The Neighbor (Detective D. D. Warren Series #3)

The Neighbor (Detective D. D. Warren Series #3)

by Lisa Gardner

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A young mother, blond and pretty, vanishes from her South Boston home, leaving behind only one witness—her four-year-old daughter—and one suspect—her handsome, secretive husband.

From the moment Detective Sergeant D. D. Warren arrives at the Joneses’ snug little bungalow, instinct tells her that something is seriously off with the wholesome image the couple has worked so hard to create. 
With the clock ticking on the life of a missing woman and a media firestorm building, D.D. must decide whether Jason Jones is hiding his guilt—or just trying to hide. But first she must stand between a potential killer and his next victim—an innocent child who may have seen too much.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553591903
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/22/2010
Series: Detective D. D. Warren Series , #3
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 54,289
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Lisa Gardner is the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels. Her Detective D. D. Warren novels include Live to Tell, Hide, Alone, and The Neighbor, winner of the International Thriller Writers’ Award. Her FBI Profiler novels include Say Goodbye, Gone, The Killing Hour, The Next Accident, and The Third Victim. She lives with her family in New England.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I’ve always wondered what people felt in the final few hours of their lives. Did they know something terrible was about to occur? Sense imminent tragedy, hold their loved ones close? Or is it one of those things that simply happens? The mother of four, tucking her kids into bed, worrying about the morning car pool, the laundry she still hasn’t done, and the funny noise the furnace is making again, only to catch an eerie creak coming from down the hall. Or the teenage girl, dreaming about her Saturday shopping date with her BFF, only to open her eyes and discover she’s no longer alone in her room. Or the father, bolting awake, thinking, What the fuck? right before the hammer catches him between the eyes.

In the last six hours of the world as I know it, I feed Ree dinner. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, topped with pieces of turkey dog. I slice up an apple. She eats the crisp white flesh, leaving behind curving half-smiles of red peel. I tell her the skin holds all the nutrients. She rolls her eyes—four going on fourteen. We already fight over clothing—she likes short skirts, her father and I prefer long dresses, she wants a bikini, we insist she wear a one-piece. I figure it’s only a matter of weeks before she demands the keys to the car.

Afterward Ree wants to go “treasure hunting” in the attic. I tell her it’s bath time. Shower, actually. We share the old claw-foot tub in the upstairs bath, as we’ve been doing since she was a baby. Ree lathers up two Barbies and one princess rubber duckie. I lather up her. By the time we’re done, we both smell like lavender and the entire black-and-white checkered bathroom is smothered with steam.

I like the post-shower ritual. We wrap up in giant towels, then make a beeline down the chilly hallway to the Big Bed in Jason’s and my room, where we lie down, side by side, arms cocooned, but toes sticking out, lightly touching. Our orange tabby cat, Mr. Smith, jumps on the bed, and peers down at us with his big golden eyes, long tail twitching.

“What was your favorite part of today?” I ask my daughter.

Ree crinkles her nose. “I don’t remember.”

Mr. Smith moves away from us, finding a nice comfy spot by the headboard, and begins to groom. He knows what’s coming next.

“My favorite part was coming home from school and getting a big hug.” I’m a teacher. It’s Wednesday. Wednesday I get home around four, Jason departs at five. Ree is used to the drill by now. Daddy is daytime, Mommy is nighttime. We didn’t want strangers raising our child and we’ve gotten our wish.

“Can I watch a movie?” Ree asks. Is always asking. She’d live with the DVD player if we let her.

“No movie,” I answer lightly. “Tell me about school.”

“A short movie,” she counters. Then offers, triumphantly, “Veggie Tales!”

“No movie,” I repeat, untucking an arm long enough to tickle her under the chin. It’s nearly eight o’clock and I know she’s tired and willful. I’d like to avoid a full tantrum this close to bedtime. “Now tell me about school. What’d you have for snack?”

She frees her own arms and tickles me under my chin. “Carrots!”

“Oh yeah?” More tickling, behind her ear. “Who brought them?”


She’s trying for my armpits. I deftly block the move. “Art or music?”


“Singing or instrument?”


She’s got the towel off and pounces on me, tickling anyplace she can find with fast, poky fingers, a last burst of energy before the end-of-the-day collapse. I manage to fend her off, rolling laughing off the edge of the bed. I land with a thump on the hardwood floor, which makes her giggle harder and Mr. Smith yowl in protest. He scampers out of the room, impatient now for the completion of our evening ritual.

I find a long T-shirt for me, and an Ariel nightgown for her. We brush our teeth together, side by side in front of the oval mirror. Ree likes the synchronized spit. Two stories, one song, and half a Broadway show later, I finally have her tucked into bed with Lil’ Bunny clutched in her hands and Mr. Smith curled up next to her feet.

Eight-thirty. Our little house is officially my own. I take up roost at the kitchen counter. Sip tea, grade papers, keep my back to the computer so I won’t be tempted. The cat clock Jason got Ree one Christmas meows on the hour. The sound echoes through the two-story 1950s bungalow, making the space feel emptier than it really is.

My feet are cold. It’s March in New England, the days still chilly. I should put on socks but I don’t feel like getting up.

Nine-fifteen, I make my rounds. Bolt lock on the back door, check the wooden posts jammed into each window frame. Finally, the double bolt on the steel front door. We live in South Boston, in a modest, middle-class neighborhood with tree-lined streets and family-friendly parks. Lots of kids, lots of white picket fences.

I check the locks and reinforce the windows anyway. Both Jason and I have our reasons.

Then I’m standing at the computer again, hands itching by my side. Telling myself it’s time to go to bed. Warning myself not to take a seat. Thinking I’m probably going to do it anyway. Just for a minute. Check a few e-mails. What can it hurt?

At the last moment, I find willpower I didn’t know I possessed. I turn off the computer instead. Another family policy: The computer must be turned off before going to bed.

A computer is a portal, you know, an entry point into your home. Or maybe you don’t know.

Soon enough, you’ll understand.

Ten o’clock, I leave the kitchen light on for Jason. He hasn’t called, so apparently it’s a busy night. That’s okay, I tell myself. Busy is busy. It seems we go longer in silence all the time. These things happen. Especially when you have a small child.

I think of February vacation again. The family getaway that was either the best or the worst thing that happened to us, given your point of view. I want to understand it. Make some sense of my husband, of myself. There are things that once done can’t be undone, things that once said can’t be unsaid.

I can’t fix any of it tonight. In fact, I haven’t been able to fix any of it for weeks, which has been starting to fill me with more and more dread. Once, I honestly believed love alone could heal all wounds. Now I know better.

At the top of the stairs, I pause outside Ree’s door for my final good-night check. I carefully crack open the door and peer in. Mr. Smith’s golden eyes gaze back at me. He doesn’t get up, and I can’t blame him: It’s a cozy scene, Ree curled in a ball under the pink-and-green flowered covers, sucking her thumb, a tousle of dark curls peeking up from above the sheets. She looks small again, like the baby I swear I had only yesterday, yet somehow it’s four years later and she dresses herself and feeds herself and keeps us informed of all the opinions she has on life.

I think I love her.

I think love is not an adequate word to express the emotion I feel in my chest.

I close the door very quietly, and I ease into my own bedroom, slipping beneath the blue-and-green wedding quilt.

The door is cracked for Ree. The hallway light on for Jason.

The evening ritual is complete. All is as it should be.

I lie on my side, pillow between my knees, hand splayed on my hip. I am staring at everything and nothing at all. I am thinking that I am tired, and that I’ve screwed up and that I wish Jason was home and yet I am grateful that he is gone, and that I’ve got to figure out something except I have no idea what.

I love my child. I love my husband.

I am an idiot.

And I remember something, something I have not thought about for months now. The fragment is not so much a memory as it is a scent: rose petals, crushed, decaying, simmering outside my bedroom window in the Georgia heat. While Mama’s voice floats down the darkened hall, “I know something you don’t know. . . .”

“Shhh, shhh, shhh,” I whisper now. My hand curves around my stomach and I think too much of things I have spent most of my life trying to forget.

“Shhh, shhh, shhh,” I try again.

And then, a sound from the base of the stairs . . .

In the last moments of the world as I know it, I wish I could tell you I heard an owl hoot out in the darkness. Or saw a black cat leap over the fence. Or felt the hairs tingle on the nape of my neck.

I wish I could tell you I saw the danger, that I put up one helluva fight. After all, I, of all people, should understand just how easily love can turn to hate, desire to obsession. I, of all people, should have seen it coming.

But I didn’t. I honestly didn’t.

And God help me, when his face materialized in the shadow of my doorway, my first thought was that he was just as handsome now as when we first met, and that I still wished I could trace the line of his jaw, run my fingers through the waves of his hair. . . .

Then I thought, looking at what was down at his side, that I mustn’t scream. I must protect my daughter, my precious daughter still sleeping down the hall.

He stepped into the room. Raised both of his arms.

I swear to you I didn’t make a sound.

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The Neighbor (Detective D. D. Warren Series #3) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 733 reviews.
timetraveler-1692- More than 1 year ago
In this twisted tale of intrigue, Gardner never lets us pause for even a page or two to try to figure out who is really who, and what motives they have for their bizarre actions. Each of the characters in this story, Sandy, the wife who disappears, Jason, the husband who does not act in the manner of a grieving husband, the precocious 4-year old daughter, the neighbor with secrets coming from all directions, and even the law enforcement officers and detectives keep relevant details to themselves. Who are Sandy and Jason Jones exactly? Where did the $4 million come from, and did Sandy get kidnapped or just disappear? Detective D. D. Warren gets more and more frustrated as she tries to untangle the webs surrounding each player in this drama. She has her own fears and foibles to deal with, and all of these mis-directions are getting her riled up. The ending is one you would not see coming. This is a fast-paced novel with hot spots of action popping up all over D. D.'s Boston, and she is tackling the fires as fast as she can.
1louise1 More than 1 year ago
When a pretty young schoolteacher disappears, leaving her 4-year-old daughter alone in her home, suspicion immediately focuses on her husband.The victims and suspects are seemingly normal people. The nicest neighborhoods can mask the ugliest secrets. GOOD ONE! A nail-biter! Wonderful!
Russ_Ilg More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Russell Ilg Again this spring and summer brings you the best crop of thrillers and suspense novels ever to be released. Lisa Gardner takes you on a journey that can never be imaged. The novel involves a small family that seems perfect yet there are so many dark secerts that you never know where you will get blindsided next. It is said so many times but take this from a person that reads 4-5 books a week. Do not, again, do not pick this up if you want to get any sleep the night you do. Even if you are able to finish it you will never be able to shut your eyes just watching everything you read fly by in your mind hoping that it is only fiction and this could not happen as you glance over at the person sleeping beside you and wonder!! You will be running around making sure that all the lights are on and doors, windows, everything is locked tight. I have already written about 4-5 books that I thought would be must reads and sure to be award winners well I have to add another to that list of some of the greatest writers in the country. Lisa Gardner takes you on a journey that is so real and compelling you are pulled in so far and deep right from the beginning that you seem to be fighting for air the whole time you are reading then notice that you are holding your breath to see what happens next and praying it is not what you think it is. Lisa has always been one of the very best when it comes to doing her research before she writes, which makes this oh so real! I live and have been in the area that she has placed this novel and she has hit the nail right on the head. Is this tomorrows headlines in the beleaguered Globe? I sure do not want to give away a minute of this great novel you are going to have to buy it yourself and go on one of the most terrifying rides of your life and pray that it is only a book. This is a must read for everyone that loves thriller and suspense. Make sure you are one of the first to buy this must read of the summer, and if you have never had the chance to meet Lisa Gardner at one of her signings you are missing the best part of the book she does a great job letting you know how it became such a great thriller so please try and get out and meet her if she is any where that you can get to. Sure to be on the Times list right out of the gate. By far one of her greatest works to date.
Fan4SFGiants More than 1 year ago
Like most Lisa Gardner books,most of the stories take place in Boston(As do Robert B.Parker's)but Lisa Gardner's books are literally,a cross between Robert B.Parker and Michael Crichton. Most of them take place in Boston,but their suspense level is on that of Michael Crichton's. They're DOUBLY scary! The Neighbor is one of Lisa Gardner's novels you don't want to miss.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book that I've read by this author and I absolutely loved it. I couldn't put it down so if you want a great mystery who-done-it read, this is the one for you.
Debles More than 1 year ago
This story grabs you from the beginning and keeps you guessing till the end. Jason Jones, husband, doting father and now possible suspect in the disappearance of his beautiful young wife. Mysteries everywhere. I think it's Lisa's best!
mjaneMA More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have read in awhile. The way it is written keeps you going to find out what happened in the past and how these events are contributing to what is going on in the present. I have always enjoyed Lisa Gardner's books but this one truly stands out. My husband kept encouraging me to finish it so he could pick it up next. It is the perfect summer beach book. Being a New Englander I also loved the Boston setting. Can't say enough good things about this book. Lisa Gardner and Harlen Coben are the best writers out there today.
MikeDraper More than 1 year ago
4 1/2 Stars. Sandra Jones is a high school teacher. She has a four year old daughter, Ree. After putting her to bed one night, Sandra returns to her own room and her bed. Then she hears a noise coming from the stairs...When her husband, Jason, returns home from his night job at the newspaper, Sandra is gone. Sgt. Det. D. D. Warren, last seen in Gardner's novel "Hide" knows that the spouse is usually the prime suspect when the other spouse goes missing or is killed. However, when she attempts to interview Jason, he is uncooperative, even nonchalant. Gardner presents the reader with multiple suspects in this enjoyable work. Is Jason the guilty person who did whatever happened to Sandra? Is it the neighbor, Adrian Brewster, whose room overlooks the Jones' bedroom and is a registered sex offender? Could it be Ethan Hastings, a 13 year old student in Sandra's high school who has a crush on her? Or, could it be a late comer in the story, Wayne Reynolds, a state police computer analyst who has been seeing Sandra at the weekly high school basketball games? Sandra's father enters the story. Sandra doesn't have anything to do with him and has accused him of mistreatment and maybe having something to do with her mother's death. Now that Sandra isn't around, the father, Judge Maxwell Black, arrives at their home and demands to be given visitation rights to his granddaughter. We are able to read the thoughts of the characters and still, it is hard to see who might be the guilty person. It is obvious that the author enjoyed writing this book. Her sense of having fun with the plot comes thought. "The Neighbor" is a well written, fast moving story that would have made Alfred Hitchcok proud.
Driversldy More than 1 year ago
Just when I thought I had it all figured out, Boom! I love the way you get drawn in to the lives of the characters. And a little bit of revenge on the creeps of the world doesn't hurt!
amrahne More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy Lisa Gardner's books, but I liked this one even more than the last two. The police procedural items are pretty accurate and the story is a very engaging read that keeps you turning pages. I read this in one day, as I couldn't put it down. The characters are familiar yet feel fresh. The writing was tight with the exception of a little overkill on the computer processes descriptions. Overall, highly recommend!
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
To simply label this an audio book is a misrepresentation as it is a stellar dramatic presentation with an outstanding cast, a triad of accomplished performers who bring Gardner's suspenseful tale to life. Actress, singer, writer and director Emily Janice Card is obviously multi-talented. She's the daughter of noted author Orson Scott Card, and may be found leaving interesting notes on her personal blog. With stage experience and a singer's ear she brings both authenticity and understanding to her reading. Kirby Heyborne has headed features and short films as well as appearing as a regular on TV's Free Ride and Everwood. (Mr. Perkins). He has also released several CDs on which he sings and plays the guitar. His voice is strong, resonant, and a perfect foil for his fellow readers. TV watchers will remember Kirsten Potter for her roles in Judging Amy and Bones. A graduate of the Boston University School for the Arts (Summa Cum Laude) her voice is melodious, clear, distinct - easy on the ears. With 11 novels to her credit Lisa Gardner has fashioned an intense thriller propelled by surprising yet plausible twists and turns that keep us reading/listening. A young woman has disappeared. She is Sandra Jones, a pretty teacher, wife of reporter Jason Jones, and mother to four-year-old Ree. Was it a kidnaping? No evidence points to that, and there has been no ransom note. Did she simply walk away? Why when she is apparently an extremely devoted mother? Detective Sergeant D. D. Warren is called upon to answer these questions. A prime suspect is Jason who isn't acting like a distraught husband devastated by not knowing his wife's fate. In fact, he is uncooperative. However, there are also questionable others - a neighbor, Aidan Brewster, a great looking young fellow, and a convicted sex offender who spent time in prison for raping a young girl. What about a student who may see Sandra as more than a teacher? We discover more as Gardner relates much of the story in flashback form through the eyes of Sandra herself. What we learn is just enough to keep us securely hooked until the last words. A splendid thriller ingenuously crafted! Enjoy! - Gail Cooke
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I've read this year. It takes a little warming up, just like her last book, "Say Goodbye", but then you cannot put it down. I read it in one day. I always enjoy anything by Lisa Gardner, and I appreciate that her writing style has changed in a positive way in the last few books, that enhance the suspense. I like how she gives you the the view from the multi-person perspectives; makes every character human.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Boston Dailey reporter Jason Jones comes home one night to find his beautiful wife Sandra is missing and their preschool daughter Ree is alone. He searches the house for her until he realizes she was no where to be found. He waited three hours more before calling the cops. Sergeant Detective D.D. Warren questions Jason, but comes away uneasy as the man holds his daughter while refusing to cooperate with the authorities; Jason denies Warren access to the computer or his car.------------ D.D. immediately assumes Jason is a person of interest, but there is also another man in the neighborhood who could be connected with Sandra's disappearance; Aidan Brewster is a registered sex offender. Although there is no physical evidence to tie Aidan or Jason to the missing Sandra, the cop believes the woman is dead and one of these two men killed her. Her father, a judge, who has not spoken to her in years, arrives with the intention of gaining custody of his granddaughter. Sandra once warned Jason to never allow her father alone near Ree. Jason is doing his best to keep the police from arresting him for his daughter's sake, but fears his secrets will destroy his efforts if discovered.--------------- Lisa Gardner gives her audience a chilling terrifying glimpse of what goes on behind closed doors. The neighbors thought the Jones were the perfect family, but deadly secrets if known would have ended that illusion. This thriller is a one sitting read; filled with characters who have broken laws to prevent an even bigger tragedy from happening. There is plenty of action and misdirection that keeps readers spinning as to what is going on especially with Sandra and Jason. Lisa Gardner is at her best with THE NEIGHBOR.--------- Harriet Klausner
DEVILICIOUS More than 1 year ago
I love Lisa Gardner's books!! I totally do not agree with the bad reviews!!! The Neighbor is terrific!!!...Two other books I fell in love with this year are EXPLOSION IN PARIS by L.M. Pirrung and BREAKING THE RULES by, B. T. Taylor....
debbook More than 1 year ago
I have always been a fan of Lisa Gardner but I had not read anything by her recently. Her latest book, The Neighbor, caught my attention and so off to the library I went. I loved this book! It was an excellent and masterfully written suspense novel. Jason and Sandra Jones are married with a four year old daughter and one night Sandra disappears. But they are not just your average couple. They both have secrets and Jason isn't talking to the police and he is the prime suspect. He is a very enigmatic character and the only thing I knew for sure as I was reading was that he loves his daughter. We hear from Sandra in the past, events leading up to the night of her disappearance. I thought I knew the ending 3/4ths of the way through but then changed my mind several times up until the very end. Gardner does an amazing job of giving parts of the story then moving to another character, and really leaves the reader guessing until the end. Lots of plot twists. Sergeant D.D. Warren, the lead detective on the case is a favorite character of mine and I hope she continues to show up in future Gardner novels. A must read for lovers of suspense novels. my rating 4.5 stars
dhaupt More than 1 year ago
If you know any thing about the marvelous Ms. Gardner, you'd know that she loves to scare the socks off us and she does it with such flare that you're engrossed from the very first page. The Neighbor is no different, it's a fast track of murder, mayhem and mystery and it surrounds a married couple that you're scratching your head about from the first moment you meet them. As much as you want to agree with DD Warren, a cop who we've met in earlier novels, that the husband did it, but we can't do that because there's just something too innocent about him, something too caring to convince us. So take the wild roller coster ride called The Neighbor and find out "who done it" and what exactly did they do. The Neighbor isn't as scary as some of her other novels, so don't be afraid to read it with a heart ailment. The characters are so wonderful that you'd like to meet them for real, the dialogue is excellent, and the plot is so unique and exciting and if you're a fan you'll find a big surprise as to who the husband really is. So lock and load at get your copy fast because this is sure to be #1 soon.
NinnyJC More than 1 year ago
story evolves around the disappearance of a young mother from her Boston home...readers will be taken on a wild ride as they discover her secrets and try to figure out why and how she disapeared. As you untangle the mystery, you will get clues about her past, question every move her husband makes, the life she has led as a elementary school teacher and then throw in the storyline, the suspicious sex offender neighbor... as you continue to read, everyone becomes a suspect, every action is suspcious and the climatic ending is a nicely wrapped shock!
sway2865 More than 1 year ago
I am starting to develop a real love of Lisa's books. This was about my 3rd one in a row and it didn't disappoint. It kept me hooked the entire time and I didn't figure the case out until the end. I really enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was gripping I could not stop thinking about it! It scared me too, but it was so good and I started reading the whole series!
kaitlynlenhart More than 1 year ago
Never wanted to put the book down!
LC112648LC More than 1 year ago
Great read - scary! Totally different and enjoyable! Great writer!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my first Lisa Gardner book. The beginning was great...really pulled me in. Then it got boring so I flipped back to the last quarter of the book and read something that made me want to go back and find out how the book evolved to that point. I started it again where I left off at the beginning and got throughly engrossed in the plot and actually forgot I had almost read the ending. The plot was very easy to follow...with a lot of twists. I loved all the characters; who were individual in their own right. Ree is absolutely adorable. I was amazed at how the author characterized each person. It was definitely a "who dun it" novel. I was surprised at the ending. I will read some of her other novels.
JulieH48 More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this book .... I got so interested in this book I had to put my life on hold for two days cause I couldn't put it down....I liked it because i felt it was a great book from the beginning til the end..I would highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a thrilling suspence novel!!1
MangoCE More than 1 year ago
This mystery begins with a missing wife and mother, who has made it a practice to cope with her married life with "spa" nights. Then there is the husband that supports his wife's escapes, and works with her to make sure their highest priority is their daughter. Both husband and wife have survived troubled childhoods. There is a sexual predator who lives a couple of blocks from family, and he has knowledge about how missing person investigations proceed. Then there are the investigators. All these characters, including workaholic, synical Detective D.D. Warren are scrambled into a soufflé of plots and subplots, intrique, tension, and enough computer and internet to add complexity without confusion. The reader earns the privilege of delving further into the book by getting through the first couple of chapters and the various points of view. The ending has lots of surprises to unveil. This was a very entertaining and captivating book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE a good thriller and this book delivered! I actually woke up crying one morning in fear that I lost my husband...this book surely plays tricks on your mind and is very unpredictable! I was left with 50 pages to go and was still scratching my head not know where it was going...This was my first Lisa Gardner book~ and not my last...