The New Neighbor by Karen Cleveland #BookReview #Thriller

Idyllic neighborhood, perfect family, meaningful career. CIA analyst Beth Bradford has it all—

Until she doesn’t.

Now, facing an empty nest and a broken marriage, Beth is moving from the cul-de-sac she’s long called home, and the CIA is removing her from the case that’s long been hers: tracking an elusive Iranian intelligence agent known as The Neighbor.

Madeline Sterling moves into Beth’s old house. She has what Beth once had: an adoring husband, three beautiful young children, and the close-knit group of neighbors on the block. Now she has it all. And Beth—who can’t stop watching the woman stepping in to her old life—thinks the new neighbor has something else too: ties to Iranian intelligence.

Is Beth just jealous? Paranoid? Or is something more at play?

After all, most of the families on the cul-de-sac have some tie to the CIA. They’re all keeping secrets. And they all know more about their neighbors than they should. It would be the perfect place to insert a spy—unless one was there all along.

Coming out on July 26, 2022!

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

Practically overnight, Beth Bradford’s life has completely changed. She’s newly an empty nester. She recently sold the home she’s lived in for the last 17 years. Her husband is leaving her. The CIA has demoted her to their training facility. But of all the things changing, the one thing she cannot let go of is her work towards finding the people recruited by an Iranian to infiltrate the CIA’s system. She knows she’s close, and the country is at risk. How can she possibly let that go?

Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):

The title, The New Neighbor, sounds like this will be a domestic thriller. Still, the blurb talks about spies and the CIA, which sounds more like a political thriller. The cover shows a neighborhood street, so it offers no insight into what I’m about to read. Whatever kind of thriller this is, it sounds like it will be an excellent thrill ride.

Actual Reading Experience:

Wow, this story had so many twists and turns that I could barely keep up. However, I’m not sure what kind of thriller I would classify it as. It is like a political thriller mashed up with a psychological thriller in a domestic thriller setting. But I do know that I loved all the twists, turns, and shocking revelations. I became frustrated with and worried for the main character throughout the mid-portion of the book. Still, other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing about this incredible thrill fest.

The pace stays fast for most of the story, which is just the speed I enjoy. The story is told mainly in first-person narration, with Beth telling it. It changes to third-person narration for the concluding chapters. The switch didn’t confuse me, and I appreciated a more omniscient perspective to conclude the story, so nothing is

left open. Well, nothing immediately in the story, that is. One shocking revelation springs up at the very end that left my jaw on the floor and my brain thinking about the implications. I could easily suspend disbelief and buy-in to the conclusion and the story. I believe it is best when experienced that way.

The fact that I was well ensconced in the world of CIA and FBI did not impede my understanding of the situation. Even though I do not know anything about the inner workings of these agencies, the needed aspects are detailed in a way that left me feeling like I did have a clue.


Beth Bradford is developed flawlessly, with all her layers, strengths, and weaknesses unveiled at the right time. I felt so much empathy for her situation, and I also both loved and hated her determination. Typically, determination is a quality that I unequivocally admire. Still, Beth takes it to a whole new level, and I found myself telling her to stop on more than one occasion. She frustrated me to no end as I worried that she was becoming her own worst enemy. The only point where I struggled with the story was at the pinnacle of her unsanctioned investigation. But, I must admit, she ended up taking me on the thrill ride of all thrill rides.

And, I really can’t say anymore because this is one of those thrillers that are best experienced with little knowledge going in.

To Read or Not to Read:

If you love thrillers with plenty of twists, turns, and shocking revelations, you won’t want to miss The New Neighbor this summer.

My Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

20 Replies to “The New Neighbor by Karen Cleveland #BookReview #Thriller”

    1. It really is. I think I would consider it primarily a psychological thriller but it definitely has political and domestic thriller components.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The cover alone would make me want to read this one. I also like the premise of someone kind of taking over her life. Awesome review, Tessa!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love a good, twisty thriller, Tessa. This sounds good, even though I am not a huge fan of CIA/FBI stories. Great reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just read this a couple weeks ago and reviewed it as well. I also thoroughly enjoyed it, though I did eventually get tired of her jumping from suspect to suspect instead of taking her time to make sure she got it right. Great review….I like the format of the way you break it all down – makes it easy to follow.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

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