Sydney Green has returned to the home where she was raised in Brooklyn, New York to care for her mother’s house while she was confined to to a nursing home. But the community Sidney knew seemed to be changing rapidly right before her eyes. For Sale signs are going up, lifelong neighbors inexplicably leave overnight, replaced with affluent people of a different ethnicity, and new shop owners are taking over stalwarts of the neighborhood. But more disturbingly, she senses a sinister element, especially as she begins her research into the community’s history for a tour she’s developing with assistance from Theo, one of the new neighbors.
This story turned out to be much more than I’d expected. I’m well aware of how destructive the gentrification of neighborhoods of color can be as I’ve witnessed some but this was insidious. The level of complicity rang too true to life and made me uncomfortable throughout the story. The mystery element added another layer of discomfort and soon I wasn’t as committed to solving the puzzle as I was worried about Sydney and Theo’s well being, along with others I’d come to care about!
While the dangerous aspects of the story might be inflated, the reality of how long-standing communities of color can be so easily displaced under the umbrella of gentrification certainly wasn’t. The author did an outstanding job of illustrating the positives of the neighborhood cohesion and the cost of the losses. The pacing of the story could be uneven because of the devotion to that element but it was worth the sacrifice. The two narrators did a great job inhabiting their characters, with Sydney coming across as possible paranoid and definitely mistrusting everyone outside of the neighborhood, and Theo as an opaque character who might not be trustworthy. They very much added to the mystique of the story. This is an important story that goes well beyond that of a thriller, though the ending was pretty exciting.
- Release Date: September 1, 2020
- Narrators: Susan Dalian & Jay Aaseng
- Audio Length: 8 hours, 30 minutes
- Publisher: HarperAudio
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(Thanks to HarperAudio and Libro.fm for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)