Category Archives: Alyssa Cole

Review: When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole

Title: When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 364 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


Rear Window meets Get Out in this gripping thriller from a critically acclaimed and New York Times Notable author, in which the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood takes on a sinister new meaning…

Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.

But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.

When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?


When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole is a socially relevant mystery that is quite suspenseful.

Following her divorce, Sydney Green moves back home to Brooklyn. Counting on her mom and her best friend Drea to comfort her, she instead discovers her beloved mother is ill.  Living by herself, Sydney is off work for the summer. She is a little aimless as she continues trying to put her life back together.  Sydney’s community is close-knit and they look out for and take care of one another.  Which is just one of the reasons she and others are upset that many of their neighbors are abruptly selling their homes. The neighborhood is undergoing gentrification and several of the home buyers are white and openly racist. Sydney’s mom has been under a great deal of pressure to sell her home, but she and now Sydney are emphatically refusing.  While researching the history of her neighborhood, Sydney cannot help but see parallels between the past and the present.  At the same time, she is also contending with heightened efforts to force her to put her home up for sale.

Meanwhile, across the street, Theo and his girlfriend Kim Devries are basically living separate lives.  Not long after moving in, Kim decides their relationship is not working. While she concentrates on renovating the house, Theo spends his time watching the neighborhood through the upstairs window. He is intrigued by Sydney and at a block party planning meeting, he volunteers to assist her with her research into the neighborhood. With the stalemate between him and Kim heating up, Theo becomes more involved with Sydney.

Sydney and Theo are becoming very apprehensive about what is going on in the neighborhood. Sydney’s long time neighbors are leaving under increasingly suspicious circumstances especially since the current events coincide with the a pharmaceutical company moving into the area.  With the situation quickly become dangerous for Sydney, will she and Theo uncover the truth about what is happening around them? And will Theo reveal the secrets he has been keeping?

When No One Is Watching is an enthralling mystery with a timely storyline about racism, white privilege and avarice. Sydney is a compelling woman who has no patience for Theo’s fumbling attempts to understand the issues facing Black people in the past and present. Theo is an interesting man who is appealing and more than a little mysterious.  As the pieces of the shocking puzzle fall into place,  Alyssa Cole brings this chilling mystery to a stunning conclusion. A fast-paced and engaging mystery that I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend.

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Filed under Alyssa Cole, Contemporary, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, When No One Is Watching, William Morrow Paperbacks