The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Anne and Marco seem to have it all: a loving relationship, a wonderful home and their beautiful baby Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, their daughter goes missing. They’d left her at home with the baby monitor on and had been checking on her every half hour, yet sometime between their last check and the time they get home, the baby disappears without a trace. Suspicion immediately focuses on the devastated parents, and then on Anne the shattered mother who has been suffering from post-partum depression.

But the truth is much more complicated story, and inside the curtained house and unsettling, nerve-wracking account of what actually happened and of what may have happened to baby Cora unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something: Anne and Marco soon learn that each is keeping secrets, some of which they’ve kept for years; and baby Cora is still missing. A chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness, The Couple Next Door will keep readers breathless until the final, gruesome and utterly unexpected twist.

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4 Stars (4 / 5)

This is one of the newer mystery novels that are being mass produced lately, touting supreme twists and turns that will drive you wild. It really did keep me guessing at most elements until the very end, and it really did have many crazy twists in it, some might say one or two too many actually. Such a carefully woven tale with so many situations and set ups that one could hardly believe at the end that it could actually happen that way.

When the story begins we start at a dinner party where Anne’s husband is being flirted with by a different married woman. It was hard to keep who was who right at the beginning, but don’t let that ruin it for you because they soon leave their house and head for their own place, eliminating the amount of people that you have to keep track of.

When Anne heads upstairs and sees that her daughters crib was empty, she realizes that her baby had been kidnapped, the story had me. I can only see that as being the absolute worst feeling a person could ever have, so I knew I was going to have to complete this story if only to see if the baby lived or died.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK

I enjoyed the way that the story was told, as if a narrator that no one could see was standing over in the corner and telling you exactly what was going on throughout the story. As a reader you are never really in the characters head, and I that was new and exciting way of telling the story for me.

The author really “trimmed the fat” in this story and that’s something that I love. No silly nonsense backstory that doesn’t go anywhere, no dialog that doesn’t belong there. The story is cut and dried and to the point and that is what keeps that pages turning!

There were so many twists and turns in this book! It definitely kept me guessing the whole time and there were certainly a few surprises even for me, she-who-isn’t-surprised-by-a-book-very-often-girl.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER

Like so many of the fad surprise thrillers that are out there today, I found it hard to like the characters in this book. This is a trend that I see in this kind of book (like Gone Girl, The Widow and Girl on the Train, all of them detestable characters.) Even though you felt bad for the mother obviously she was not a likable person at all, and neither was her detestable husband. Then you got to know more about their neighbors and their parents and you realize that you don’t like them either because they aren’t likable either. There isn’t anything endearing about anyone in this novel and at times it is hard for me to connect with them when they are written like that. NOW, that being said, since this novel was told with such a detached story telling style, like you aren’t really in the characters head at all, that it works for this book and this book alone so far.

There were SO MANY twists and turns in this book. SERIOUSLY. I’m on the fence about this one, that is why I put it in both places. Like seriously I feel like there may have been one too many for some readers, one for sure for me.

Because…

Alas, after all that, and I’m going to keep this spoiler free…but I could have really done without the last chapter. And I’m not sure why I hated it either, I just…..WHY?!

So if you liked the books I listed off about, The Widow by Fiona Barton, Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens , or Gone Girl, then I think that you would enjoy this book too. It would be a stretch if I said that I found this novel satisfying. I found it entertaining and intriguing enough to read it to the end, but the whodunnit suspense would have been too great for me to stop in the middle.

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ssmithwife

Sara is a book hobbit that lives in a house of all boys, located in the promised land. Books stack the walls to the ceiling in some places, and she just keeps adding more. She was raised on top of a mountain that is locked in the dead of winter ten months of the year. She wears a size eleven shoe and enjoys her chicken cooked on the BBQ grill. In addition to reading she enjoys pinning crafts on Pinterest that she will never make and watching movies about people with sad lives or documentaries about serial killers.

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