The Happy Man by Eric C. Higgs
This is a reprint of a novel from 1985. Charles has a good job, an understanding wife and a house in the San Diego suburbs. All is well. But he is dissatisfied. Then the Marsh family move in next door. Ruskin Marsh is not a nice man and his effect on the neighbourhood leads to social conflict, huge ethical and moral dilemmas and Charles being oddly beguiled by the monsters who've moved in next door. There are life-altering consequences and terrible events.
Things escalate violently and soon Charles is past the point of being merciful. There are brand names and videodiscs. This is dark and unsparing and mercifully brief as Charles' dark mood of dissatisfaction is lifted by Ruskin's espousal of violence. The ending sees Charles make no apology whatsoever and utter not one word of repentence or remorse.
Things descend into chaos and Charles realises he has been keeping the worst kind of criminal company. The ending is a squalid pleasure as the previously inecplicably furious Charles decides how he's going to be a useful member of society.
Ruskin is a continual meance who caused a reasonably orderly area to become a hellhole via his ideological education of Charles that made him complicit in stark horror. All decent instincts are cast aside leading to complete devastation and violent turmoil. Ruskin is the scourge of his neighbourhood and will meet a foreordained destiny.
“The Howling Bastards.”
“Trying to look mean.”
“This isn't the kind of party good neighborhoods have.”