Love In the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson is such a great book. It is definitely a five star book! We meet our main characters right away. I don’t know if I would call it a cute meet. I know our heroine, Phoebe would not have thought so. They are temporary neighbors and one of them is a serial killer. Well, not really, but to a sleep deprived, on a dissertation deadline, just moving back to her deceased father's home to empty it person like Phoebe everyone is suspect. Especially handsome, mysterious, too nice to be true guys who could easily pass for Ted Bundy who happens to live right next door. Sam, the neighbor aka The Midnight Mover (her words, not mine) fits every profile she’s ever read, and she’s read them all and watched every true crime, forensic TV show there is. Maybe it is time to step back from her doctoral dissertation on true crime for a bit.
Let’s clarify a few points. Phoebe is more than just a true crimes aficionado. Her obsession is part of her defense mechanism at letting anyone close to her. Her father’s death brings her back to her childhood home. It wasn’t a particularly happy childhood with her parents fighting and divorcing which tore the family in two. She went to live with her mother. Her brother Conner lived with their father. Weekend visits dwindled away as she grew older. Her parents were angry people and, worst of all, indifferent in their affection to their children.
She felt all of this deeply. She internalized it all. She lost friendships because of it all. Her brother Conner seems to have worked through it better than she did. He is the sounding board she never knew she needed as they work to clear out the house.
Sam lives in the house next door. He helps her out from time to time, revealing himself not as one of the many, hilarious serial killer names. He is an elementary school music teacher. Yes, quite the cover. It’s always the nice, quiet ones that end up on America’s Most Wanted, right? Except Sam is more the hot, do it yourself guy you’d find on HGTV!
Sam finally breaches her defenses but Phoebe still balks at anything that smacks of forever. I really struggled with what I thought was a heartbreaking ending but Alicia’s writing had me at the edge of my seat! There was more - there is always more! I have to say I really enjoyed the banter between characters and there was such a growth of characters. I highly recommend picking up Love in the Time of Serial Killers. I look forward to reading more books by this author, too.