When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole
4.5 stars, actually.
I know Cole mostly as a romance writer. Oh wow. Just…wow. What a book to put out into the universe. The description says its “Rear Window” meets “Get Out”…and its totally Get Out, with a touch more of romance and unabashedly calling out white folks who wear BLM tshirts without the context/knowledge of the situation they’re in.
A historically black Brooklyn neighborhood. A divorced woman returned to take care of her mother. A white clueless man who bought one of the brownstones to renovate it with a now-ex girlfriend. A corporation looking for a place to establish a drug addiction therapy research center. Centuries of history looking at the various and violent ways (highways, redlining, forced gentrification, tax laws) POC are kept from lucrative home ownership.
But that’s just some of what’s here. Mostly its a tale of Sydney Green, hiding a dark secret, making calls to her mother who is the owner of the Brownstone, desperately trying to keep it in the face of forced gentrification of her beloved neighborhood. Folks seem to be disappearing, there’s strange noises in the night, and no one seems able to help her mother keep her home.
Is she just paranoid? Is the non-existent Uber driver who threatened her just a product of her imagination? Is the nice white guy next door really helping her or is he part of some insidious plot by VerenTech?
It all seems unbelievable and delusional…until it isn’t.
Creepy, terrible, a challenge for USA white privilege folks to read with an open mind. But you should.