- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
(This part is true.)
In late 1999 a woman from Vienna, Virginia, a suburb ten miles from the White House as the crow flies, called the CIA. The woman, a fifty-something mother of three, phoned to report what she referred to as potential terrorists living across the street from her middle-class home. She went on to explain what she had been seeing in her otherwise quiet neighborhood: Strange men of seemingly Middle-Eastern descent using their cell phones in the yard. Meetings in the middle of the night with bumper-to-bumper curbside parking, expensive cars rubbing ends with vans and common Japanese imports. A constant flow of young men, some who seemed to stay for long periods of time without introducing themselves to anyone in the neighborhood. The construction of a six-foot wooden fence to hide the backyard from the street only made the property more suspicious.
Upon hearing a layperson’s description of suspicious behavior, the CIA promptly dismissed the woman and her phone call. (Ironically, the woman lived less than a quarter of a mile from a CIA installation, though it was not CIA headquarters as was later reported.)
In the days and weeks following 9/11, the intelligence community in the U.S. began to learn the identities of the nineteen hijackers who had flown the planes into the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon. In the process of their investigation they discovered that two of the hijackers, one on each of the planes that hit the World Trade Towers, had listed a particular house in Vienna, Virginia as a place of residence.
The FBI and various other agencies swooped in on the unassuming neighborhood and began knocking on doors. When they reached the house of a certain mother of three, she stopped them dead in their tracks. She was purported to have said, “I called the CIA two years ago to report that terrorists were living across the street and no one did anything.”
The CIA claimed to have no record of a phone call.
The news networks set up cameras and began broadcasting from the residential street. ABC, NBC, FOX. The FBI followed up with further inquiries. The woman’s story was later bounced around the various post 9/11 committees and intelligence hearings on Capitol Hill. (Incidentally, after 9/11, the CIA closed its multi-story facility in the neighborhood where the terrorist reportedly lived. In 2006 the empty building was finally torn down and, as of early 2011, was being replaced with another office building).
There has been much speculation about what the government should have or could have known prior to 9/11. The answer is not simple. There have been anecdotal stories of people in Florida and elsewhere who claimed to have reported similar “terrorist” type activities by suspicious people prior to 9/11. None of these stories have been proven.
What we do know is that with the exception of the flight school instructor in Minnesota who questioned the motive of a student who was interested in flying an aircraft without learning how to land, and an unheeded warning from actor James Woods who was on a plane from Boston with several of the purported terrorists while they were doing a trial run, the woman from Vienna, Virginia was the country’s best chance to prevent 9/11. To date, there has been no verification of any other pre-9/11 warnings from the general public so far in advance of that fateful day in September.
For me, there is no doubt as to the validity of the claims of the woman in Vienna.
She lived in the house where I grew up. She is my mother.
Mark Gilleo. October, 2011. Washington DC.
Ariana turned on the nightlight and closed the door to her daughter’s room. She walked down the carpeted hall towards the light stretching out from the plastic chandelier over the dining room table. Her husband’s chair was empty and she quietly called out his name. No response. As Ariana turned the corner to the kitchen and reached for the knob on the cabinet over the counter, eight hundred pages of advertising crashed into her rib cage, sucking the wind from her lungs. As his wife doubled over, Nazim raised the thick Yellow Book with both hands and hit her on her back, driving her body to the floor.
“Don’t you ever disobey me in front of others again.”
Ariana coughed. There was no blood. This time. She tried to speak but her lips only quivered. Her thick-framed glasses rested on the floor, out of reach. Her brain fought to make sense of what happened, what had set her husband off. It could have been anything. But every curse had its blessing, and for Ariana the blessing was the fact that Nazim didn’t hit her in front of Liana. A blessing that the child didn’t see her mother being punched. The reason was simple. Nazim was afraid of his daughter. Afraid of what she could say now that she could speak.
The curse was that Ariana never knew when she had crossed the line. She never knew when the next blow was coming. She merely had to wait until they were alone to learn her fate for past indiscretions.
Ariana gasped slowly for air. She didn’t cry. The pain she felt in her side wasn’t bad enough to give her husband the satisfaction.
“When I say it is time to leave, it is time to leave. There is no room for negotiation in this marriage.”
Ariana panted as her mind flashed back to the Christmas party. She immediately realized her faux pas. “I didn’t want to be rude to Maria. She spent days making dessert. She is old. Do we not respect our elders anymore?”
Nazim pushed his wife onto the floor with his knee, a reaction Ariana fully expected. “You are my wife. This is about you and me. Our neighbor has nothing to do with it.” Nazim looked down at Ariana sprawled on the linoleum and spit on her with more mock than saliva.
“Maria is my friend.”
“Well, her son is coming home and she doesn’t need you.”
Nazim dropped the yellow book on the counter with a thud and went to the basement. Ariana gathered herself, pushing her body onto all fours and then pulling herself up by the front of the oven. She looked at the Yellow Book and her blood boiled. It was like getting hit by a cinderblock with soft edges. When it hit flush, it left very little bruising. As her husband intended. For a man of slight build, Nazim could generate power when a beating was needed.
Ariana took inventory of herself, one hand propping herself up on the counter. She had been beaten worse. Far worse. By other men before she met her husband. Her eyes moved beyond the Yellow Pages and settled on the knife set on the counter, the shiny German steel resting in its wooden block holder. She grabbed the fillet knife, caressed the blade with her eyes, and then pushed the thought from her mind.
Her husband called her from the basement and she snapped out of her momentary daze. “Coming,” she answered, putting the knife back in its designated slot in the wood. She knew what was coming next. It was always the same. A physical assault followed by a sexual one. She reached up her skirt and removed her panties. There was no sense in having another pair ripped, even if robbing Nazim of the joy would cost her a punch or two.
Christmas, the season of giving, she thought as she made her way down the stairs into the chilly basement.
Posted May 7, 2012
I was blown away (pun unintended) by this book. Love Thy Neighbor is as fine a suspense novel as any I’ve ever read — and the fact that it is Gilleo’s debut suspense novel is mind-boggling.
This novel is smart and fast-paced and full of intrigue. The characters have depth and are believable. But the most believable aspect of Love Thy Neighbor is the story itself — at no point did I find myself disbelieving the storyline or the plot development. In fact, I found myself completely caught up in Gilleo’s narrative of the inner workings of a sleeper cell; how they operate in their effort to commit a crime that will have drastic ramifications for thousands of people.
In this novel, Gilleo is a storyteller of a terrorist cell (and their activities) that comes across as a completely reasonable scenario, which makes it all the more disturbing and downright frightening. Along with that storyline is one of a “normal” everyday neighborhood, one with characters we know too well, neighbors we can completely relate to.
Gilleo has hit a home run with Love Thy Neighbor. Any author who can write suspense that keeps you reading page after page, chapter after chapter — way past your normal bedtime, until your vision is blurry — is an author worth reading…and worth keeping an eye on. His books will be a worthy addition to your bookshelf, alongside any suspense novels that you consider the cream of the crop.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 27, 2012
Posted June 22, 2012
Posted June 4, 2012
Love Thy Neighbor by Mark Gilleo is a suspenseful thriller about terrorism at its most evil. I do not want to go into detail with the plot other than to say that it was scary to think that this could very well happen in our country or anywhere for that matter, especially after 9/11. A very intricate plot, believable characters, scary situations and definitely well researched. I was engrossed in this story from the author's note and it did not stop until I turned the last page. An excellent debut novel by an author I definitely want to read more of.
I highly recommend it!!
Posted May 30, 2012
“They seemed like such a nice family.”
“I can’t believe something like this happened in this neighborhood.”
“I guess you never really know people, do you?”
“I told you this was going to happen! I even called the CIA, but would they listen? No!”
The shock and outrage shown by neighbors after a liar is found in their midst is typical. But could this outrage have been stopped? Could the neighbors have done something to stop the terrorists?
Or would the death toll have just risen?
Watch as this neighborhood finds out…
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 20, 2012
How well do you know your neighbors?
Clark Hayden, a graduate student, moves home to try to help his mother get through the loss of his father. The neighbors have been doing their best looking out for and taking care of her but her diminished mental status seems to be escalating. He knows it is time to come home. He gets there just in time for her holiday party and gets to thank the neighbors for what they have done. He also arrives home just in time to find out his mother is being audited by the IRS!
As the holidays wind down things turn dicey as neighbors go missing, some are found dead and Clark is learning way to much about secret government operations, deadly chemicals and terrorist cells. This is not the neighborhood Clark grew up in and he may hold the key that could save hundreds of thousands of lives in the nation’s capital.
This is a very well written story for a debut novel and it has an extremely complex plot with several characters. While quick paced it is not a book you can read quickly. It needs to be savored so you can catch all of the nuances to the characters and the settings. At times the dialogue becomes so graphic it shines in your mind’s eye like a movie.
In the world today, post 9/11, this story could actually happen, which makes it all the more enticing. There is one twist with a character that was extremely unexpected due to what we have learned about about Middle Eastern culture, but I can tell that the author has done extensive research for this novel and that makes the twist very credible in my eyes.
If you enjoy a good mystery I can promise you will enjoy this book. It will keep you guessing until the very end and will stick with you long after you have read the last word. Mark Gilleo is an author to watch, quality this good in a debut novel is no fluke, I can’t wait for his next suspenseful tale.
Posted April 12, 2012
Amazing Thriller & an Author to watch out for!!!
Clark, a tech student, returns home in order to take care of his frail mother. Age and recent loss of her husband was taking its toll on Maria’s health. So he had decided to come back home to take care of her, attend classes remotely and write his thesis. Well, that was his plan. He had realized that this was going to bring some changes in his life, but what he didn’t realize was how big a change was in store for him. Maria throws caution to the winds by reporting terrorist activities in her neighborhood to the authorities. Unfortunately, nobody believes her. Besides his mother’s condition, he also gets involved in an IRS investigation centered around his parents, death and suspicious activities also catch his attention. Soon Clark gets too involved in everything around him to back out and get some sanity back into his life.
There are so many characters in the book that at times it got difficult to keep a track of them. However, none of them are any less important to the story. Each character, however small & insignificant they seem, has their own roles to play. But I loved Mr.Stanley. Ariana has a strong character. And finally our protagonist – he is no ‘Clark Kent’ – because there is no Kryptonite to stop Clark Hayden when he gets going!
This is another work where facts and fiction have been interlaced beautifully. The plot is gripping and engrossing. It has so many twists and turns that it will keep you hooked and guessing. Mark Gilleo has paid attention to details and his narration style is very graphic. I still cannot believe that this is the debut novel of the author because his writing style is likes of very seasoned authors.
Posted April 1, 2012
Love thy Neighbor caught me by surprise. When I got the invitation to participate on the blog tour, I hesitated. The reason behind my hesitation was simply that the book was almost 500 pages and it seemed like a political thriller/suspense to me. As soon as I read the author's note that the book is based on what could look like a true story, I gave it a chance. I am glad that I did.
Love thy Neighbor started out slowly for my taste, but later in the book you understand the need for lot of explanations and scenes you read previously. At the end, Love thy Neighbor was a book which was captivating and interesting and had many different narratives built into each other. Plotting of the book was very good and I would definitely keep an eye of Mark Gilleo's upcoming books.
Regarding the plot:
Clark Hayden is a young man who is coming to spend time with his mother who has some mental issues after the death of her husband. When Maria Hayden is making a phone call to police and suggesting that there are terrorists living in the neighborhood, police does not take that seriously and more or less ignores her phone call by stamping her being crazy.
Clark's curiosity is leading him to the middle of international terrorism, CIA plotting and other deadly plans.
What I really liked about the plot was that it seemed so real and it could actually happen in reality. That was definitely fascinating and the second thing which was very unconventional what Mark Gilleo did: a woman is leading the terrorist cell and that is quite unheard in the Islam as far as I know.
The author also shows the narrative from both perspectives, also from the side of terrorists. There are characters who seem bad, but turning out to be good and visa verse, so the book keeps surprising you.
Mark Gilleo's writing is something I would like to point out. It is very visual writing he is using. The descriptions he is using are very graphic and while you read you get the pictures running in your head, so the author used all possible senses by writing and I loved that! It would be a good book for movie script.
Besides that, Mark Gilleo has a very good sense of humor.
Regarding the characters:
There were many characters in the book and they all had one thing in common: they were well-written! In the beginning and in the middle of the book I thought that are all these characters really necessary, but as you read further, you realize that they all have a role to play in the story.
My favorite character was not the protagonist Clark, but his mother. I found myself thinking several times: is this woman really crazy or not? The author puts enough second thoughts into the reader's head to find out more about her. She is crazy, but very lovable character.
Love thy Neighbor is a very good book and would highly recommend it to suspense lovers! It is well written and has plenty of intriguing questions which you will continue thinking about after you have finished reading the book.
Posted March 29, 2012
Will give any reader goose bumps!
Clark Hayden expected some craziness as he headed home for the holidays. His mother’s mental health is failing and she’s still trying to move on from the loss of his father. Little did he know that the craziness he ended up in would have nothing to do with her and everything to do with a newly activated terrorist cell which happens to be across the street.
The most chilling thing about Love Thy Neighbor is the fact that it could really happen. Anyone can write a thriller with dashing heroes and lots of explosions, but what Mark Gilleo has done will give any reader goose bumps. He presented us with a normal run of the mill neighborhood absolutely unaware they had terrorists among them. The main character is far from a hero, the police, CIA and FBI are far from infallible and that presents not a typical thriller plot, but a very real possibility. The plot is seriously deep as everything is connected. It’s almost like watching someone put together a complicated jigsaw puzzle of neighbors going missing, chemicals and even things that the reader might think weren’t really important at all. I found myself wowed when things connected that I didn’t even think of. I’ve read the other reviews for this book and many of them say it’s pretty unforgettable. I’m going to agree with them and say I can’t wait to see more!
Thank you to Partners In Crime Book Tours, Mark Gilleo and The Story Plant for the review copy. It in no way influenced my review.
Posted March 29, 2012
My Thoughts and Opinion: Where do I begin? OK..let's start off by me proving myself wrong again with first impressions. I'm thinking this book is going to be another international espionage spy novel (not high up on my favorite read lists), 438 pages (great..... this will take me weeks to read.... will probably seem seem like a lot more because of what I just mentioned) and it's a debut novel!!! OK...Let's get this read.
The novel starts off with an Author's Note that states It's True. And I am hooked!! This debut author has me, but now comes the story, will he hold my attention for 438 pages? As I continue to read, his writing style is so graphic in detail that I actually had the ability to create a clear and vivid imagery in my mind, almost like I am watching a movie, which continues throughout the book. He has the same ability of bringing the cast of characters to life and the settings of the scenes as if I was present and a bystander. Throughout the book there were multiple twists and turns and chapters with mini cliff hangers that made this reader have to "read just one more chapter" but then realizing I was ten chapters later. The suspense was non stop, a definite page turner. There were also a couple of scenes (do not want to include spoilers) that I found myself laughing out loud. A brilliant and compelling read!!!
I found myself thinking several things when I finished this novel. Yes, I was wrong. I could not put this book down, all 438 pages of it. What I thought was going to take me weeks to read, took me a couple of days because it was so engrossing. A masterful written work of fiction, but could it become a reality? I also thought that this novel would make for a great movie. And most importantly, this is an author to put on your radar. His writing is that of a seasoned author. I say Bravo Mr. Gilleo!!!
My Rating: 5
Posted July 13, 2012
No text was provided for this review.