Review: Love your neighbor? Not in Louise Candlish’s novel

“Those People” by Louise Candlish (Berkley)

Oh, those people_those boorish, inconsiderate people who move into a nice, quiet neighborhood and have no respect for those who live there or the camaraderie built up through the years.

Those people play their music_thrash metal, no less_at top levels all hours of the night, when their TV isn’t blaring, while doing loud construction work round the clock.

It’s enough to make peaceful, rational people contemplate murder as they do in Louise Candlish’s highly entertaining “Those People.”

London’s Lowland Way is more than a lovely, serene place to live. It’s nearly idyllic and fodder for newspaper features. The residents here watch out for each other, mind everyone’s children and dogs, and are courteous of their differences. They take pride in their homes. The neighborhood even won an award for its “Play Out Sunday” program in which the street is closed so children can safely play.

Ralph Morgan and his wife, Naomi, are the neighborhood leaders. His brother, Finn, and his wife, Tessa, live next door. Across the street is Sissy Watkins, who runs a quiet bed and breakfast while nearby are Anthony “Ant” Kendall, his wife, Em, and their baby, Sam. Then Darren Booth and his partner, Jodie, move in, upending the neighborhood with their thoughtlessness, even operating an illegal used car sales lot in this residential area.

Candlish forcefully builds the tension in “Those People” until it reaches a crescendo that is as frightening as it is believable. It’s understandable that these people might crack under the strain of the emotional turmoil that Darren wreaks on his new neighbors. Supposedly strong marriages begin to fray; unshakeable friendships unravel and each character is forced to examine their own morality. Yet at no time does Candlish condone the violence that erupts. “Those People” skillfully avoids plotting cliches as Candlish’s second novel doesn’t take the easy way out.

Domestic thrillers have emerged as one of the hottest trends in the mystery genre and, as she did in her debut “Our House,” Candlish knows how to turn everyday situations sinister.