The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena


The praise for this one is incomparable. Endorsements from the likes of thriller writers Harlan Coban and Sue Grafton made me all the more eager to review The Couple Next Door.

Anne and Marco are young parents having a dinner party with their neighbors, Cynthia and Graham, while taking turns to check on their baby next door every half hour. When Anne feeds her daughter at 12:00 a.m. everything is fine; when Marco checks her at 12:30 a.m. everything is fine. But when they return home at 1:00 in the morning, to find their front door ajar about three inches, they also discover their baby, Cora, is gone.

Immediately, Anne castigates herself. They never should have left the baby alone when the sitter cancelled. Soon, it becomes apparent that a kidnapping has taken place. Or, is Anne implicated because she suffers from post-partum depression and is under the care of a psychiatrist? Each character’s motivations are closely examined in an intricate, well-wrought plot.

The story is a compelling one, the twists are not arbitrary or so sudden they seem artificial. The suspense is substantial as we take our suspicions from one character to the next. There is no doubt at the end, as there can be with translated literature, as to who committed the crime or why. All of these reasons make this a good read. It stops from being a great read, for me, because the sentences are jerky and flat, thrust at us like little jabs from some fencing dual. There are cliches we have heard all too often before.  But, if you want a suspenseful read, with a well drawn plot, this would be the book to pick up.

The Couple Next Door will be published August 23, 2016. Surely it is worth being compared to Gone Girl, and The Girl on The Train, except that I liked this one better than either of those.

10 thoughts on “The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena”

  1. Funny, I wouldn’t have thought this was your kind of read. It feels like I’ve read just one too many of these type of psycho-thrillers lately: it’s become a bit of a fad.


    1. It’s true, I usually prefer to read things that are more…sophisticated, I guess. But, I love a thriller, and even though they seem to be mass produced lately, I had high hopes for this one. In some ways it did not disappoint; in others it is as typical as we’ve come to expect: distraught family, police search, conclusion.


  2. I really engoyed Gone Girl, both the book and the movie and I have not read Girl on the train although it is on my to read list, so I may tackle this 🙂 p.s. i am halfway through I am no one and I love it, thank you for mentioning it 🙂


    1. I liked Gone Girl until the end, when I felt completely manipulated by Gillian Flynn’s facile conclusion. The Girl on the Train was better, more realistic, and this one has a well drawn plot, a conclusion which makes sense for once.

      I am glad you like I Am No One! I thought it was so relevant to our time, as well as an intriguing mystery of sorts. Looking forward to what you think when you finish.


  3. I didn’t care for Gone Girl, but I enjoyed The Girl on the Train. I usually enjoy these types of books when I’m stuck for something new to read. I was able to get a copy of this one via NetGalley, so I’m looking forward to it. Glad you enjoyed it! Seems like a good choice for a summer read.


    1. I thought The Girl on The Train was better, too, in fact most books are better than Gone Girl! 😉 I’m glad you got this from NetGalley, I think you’ll really like it.


  4. This sounds like it might have potential. I tend to shy away from all the new releases that claim to be the next “Gone Girl” or “The Girl on the Train.” The few I’ve read weren’t nearly as good and a couple I ditched before getting too far in.


    1. Publishers compare a book to those two like it’s a good, or guaranteed, thing! I have not read one, including Gone Girl or Girl on the Train, which compared to The Day of The Jackal, or The Bourne Identity, or Presumed Innocent. I still admire your ability to ditch a book whereas I am far too duty bound. Okay, compulsive.


  5. I have an egalley of this one but it’s corrupted and I am having trouble getting a different copy. I hope they can figure it out so I can read it!


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