“If you read Alex Marwood's The Wicked Girls, her new one—The Killer Next Door—is even better. Scary as hell. Great characters.”
“Although not as dark as Marwood’s first novel, The Wicked Girls, this psychological thriller is more macabre, in a creepy comic vein, and vividly nasty when it gets to the physical details. But in its own disturbing way, this is a story about love and friendship.”
—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“Marwood’s emphatic yet pragmatic understanding of human nature at its worst and best is in equally fine form in The Killer Next Door.”
—Sarah Weinman, Maclean’s
“With her sophomore outing, Marwood has turned out not just a spooky, blood-and-guts thriller, but a cannily observant novel that explores social fissures while delivering a modicum of hope.”
—The Boston Globe
“Alex Marwood’s second stand-alone novel delivers a multilayered plot that succeeds as crime fiction, a gothic tale, and a village mystery—all with an edge. While some scenes are gruesome enough to give Thomas Harris pause, The Killer Next Door is lyrically insightful [and a] gripping thriller.”
—The Associated Press
“Marwood keeps readers guessing which resident is the killer till the end, a nice feat in an enjoyably dark story.”
—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Accomplished and vivid . . . watch out for Marwood.”
“[A] deliciously creepy book!”
“Taut, assured and reminiscent of Ruth Rendell's psychological novels, Marwood's second book more than lives up to the promise shown in her splendid debut, The Wicked Girls.”
“Nasty, compelling and original, the author has done it again with her second novel.”
“A taut, fascinating tale [that] not only creates a cast of memorable characters, but also ratchets up the suspense. . . . [Marwood] proves she’s got staying power in this addictive tale.”
—Kirkus (starred review)
“This tightly plotted story that grabs you from the opening paragraphs and will keep you up far too late at night is highly recommended for fans of Laura Lippman, Tana French, and Gillian Flynn.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
“A well-plotted ending filled with unexpected surprises.”
“Marwood is emerging as a master of contemporary British suspense.”
“Chilling, suspenseful, and darkly comic, The Killer Next Door is not only a terrific crime novel, but also a fascinating exploration of memorable characters, each individually lonely and secretive, and yet inextricably tied to one another by circumstance.”
—Alafair Burke, author of All Day and a Night
“The Killer Next Door unfolds with tantalizing precision to reveal the lives and secrets of a group of boarders in a run-down apartment house—one whose secret is far darker than the rest.”
—Sara J. Henry, author of Learning to Swim
Serena Mackesy (born c. 1960s) is a British novelist and journalist who lives in London.
Life and education
Serena Mackesy is the daughter of the Scots-born Oxford military historian Piers Mackesy. She is also the granddaughter on her mother's side of the novelist Margaret Kennedy and on her father's side of Leonora Mackesy (born 1902), who wrote Harlequin romances as Leonora Starr and Dorothy Rivers. She grew up on the Oxfordshire/Gloucestershire borders and went to school in Oxford, where she gained a University of London degree in English literature from Manchester College, Oxford.
Mackesy worked variously in offices, as an English teacher and on door-to-door sales before, as she told an interviewer in 2000: "I arrived at The Independent as a temp to cover for the secretary on the TV listings page... for a couple of weeks, realised I'd found somewhere I enjoyed and somehow never left.... I think the first writing I did was little potted movie previews on the weekend TV spread. The first thing anyone seemed to actually notice was a small daily bar review I used to write when the paper had a London supplement." By 1997 she was a regular columnist.
As a child Serena Mackesy was a keen rider. She has described Malta as her favourite place in the world.
Mackesy established her reputation with the novel The Temp (1999). This went into the Sunday Times Top Ten on publication. Since then she has published Virtue (2000),Simply Heaven (2002), and Hold My Hand (2008).
In 2012 she adopted the pseudonym Alex Marwood with the publication of the psychological thriller The Wicked Girls. This became a word-of-mouth bestseller in the UK, and was translated into 17 languages. It was included in Stephen King's Entertainment Weekly list of "The Ten Best Books I read this year" in 2013 and was shortlisted for an ITW award in the same year. The book won the Edgar Allan Poe Award (best paperback original) in 2014 and is also shortlisted for the Macavity and Anthony awards in the United States. A follow-up, The Killer Next Door, was published in 2014 followed, in 2016, by The Darkest Secret.
Work of Mackesy's has been translated into 19 languages. Writers she admires include Kurt Vonnegut, C. S. Lewis (Narnia series), John Donne and the "other" Elizabeth Taylor (Angel).