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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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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Loved it! A bit far fetched - or is it?

I absolutely loved this book, one of my favourites that I’ve read in ages actually. The narrators voices are perfect, and I actually wished the book had been a bit longer and more in depth on some parts. It was really pacy, with lots of twists that kept me guessing. Some of the twists felt a little OTT towards the end, and the ending did start to get a little bit far fetched, even though it was satisfying and enjoyable. I guess I’m 2020 though, part of me wouldn’t be THAT surprised if some of these plots were really going on!

It did make me think from a different perspective though, about gentrification and how it impacts communities. It was clever to see both sides - black and white - with the two narrators. Both characters were very likeable. Highly recommend

1 person found this helpful

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Solid plot but perhaps too much?

The overall story has a great plot and buildups. It was really interesting to see gentrification as a form of thriller and how the author describes mental illness in general.

However, I was let down with the proportions of climax to backstory. The author did well in providing a lot of backstory to each of the character mentioned but I’d prefer if its shortened down a little and focus more on the gentrification part and the ending.

There are many questions left unanswered at the end. Not in the form of open or subjective ending, but rather questions as in what happened to the other characters that participated in the gentrification? We knew the fate of some, but not the rest.

This could have been a masterpiece if the proportion was right. Nonetheless, this book is still worth listening/reading and I’d definitely watch the movie if this book is adapted to one.

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An exciting read but ...

For the first four fifths of this book I was loving it and thinking about who I would recommend it to. Then the plot became too far fetched and I was thinking the author had an eye on film rights with a big guns blazing and syrupy finish.

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very tense listen in places

slow start, but loved it, not sure where it was going but great listen....tense and few twists

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Entertaining

I can see how this would be made into a movie. It was enjoyable and easy to read.

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  • Queen Dee
  • 06-09-20

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.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Denise McFarland
  • 11-12-20

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.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-10-20

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.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Rachel
  • 12-09-20

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.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 16-09-20

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.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Samantha
  • 08-11-20

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.

8 people found this helpful

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  • autumnseden
  • 08-10-20

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.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Nellie Petit-Louis
  • 08-09-20

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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Claire Ferguson
  • 31-10-20

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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Karenique
  • 14-05-21

Tedious narration and equally boring plot

“When No One is Listening” is more like it. Want to fall asleep? Listen to this. That’s exactly what I did. Really irritating and all I heard was blah-blah-blah. I gave up, no trying this one again.

3 people found this helpful