The Bad Neighbor (Hardcover)

By David Tallerman

Flame Tree Press, 9781787580282, 288pp.

Publication Date: September 6, 2018

List Price: 24.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


When Ollie Clay panic-buys a house in a deprived neighborhood, he soon recognises his mistake: his new neighbor is an antisocial thug, and Ollie's suspicions raise links to a local hate group. Nervous of contacting the police, Ollie e-mails a local reporter, Rebecca Ford, but receives no reply. Soon after, Chas's mates assault Ollie and his girlfriend Yasmina, and only the intervention of another friend of Chas's, Pierce, saves them from worse. After an incident at work wrecks his career and Yasmina proposes a temporary break, a despairing Ollie finally involves the police - but realises he dare not press charges. Discovering that his and Chas's houses share an attic prompts him to break into Chas's home, where he finds evidence of drug-dealing and past violence. Panicking, Ollie flees. Later, a fearful Ollie listens through the wall; but his spying reveals something unexpected, when Pierce warns Chas that Ollie contacted the police. Desperate, convinced he needs concrete evidence, Ollie breaks into Chas's house again - but Chas and two friends return. Ollie is appalled to discover that the group have imprisoned a recently-kidnapped Asian youth. Chas has the other two take him away to a place he refers to as the Farm. Ollie, half-crazed with fear, decides that only he can stop Chas. Waiting until he's gone to bed, Ollie leaves the gas fire on, misguidedly believing Chas will suffocate. When Chas wakes and attacks him, Ollie knocks him out and, with his last strength, makes it home. But soon after, his house is torn apart: Chas has inadvertently ignited the built-up gas. Waking in hospital, Ollie is startled when Pierce visits in police uniform, claiming he's been undercover in Chas's gang. Pierce's questioning is growing interrogative when Yasmina appears and insists he leave. Convinced Pierce suspects, Ollie begs Yasmina to drive him to his parents' vacant home. That night, Ollie is finally contacted by Ford, the reporter he e-mailed. The following morning, Ollie is shocked when Pierce arrives. Pierce's questions become blatantly threatening; however, Yasmina overpowers him long enough for them to flee. Ollie admits his part in Chas's death and Yasmina leaves, horrified. Ollie telephones Ford and they agree to investigate the farm, Ollie having pieced its location together. However, before Ford can arrive, Yasmina returns, having decided she's prepared to help Ollie one last time. At the farm, evidence confirms Ollie's worst suspicions. But while he's searching, Pierce appears and captures him, revealing that he's made the local hate group a tool to fulfill his personal sadism. When Ford also turns up, a furious Pierce leaves to deal with her. Yasmina rescues Ollie; hearing a gunshot, they hurry to save Ford. After a brutal fight, and as they hear sirens, Pierce tells Ollie that the only way to end this is to kill him. Ollie concedes the point by doing precisely that. Weeks later, Ollie has salvaged his relationship with Yasmina and found new work. Though he's learned that he's far from a good man, he's ready to fight for the second chance he has. FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

About the Author

David Tallerman is the author of the YA fantasy series The Black River Chronicles, which began in late 2016 with Level One and continues in 2017 with The Ursvaal Exchange, the Tales of Easie Damasco series - consisting of Giant Thief, Crown Thief and Prince Thief - and the novella Patchwerk. His comics work includes the absurdist steampunk graphic novel Endangered Weapon B: Mechanimal Science (with Bob Molesworth) and the ongoing miniseries C21st Gods (with Anthony Summey). David's short fiction has appeared in around eighty markets, including Clarkesworld, Nightmare, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. A number of his best dark fantasy and horror stories were gathered together in his debut collection The Sign in the Moonlight and Other Stories. A lifelong fan of cinema, and particularly of Japanese cinema and animation, film has always been a significant influence on David's writing; though his inspirations also extend to comic books, genre fiction, and a degree in English Literature that led to an MA on the topic of seventeenth-century witchcraft. His previous career as an IT Technician took him all across the country, but he currently resides in West Yorkshire, on the opposite side of the county of his birth. In his spare time, and in between movies, he likes to hike around the local countryside, a hobby that has also taken him to wild spots throughout England and beyond.