Book Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Title: The Couple Next Door
Author: Shari Lapena
Publisher: Corgi – Penguin Random House UK
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 344
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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 focuses 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.

The story unfolds very quickly and it doesn’t take long for suspicions to be provoked regarding nearly every character. I was glad that it went straight into the story and there wasn’t any build up to the night where the baby goes missing because that would have been really unnecessary.

This had many elements of a typical thriller in which, as a reader, it’s hard to tell who might be the culprit, who is dangerous and who is in fact in danger. After Anne and Marco find that their baby is missing, events happen in quick succession and we soon meet the detective who is leading the investigation. The story unfolds at a fast pace and it made it flow well and was easy to read.

What I really liked about this story was that it was not told from the perspective of one unreliable character as is the case with a lot of thrillers these days. Anne, Marco, Detective Rasbach, the neighbours and Anne’s parents are all revealed to the reader through their third person perspective. I found this gave a really comprehensive picture of what was happening and what each character was thinking which was also an interesting aspect of the story.

As the story progresses and the baby is still missing, secrets start to be disclosed about Anne and Marco which portray them in a negative light to the reader. About halfway through, quite a big twist is dropped in regards to Marco however, the way it was revealed made it seem expected and took away a lot of the shock factor for me. I think it was the way it as written, it could have been done in a more captivating way.

The good aspects of this story were that it was fast-paced which made it easy to read and it was interesting in the way it involved the perspective of several characters. On the other hand, the twists weren’t very surprising and the way they were written made them even less so. For me, a good sign of a thriller (or any book in fact) is that I have to absolutely force myself to put the book down when I have to do life things but I didn’t have that with this one. A fairly average thriller.

Rating: 6/10





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