Goodreads: The Man on the Roof by Michael Stephenson
Description: Someone has been creeping in the dark while the others sleep, and they've done terrible, terrible things.
“There was a man on your roof,” claims curmudgeonly lane-hermit Herbert McKinney. Then, he initiates an unprovoked fight with a local punk. Drama escalates when that punk's dead body is found hanging at mid-street one August morning—a boastful killer messaging their next prey. All fingers point to Herbert as the culprit. Soon, the five couples he calls neighbors come under suspicion, too. When detectives divine blackmail as the motive, eyes cross to find who hides the most shameful secret. Husband versus wife, friend versus friend, the shiny suburban veneer of innocence has been forever tarnished. As hidden deviousness boils from their pores, there lurks a thief, a pill addict and a sadist—secrets worth killing for.
Now, as the man on the roof helps guide justice and watches devious neighbors slip in and out of sleepy houses, confusion and questions persist. Who dies next? What have they learned? Who is becoming a monster? Who already is one? And just how many secrets can a small group of multi-ethnic Ohioans have? Only one cemented truth exists: the killer will kill again.
Why I Picked This Book: I love the idea of a neighborhood brimming with secrets.
The Good: I loved the atmosphere the author developed. It was so claustrophobic and subtly unsettling. Even at the beginning when everything seemed okay it feels like something is lurking in the shadows.
I like the varied relationships between the neighbors. Some were closer than others and there were hidden resentments and grudges scattered about. It gave a lot of depth to the neighborhood.
The plot really kept me on my toes. Who did it? What was the deal with the man on the roof? And just what was everyone hiding?
The Bad: There are a LOT of characters and while it did help the neighborhood feel like a real place it also made it a little difficult to keep up with who was who.
It just felt too long. I'm not sure if this was a pacing issue or just too much description padding page count (or a little of both) but at times it felt like I'd been reading the book forever.
The Not For Me: There are some super dark themes woven through the book that were just a little too dark for me. I tend to gravitate towards cozies and Agatha Christie style mysteries so I'm definitely kind of a wimp when it comes to evil and violence in my books. If you're used to a grittier style mystery I don't think this would cause any problems.