me. Thanks Kimba!
Anne - Books of My Heart
I wondered what you would think of this one. I liked it but unreliable is the truth. I was never quite sure.
Sounds like a fantastic read.. a page turner. Thanks for sharing.
Definitely the perfect time of year for a read like this one!
I’m glad to hear you liked this one! It’s on my wish list of books – it sounds really good, and I haven’t read anything by the author yet either.
A brilliant review! I’m really intrigued by this one – and this isn’t usually my genre. Thank you for sharing, Kimberly and I’ve made a note of this one…
I love her historicals with their twists of suspense so I know I’d enjoy this one, too. Yes, her writing style really is easy to fall into.
Ooh shiver me timbers this sounds fab! Thanks Kim
So glad you enjoyed it. Your review makes me almost want to try it. I love AC’s romances, but I am not a big fan of thrillers so I passed on this one. I heard there are some pretty dark spots.