When No One Is Watching

When No One Is Watching

A Thriller

Paperback - 2020
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"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?"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2020]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062982650
0062982656
Characteristics: 352 pages ; 21 cm

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After a traumatic divorce, Sydney Green moves back home to Brooklyn, to care for her elderly mother and heal her self. But the old neighborhood isn't the close, happy one she remembers. New people are moving in, and old neighbors are gone seemingly overnight. Initially, Sydney thinks it's just ru... Read More »

After a traumatic divorce, Sydney Green moves back home to Brooklyn, to care for her elderly mother and heal her self. But the old neighborhood isn't the close, happy one she remembers. New people are moving in, and old neighbors are gone seemingly overnight. Initially, Sydney thinks it's just ru... Read More »

After a traumatic divorce, Sydney Green moves back home to Brooklyn, to care for her elderly mother and heal her self. But the old neighborhood isn't the close, happy one she remembers. New people are moving in, and old neighbors are gone seemingly overnight. Initially, Sydney thinks it's just ru... Read More »


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JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Nov 16, 2020

While structurally this thriller doesn't 100% work, the author's illustration of structural racism in this context was pretty cool. Basically, this is the movie "Get Out" meets Brooklyn gentrification...and it works more like horror than like a thriller, even though there is nothing supernatural going on.

c
canagator
Nov 07, 2020

Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? This psychological thriller takes us on a wild ride through the character’s paranoia and fear surrounding what’s really going on in her neighborhood. This book was really wonderful. Alyssa Cole, a Black female author, did an amazing job explaining the history and personal & societal ramifications of gentrification in Brooklyn neighborhoods in a way that a white girl like me from a small city suburb could understand. ...All while building up tension and psychological suspense with a a rewarding ending.

TSCPL_Miranda Nov 05, 2020

Alyssa Cole has made a name for herself in romantic fiction, and this book marks her first foray into thrillers. A spotlight on the horror of racism, historical theft and murder, this one would likely appeal to fans of Get Out or Lovecraft Country. The novel opens with a character who is clearly struggling. Sydney’s mom is ill, and she’s moved back to the neighborhood where she grew up, but so much is different, especially the neighbors. A big pharmaceutical research center is aiming to move into the neighborhood, and that means interest from wealthy buyers. Folks keep leaving suddenly, selling out, some without so much as a goodbye. Sydney goes on a guided tour of Brooklyn with a group of tourists and visitors, and hears a narrative that completely erases the presence of black residents, and the history beyond the wealthy whites who first built the brownstones. She’s inspired to create her own tour, and as she begins researching the area back to its beginnings, discovering evidence of black communities erased in the past, she feels a growing sense of unease. Is history repeating itself?
The story is told with alternating narrators. Theo is a white man who moved into one of the recently vacated brownstones with his girlfriend. They are separated, but still live together in the house that they both own. He seems to be a basically good guy, but he clearly has a past that he’s keeping under wraps. He has an eye for shady behavior and begins to pick up some strange occurrences in the neighborhood. He’s drawn to Sydney, and as he’s unemployed, he volunteers to help with her research. Interestingly, Cole said she wanted to write alternating narrators with a white narrator because she wanted to show that so many people who are basically good miss a lot of what’s going on because it doesn’t affect them directly.
What's really going on in Brooklyn? Is there anything Sydney can do to stop it?
The novel weaves in a lot of research, history that is evidence of genocide, redlining, and outright theft. She also includes a list of further reading at the end.
This is a book that will probably make you uncomfortable at times (a good sign), and will definitely make you think.

t
trickbag22
Oct 15, 2020

This story starts out as a tale of how neighborhoods are taken over in the name of progress. The old people cant always keep up their homes because somehow the taxes get higher every year and the banks dont give out loans. The neighborhood gets a bad reputation maybe deserved, maybe not. And the young people move in, they renovate, what was once a neighborhood of diversity, becomes a white place. Would if this was systematic and had been going on for centuries? First, you push out the Irish, then the Puerto ricans. Next the Russians and the Arabs. Would if it was a well designed plot? Sydney and Theo are about to find out

b
booknrrd
Sep 30, 2020

When a pharmaceutical company announces the location of its new headquarters, residents begin to disappear and new white neighbors are taking over. Sydney becomes embroiled in the neighborhood crisis as she works on a historical walking tour of Black landmarks and history in this smart psychological thriller from romance author Cole about gentrification, liberal racism, corporate America, and the American dream. This would make a great discussion book.

s
shelbytoren
Sep 30, 2020

Great thriller. The first half is a lot of suspense building and character development, but the action that follows is worth it!

debwalker Sep 24, 2020

When your neighbours are disappearing....

DCLadults Sep 11, 2020

A New & Noteworthy staff pick 2020. A sizzling thriller that takes a look at gentrification, racism and greed. Lots of buzz for this one and both a LibraryReads and Indie Next pick.

ArapahoeAlice Sep 08, 2020

I was intrigued from the beginning by the plot. A Brooklyn neighborhood is undergoing gentrification--meaning let's kick out the poorer Black families and bring in rich snooty white people. There are some very funny exchanges on the neighborhood group email where the white people are obnoxious, condescending, paranoid and clueless. But they aren't as silly as they seem. Events get creepy and scary.
The writing is beautiful, and the characters draw you in. They have realistic emotional baggage, and you want to root for them.

JCLGreggW Aug 04, 2020

A domestic thriller in the "Get Out" mold, this story about gentrification in a Brooklyn neighborhood - and the mysterious disappearances of the residents - starts off light but gets serious in a hurry. Cole, who normally writes romances, hits this out of the park.

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miraellie
Oct 16, 2020

“Sydney.” Theo is grinning as he calls my attention back to him, though his eyes are somber. “I need you to channel the confidence of a mediocre white man. I’ll give you mine. We’ll figure it out because we don’t have any other choice.”

m
miraellie
Oct 16, 2020

“People bury the parts of history they don't like, pave it over like African cemeteries beneath Manhattan skyscrapers.”

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