By now, we all know the truth about the tony suburbs: They may look nice, what with the uniform paint jobs, manicured lawns and shiny SUVs, but they can hide a host of secrets. In her intriguing new thriller Neighborhood Watch, McGovern takes the premise to an even more disturbing level. Twelve years ago, Betsy Treading - a librarian, of all things - was convicted of killing her neighbor Linda Sue, a standoffish loner who seemed to disapprove of just about everyone in the community - with one notable exception.
But DNA evidence has proved Betsy's innocence, and, freed from prison, she's determined to find out who committed the crime.
McGovern, author of Eye Contact, keeps the plot moving at a pleasingly swift pace, sending it to a variety of truly surprising places. She provides a more than ample set of suspects in Linda Sue's murder and still takes time for pointed commentary on how we allow ourselves to be fooled by mere images. "When we first moved onto the block, we stood taller than the trees planted in front of our homes,'' Betsy muses. îîWe bought these houses assuming the unsettling newness would give way to something else, something more. . . . But then nothing transpired as anyone planned.''
Neighborhood Watch, too, transpires in unexpected ways. Just like life, whether you live in the suburbs or not.