Illuminated windows at night. Three witnesses peering outside. What do they see?
This cover has a sort of Rear Window-vibe, but it also reminded me of an infamous incident in the 1960s. Kitty Genovese, returning home from work, is senselessly killed while her neighbors apparently ignored her cries for help in Queens, New York. Two weeks after the crime, newspaper headlines made it a sensation, reporting “Thirty-Seven Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call the Police.” A quick look at the back cover confirms this tie-in to true events: 4 A.M., March 13, 1964: A young woman is attacked in the courtyard of her building. Not one of her neighbors comes to her rescue.
However, this is a novel. It’s noted on the cover as having won the Crime Writers Association John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award. Jahn’s debut novel tells “the story of the woman’s last night–and of the bystanders who kept to themselves” with expertly interlocking plotlines. Here, Kitty Genovese become Katrina Marino. And what follows is a fictionalized account of the crime and an imagining of various fictional neighbors who are connected to it.
It’s rare for a title to hit such an apparent and perfectly sarcastic a tone as Good Neighbors.
This cover performs its job well, at least for me. It draws your interest as a mystery with a seemingly incongruous title. The fact that its based on a true crime makes it even more intriguing.
Most of all, I wonder just how far the label of award-winner goes in achieving interest. It is certainly a plus, but I’m not sure how much it effects my decision to read. How about yours?