Book review: When No One is Watching Alyssa Cole

Synopsis

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?

Review

Part thriller, part social commentary, and part romance, this one was a rollercoaster of a ride. I was wary going into this one as so many of the reviews scream mediocre, however I really enjoyed this despite some of the flaws it definitely does have.

The pacing most certainly is off, but I was invested in the characters so much only a few chapters in, I didn’t mind the slower paced middle section where romance began to bloom. You sure can tell Cole has a history in romance writing because these characters had such good chemistry!

I’ve seen people say this read more how a movie plays, and that’s a fair assessment. It’s definitely a slow build and then all of a sudden the final few chapters go HARD. It’s exhilarating and nail-biting but perhaps does seem to fall over itself in a mad rush right at the end.

This is one of those books where I can recognise why people felt only mediocre about it, but for me was a really enjoyable and exciting read. It was one of those books I read at the exact right time, it seemed to have everything I needed and so the whole experience was a good one. I would most definitely read more thrillers from Cole!

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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