Hi everyone! I hope you are having a great start to your week. Today, I’ll be reviewing, The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. I liked the book because the mystery was intriguing, the characters had hidden secrets, and you couldn’t trust anyone. This gets a solid three stars.
Challenge Criteria (Popsugar): A book about a family & A book told from multiple POVs
Challenge Criteria (Mommy Mannegren): An author you’ve never heard of before
Book: The Couple Next Door
Author: Shari Lapena
Summary: It all started at a dinner party. . .
A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors—a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .
Anne and Marco Conti 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, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately lands on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.
Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.
What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.
What I Liked:
*The whodunit mystery. (I just realized that the blurb doesn’t tell the reader what exactly the crime is, so here you go: While Anne and Marco are at a dinner party next door, their six month old daughter, Cora, is kidnapped.) I love a good mystery that has a thriller side to it. TCND delivers a good mystery, with a small cast of characters who could possibly have committed the crime. I really wanted to find out who did it, and as the story progressed, I realized anyone, including those who I had excluded as not being the kidnapper, could have been a part of it.
More on the thriller aspect below.
*The portrayal of Anne throughout the story. She was just so believable in her grief and I really felt for her. From the start, I’d said, no way, she had absolutely nothing to do with it because her agony was real. She was constantly on the verge of hysterics and didn’t sleep for days. But as the story progressed, tiny seeds of doubt were planted and you weren’t sure who you could trust anymore. There’s more I’d like to explain, but I don’t want to spoil it.
*Detective Rasbach is annoyingly right. Every time that he implied that Anne had something to do with her daughter’s disappearance, I got upset just like Anne. I really wanted him to show his emotions, to understand Anne’s plight. But if he did, he wouldn’t be able to do his job, right? That’s why I thought he was such a great character, making me annoyed about his emotionlessness
(Is that a word?) while I also sympathized and understood he had to do his job.
Everyone is faking it, all of them pretending to be something they’re not. The whole world is built on lies and deceit.
What I Didn’t Like:
*Anne’s step-father. Anne’s parents are wealthy. No, scrap that. Anne’s mother, Alice, is wealthy, but her step-father, Richard, likes to pretend he’s the one with the deep pockets. Marco, Anne’s husband, is not on good terms with his in-laws. They don’t like him, especially Richard because they think he isn’t rich/good enough for their daughter. So when the time comes to gather money for ransom, Richard has to make everything difficult. It made me seriously mad at him, that he has to fight and bicker with Marco about Marco being a screw-up and constantly borrowing money when the life of his step-granddaughter is at stake. Like, who does that?
“Maybe I should come with you, so you don’t screw it up.” Anne’s father says.
Marco regards him with open malice. “No.” He adds, “If they see someone else, they might not go through with it.”
They stare at each other. “I’m the one with the big checkbook,” Richard says.
“Actually, I’m the one with the big checkbook,” Alice says sharply.
“Dad, please,” Anne says, terrified that her father is going to ruin everything. Her glance darts anxiously from him to her mother.
“We have no proof that Cora is even alive,” Richard says. “It could be a trick.”
Yup, that’s Anne’s super supportive and optimistic dad. Isn’t he just lovely?
*There isn’t really a huge adrenaline rush throughout the book. I felt meh at some time and at others, the thriller aspect existed. However, I was hoping for an edge of your seat climax. I was disappointed. Sure the twist was shocking, but I didn’t feel anything.
I could add more, but then I’d ruin the book for those of you who haven’t read it. If you really want to know, check out my Goodreads version of the review to see the spoilers.
Overall, not a bad book, but there were certain things that irked me, and yet, it made the story more plausible and real. Good job, Ms. Lapena for writing such a good mystery.
Have you read The Couple Next Door? Did you enjoy it? Did Richard’s behavior irk you as well? Let’s Chat in the comments!