Love Thy Neighbor

Love Thy Neighbor

4.0 220
by Mark Gilleo

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“Some of us spend decades learning how to write. Mark Gilleo is one of those rare naturals – or at least it seems that way. Love Thy Neighbor is a shockingly good debut, fascinating and gripping from the first page to the last. It belongs between Ludlum and Forsyth on your shelf.” – Jeff Stein, columnist and National Security Editor, Spytalk


“Some of us spend decades learning how to write. Mark Gilleo is one of those rare naturals – or at least it seems that way. Love Thy Neighbor is a shockingly good debut, fascinating and gripping from the first page to the last. It belongs between Ludlum and Forsyth on your shelf.” – Jeff Stein, columnist and National Security Editor, Spytalk “Important and well done, indeed, Mr. Gilleo!” – Crystal Book Reviews “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!” – The Top Shelf NATIONAL BESTSELLER Clark Hayden is a graduate student trying to help his mother navigate through the loss of his father while she continues to live in their house near Washington DC. With his mother’s diminishing mental capacity becoming the norm, Clark expects a certain amount of craziness as he heads home for the holidays. What he couldn’t possibly anticipate, though, is that he would find himself catapulted into the middle of a terrorist operation. As the holiday festivities reach a crescendo, a terrorist cell – which happens to be across the street – is activated. Suddenly Clark is discovering things he never knew about deadly chemicals, secret government operations, suspiciously missing neighbors, and the intentions of a gorgeous IRS auditor. Clark’s quiet suburban neighborhood is about to become one of the most deadly places on the planet, and it’s up to Clark to prevent the loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives in the nation’s capital. Fast, acerbic, wise and endlessly exciting, LOVE THY NEIGHBOR marks the unforgettable debut of a startling new voice in suspense fiction. A 2014 National Indie Excellence Book Award winner Finalist – 2014 International Book Award

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Important and well done, indeed, Mr. Gilleo!”
– Crystal Book Reviews

“Gilleo is an exciting new voice in the market bringing together intelligent plots and memorable characters.”
– Between the Leaves

“Excellent, there is no other word. The story is emotional, realistic, heart wrenching, suspenseful, and the plot twists and turns keeping the reader turning the page…. This book should be on everyone’s list if suspense, crime, and intrigue are the stories you love. You will not be disappointed.”
– Writing and Other Ways into the Heart

“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!”
– The Top Shelf

“Keeps you guessing until the end. I won’t spoil it, but I was never completely sure what was going to happen until I got there.”
– Tontowilliam’s Electronic Scrapbook

“This is an author to put on your radar. His writing is that of a seasoned author.  I say Bravo Mr. Gilleo!”
– CMash Loves to Read

“Lots of mystery and suspense all along in the story. It will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens. I know I sure did.”
– Sweeping Me

“This story is fun, fast paced, exhilarating, and exciting. You won't want to put it down, because you'll be too excited to see what is coming next in the story.”
– Practical Frugality

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Read an Excerpt

(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.

Meet the Author

Mark Gilleo has a graduate degree in international business from the University of South Carolina and an undergraduate degree in business from George Mason University. He enjoys traveling, hiking and biking. He speaks Japanese. A fourth-generation Washingtonian, he currently resides in the DC area.

His books have received numerous awards and literary recognition, including: Winner of a National Indie Excellence Awards. Winner of the 2014 Beach Book Festival. Finalist in the 2014 International Book Awards. Runner-Up for Fiction in the San Francisco Book Festival and the New York Book Festival. Finalist and semi-finalist in the William Faulkner-Wisdom creative writing competition.

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Love Thy Neighbor 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 220 reviews.
Celticlady1953 More than 1 year ago
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!!
CMash More than 1 year ago
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
KeenlyKristin More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Get this book you will not be disappointed. Had a hard time putting it down to go to bed. For a free-b can't go wrong.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the first 2 books by Mark Gilleo! Couldn't put them down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It held my interest. The descriptions of people and places helped me to envision it like I was there. Highly recommend. Got this on a BN Free Friday. Going to look at his other books. Thanks BN.
-DM- More than 1 year ago
AN excellent book. I could not wait to get up each morning to continue. I cannot put it down.  I love Clark and his sense of humour. Mark Gilleo.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
language. I've decided I can read a good story without the language or sexual aspects that some writers deem necessary.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started this book and had a hard time putting it down. I had to keep reminding myself that it was fiction though premised on something that actually happened.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A turn pager, scary, with todays world and the events that have already occurred makes you want to try to know your neighbors, surroundings and keep your eyes and ears open and pray!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quite good. Very edge-of-your-seat heart pounding. Also a real page turner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this mystery story - believable!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Despite the plot spoilers determined to ruin a good book with their over zealous revealing of every detail, this was a great book. Finally, a great free friday book. Riveting, and terrifying in that it could very possibly happen. This author really knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this book and look forward to reading another book by Mark Gilleo.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mind blowing!!!!! Love love love the storyline!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok it was nice
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written and good storyline.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this book for free many moons ago and it has sat on my virtual book shelf until now. I can't believe it took me so long to pick it up, for once I did, I could not put it down! The opening true author's note immediately grabs the reader and the book, all though a fictional take, is steeped in reality. The suspense reads like today's headline news, making it all the more chilling of a tale. The author does an excellent job of using description and character development at just the right pace and nuance. He will introduce an ancillary character, seemingly unconnected to the story as as whole, but there is always a connection. It keeps the story lively, layered, and fast paced. There are many twists and surprises so I don't want to reveal any of the plot points. I will only say, that this appeals to fans of suspense, mystery, criminal, conspiracy, police, government, ... novels. There's even a little romance thrown in. The relationships the writer creates between his characters are real and deep. You truly care for these characters throughout, and their stories could parallel your own neighbors. Which is the scariest part of all. None of us knows what's happening in our own back yards. And in light of recent terrorist events, it is all that much more plausible. I can't imagine anyone regretting reading this story and I am excited to have found a new and innovative voice in the literary world!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Different sort of story than typical spy story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Entertaining and timely! The plot and characters are much better than those in his other books. by aj west
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good writing . Interesting charcters . Good plot untill close to end and then it got kind of far out and not likely to have ever happen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love his books and his stories.
walc More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago