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When No One Is Watching

Written by: Alyssa Cole
Narrated by: Susan Dalian,Jay Aaseng
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Publisher's Summary

"I was knocked over by the momentum of an intense psychological thriller that doesn’t let go until the final page. This is a terrific read." (Alafair Burke, New York Times best-selling author)

Rear Window meets Get Out in this gripping thriller from a critically acclaimed and New York Times Notable author, in which the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood takes on a sinister new meaning....

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?

©2020 Alyssa Cole (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about When No One Is Watching

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Conflicted

I read the book in its entirety and love that Alyssa at the end shouts out a podcast I hadn’t heard of and now want to check out.

I found the story compelling, we need more stories about the impact of gentrification even hyperbolic ones. However, the main characters seemed incomplete and lacked believability. The ending felt rushed and I would not consider this a thriller as it’s described. People keep comparing this to Get Out, but I think that is a far reach, that movie is a masterpiece and forces mainstream audiences to rethink the position of Black people in that genre this is a good weekend book.

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Zero nuance

I liked the inclusion of race relations but the writing was so plain and these conversations were way too blunt and totally non believable.

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A Jordan Peele Vibe But Even Better

This book wonderfully combines the thriller genre with horror undertones with a historry of white supremacy via gentrification within the United States. The main/good characters, of which I include the neighborhood itself, are deeply real and relatable and the bad/racist characters are uncannily real and familiar. The story itself is equal parts real and uncanny and the plot development is phenomenal. This is how horror/thrillers should be written - very Jordan Peele energy, but even better in a lot of ways.

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Very boring

I am sorry but this book is not thriller . First 20 chapters were so slow and the last three chapters became interesting but not enough. I am surprised this book has so many positive reviews. This is a good slow listen but if you are looking for suspense, save your credit

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Suspense. Right to the end

Great book. Enjoyed it thoroughly and really enjoyed the plot. I loved the modern feel and enjoyed learning more of the black experience in North America. Super eye opening for this white settler.

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  • Sam
  • 2020-09-24

A twist on gentrification!

For the most part I enjoyed the book I just found it was a bit to conspiratorial.

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  • Queen Dee
  • 2020-09-06

Good Story

I like the story a lot. The character development was great and I like Alyssa Cole, but I'm just wondering why her protagonist has to have a non-black love interest all the time. Being purposeful in choosing a black author, I want to have black characters in lead roles.

42 people found this helpful

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  • Denise McFarland
  • 2020-12-11

Ugh

This book was insufferable. Not a thriller at all. The main character was completely unlikeable. Every white person was horrible. Racist stereotypes about white people were around every corner, as well as stereotypes about Middle Eastern people. I understand where she was trying to go, but it was so abrasive and offensive that it was almost unlistenable. I was so excited to read a thriller by a black author, but this was not a thriller. It was a treatise on racial injustice under a thin veneer of a romance novel.

37 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-10-24

Great read/listen

I'm not usually a fan of thrillers and chose this only because I know Alyssa Cole's other work. It was a great read which I would recommend even to people who don't generally like thrillers. The suspense/danger elements are interwoven with snappy often funny dialog. As is typical in the thriller genre, the "what is going on" story goes over the top and builds to a violent climax, even as the general story underneath about what is happening is drawn from real issues of gentrification and displacement and racism. The book is written in first person with alternating chapters from the two protagonists, a Black woman and a White man, which is very effective in audio with two narrators. I appreciated Cole's work in the violent episodes to make sure her characters stayed human and cared about what they were doing. I'll be recommending this book to others.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Rachel
  • 2020-09-12

Not Quite Science Fiction

The Audible summary of this book calls it Rear Window meets Get Out, which is pretty fair.

I’d add that it’s got some Orwellian, Ray Bradburyian (?) dystopian elements.

It’s a thriller until the end, although there’s a lot of factual historical information along the way.

The underlying scary part is this book presents not a dystopia, but a... topia (everyday life?)

When No One is Watching is about protagonists dealing with their pasts, their differences, and some seriously creepy Shizuoka. Also, actually, everybody is watching...

Ooooh spooky... but seriously, it is.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2020-09-16

Where have all the neighbors gone?

Suspenseful. Neighbors form a reluctant team on a historical project and become amateur sleuths as people disappear.

Although this is fiction, it is good social commentary. Gentrification often has victims - intentional or not.

The narrators were very good. I like the two person narration.

I am a fan of Ms. Cole's other works.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Samantha
  • 2020-11-08

Train Wreck

First time ever leaving a review because this plot line was horrific. Gentrification was clearly the focus but lost its believability extremely early on. Whacky story, annoying characters...didn’t finish listening to the last 30 minutes.

10 people found this helpful

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  • LeslieWit
  • 2020-10-20

Y'all ain't ready

I just want to start off this review by saying I have literally stayed up until 5 a.m. to finish this. I've read a lot of Alyssa Cole's Romance, and I enjoyed them thoroughly, but this story is a whole nother animal! Some folks are of the erroneous belief that this doesn't turn out to be a thriller until the end. And what I have to say to those people is you must be deaf blind and dumb because the level of fear and dread and anxiety that I felt from the very beginning until the very last word has not dropped.

This isn't even counting all the colloquialisms and cultural Clues both for the Black community and for the Brooklyn New York Community. Amidst all that Alyssa Cole weaves in real life racial horror that has existed in the United States for hundreds of years. See I thought this book was going to be something I could use to help me come down from Lovecraft Country, but now what I want is for there to be a serialized version of this book on prime, or HBO, or something.

if you're a fan of Horror and Mysteries and Thrillers you need to pick this book up. It's all of those things wrapped up into one story with a splash of romance set against the backdrop of racist America. You owe it to yourself to get this one.

10 people found this helpful

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  • autumnseden
  • 2020-10-08

Meh

There is some good information in the book about redlining and gentrification but the characters are annoying. There’s really not a plot to “sink your teeth into”. I’d like a refund, honestly.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Claire Ferguson
  • 2020-10-31

What A Thriller!

I loved the characters and the storyline. Sydney and Theo make a great team. This book provides a lot of thrills and surprises.
I think this book could lay the foundation for a great series.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Nellie Petit-Louis
  • 2020-09-08

Not really a thriller

The narrator did an incredible job. I love the narrative voices and felt that she brought the characters to life.
I was excited about hearing the book because it is a thriller written by a black writer. However, I did not feel the thriller of the book until the last couple of chapters of the book.
I am a fan of storylines that build up to the climax but this book took way too longer to give me the thriller aspect. For a moment I thought the book would have a second part to get to the thriller. Thankfully that was not the case.
I would recommend the book to others but I would forewarn that the book starts slow and does not become a page turner until the latter chapters.

6 people found this helpful