Love Thy Neighbor

Love Thy Neighbor

by Mark Gilleo


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611880342
Publisher: Story Plant
Publication date: 04/10/2012
Pages: 438
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.30(d)

About 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.

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.

Customer Reviews

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Love Thy Neighbor 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 230 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 2 days ago
A must read.
Anonymous 3 months ago
The story itself was a real page-turner. However, I was often annoyed by sloppy grammatical errors. The ones I remember: “Passed” that should have been “past” “Protege” that should have been “prodigy” “Flare” that should have been “flair” “Teamed” that should have been “teemed” “Fair” that should have been “fare” This was written by a college graduate? No proofreader?
Anonymous 5 months ago
Anonymous 6 months ago
Mark Gilleo did a fabulous job on this book. It far exceeded my expectations. The research alone must have been a monumental task. The book was well written, suspenseful and entertaining at the same time. Having lived and worked in the DC area for over 8 years, I found myself traveling down memory lane. Mark did a great job of describing the area well while not losing site of the story line. If this is a typical example of his writing, I will be reading more Mark Gilleo books.
tupbup on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Love Thy Neighbour follows the lives of two neighbours. One is Clark Hayden who has returned from university to look after his mother who is rapidly sucumbing to dementia in the wake of her husbands recent death. The other is the polite subserviant Pakistani wife, Ariana Amin.Maria Hayden throws the neighbourly trust into disarray when she informs the authorities that she believes three terrorists turned up on her doorstep.Police officers make a half-hearted enquiry and infer that Maria¿s mental capacity renders the information unreliable. Clark¿s curiosity is piqued however and inadvertently begins his own private investigation of the quiet neighbours over the road. Clark is dragged into international terrorism, CIA cover-ups and a deadly plan that no one else seems wise to.Mark Gilleo builds the story through layers of interweaving narratives giving every possible perspective in a short time frame. Although the pace is slow to begin with each scene is key to the finale. Even the characters that join the plot at a late stage are as well formed and memorable as those that dominated the beginning.Gilleo gives the reader both the terrorists¿ perspective and those against them without leading the reader to empathise with either party. Each individual¿s arc through the novel seems as worthy and dramatic as the next.Due to the thriller-nature of the novel the slow set up may put off some readers. However the more patient reader will be rewarded with a tense, climatic finish neatly rounding up all of the loose ends.Gilleo is an exciting new voice in the market bringing together intelligent plots and memorable characters. His next novel Sweat is due to be published this year.
ReviewsbyMolly on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Wow! This book really took me by surprise! For starters, it's fantastically written by a super talented author, and it's a debut. Second, I was blown away by the fact that it gripped me so completely. I started this yesterday morning and had it finished by 2am this morning. I was that hooked on the plot. Gilleo took complex characters, and intriguing, nearly real-life plot line and combined the two to turn out a novel that will not only grip you, but throw you around emotionally and set you done in an unexpected place in the end. You'll be dying for more intensity like this by this fabulous author in the end. What would you do if you suddenly came home from college to take care of an ailing mother (or father, for that matter) who claims her neighbors, the ones who love her and look out for her, are actually terrorists? That's just what happens to Clark and what he's about to find, is absolutely intense. When the police are called, they ignore his mother, claiming it's just a mental state. When the story takes a twist, and the IRS come calling, Clark can't ignore his mother's claims any longer. The suspense and thrills begin as Clark digs deeper......and finds that his mother may not be all the crazy, after all. The intensity of the thrills and suspense is beyond incredibly. Debut novels usually need tweaking here and there, but this one.....this one is awesome. It's a story will not let you go, even if you wanted it to. You'll find yourself quickly entranced by the characters and the mystery. You'll find yourself looking through the eyes of each character as the plot thickens and twists with each page turn. I definitely recommend this novel with more than a 5 Book rating. It's a novel that will leave you thinking about what your neighbors really may be up to! Edge of your seat thrills and mind-blowing twists, this is an absolutely incredible read! Fantastic job, Mr. Gilleo!!
celticlady53 on LibraryThing 10 months 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!!
taletreader on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I'm not usually into stories under this genre, but I'm so glad I followed my gut and kept reading! For one, never once was I ever bored by what was going on. Two, in conjunction with that, there were a lot of nice twists and surprises to keep you going. And finally, I loved the humor--mostly Clark's. Even though with some of the jokes you can tell this is a book geared mainly towards men, I absolutely loved the mystery/action of it all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read the whole book in 24 hours, totally awesome!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wraps up to fast and easy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written