Sunday, March 25, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Anne can feel the acid churning in her stomach and creeping up her throat; her head is swimming. ~ Opening from A Couple Next Door 



Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena, narrated by Kirsten Potter
Penguin Books, 2016
Crime Fiction/Thriller; 309 pgs

When I pick up a book like this, my mind automatically starts thinking of all the possibilities. While being right about the direction a book may go can be rewarding in and of itself (Ha! I’m right again!), so can being surprised. What I especially liked about The Couple Next Door is how it nailed both of those feelings with each new twist.

I have mixed feelings about books involving missing children, but there is something about them that I can’t resist in a thriller just the same. I liked that this novel felt like a thriller right from the start and did not get bogged down by the emotions of the grief-stricken parents as sometimes these types of novels can. Shari Lapena does a good job of balancing the grief and fear the parents felt over their missing infant with the mystery of what happened. The parents’ feelings are palpable. What mother wouldn’t be terrified to come home and find her child gone? Feelings of fear and guilt would be overwhelming. They certainly are for both Marco and Anne, whose daughter was taken from her crib in the middle of the night.

When the babysitter had called off, Marco convinced Anne to go through with their plans to attend the next-door neighbor’s party. The two homes are attached, they have their baby monitor with them, and they are taking turns checking on the baby throughout the night. Anne still feels guilty about leaving her daughter, Cora, alone like that. Weighed down by post-partum depression and needing a bit of time away, however, she goes along with her husband’s plan.

What follows is a fast-paced and tense-filled thriller that had me on the edge of my seat. I listened to the audio version, which was very well done. As can be expected for a book like this, everyone has their secrets, including the next door neighbors whose party Anne and Marco attended. It is hard to find a character one can feel completely sympathetic too (with the exception of dear little Cora). I did feel for Anne though. Having suffered from postpartum depression myself, I know how difficult it can be.

I liked that Shari Lapena offers a glimpse into each of her character’s minds, giving us the opportunity to better understand their motives and situations. Each one was a piece of a puzzle, and seeing where and how it fit in was what really made this book the most interesting for me. The Couple Next Door was a wild ride that I was caught up in the moment as I listened to it, and could not wait to see how everything played out.


To learn more about Shari Lapena and her books, please visit the author's website. You can also find the author on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

To learn more about Kirsten Potter, please visit her on Goodreads.


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24 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this one and reviewed it in 2016. The fact that I can remember it after all the books between then and now says something.

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    1. Jenclair - Yes, being able to remember this one among so many others does speak volumes. This was really good.

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  2. There were several moments I had to suspend disbelief in this book but I still liked it a lot. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it too.

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  3. Big thriller fan here, so this sounds really good to me. The mystery of the babies disappearance sounds great, but I’m with ya on missing children it really gets me, so scary. But, I would love to know how this turns out! Great review!

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  4. I remember liking this one a lot and sitting there trying to decide if the story would go this way or that. I love doing that. Glad you enjoyed it and I know that a 'child in peril' story is not a favorite of most of us. However, I think this author did a good job. I haven't read her next one. Have heard mixed things. Ah well, I'll get to it at some point.

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    1. Kay - I love trying to guess which way a story will go too. Haha. I look forward to reading more by the author. Although, like you, I've heard mixed things about her next one.

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  5. I enjoyed reading this one and I'm looking forward to reading her next book.

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  6. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this book. My sister had recommended it to me a while back but I hadn't really given it much thought since then. It sounds like a very compelling story. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

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    1. Suzanne - I hope you like it if you do decide to read it. There are so many tempting thrillers out there and not all have lived up to my expectations. This one did, fortunately.

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  7. Whew, this is one that has been on my TBR for a bit, but I never got around to reading it, and now I am regretting it.

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  8. Great review! -- is what I should have ended my previous comment with :)

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  9. It was readable but the end was weak.

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    1. Ti - I actually quite liked the way it all ended, but I can see how not everyone might agree.

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  10. This is a book that I have thought about but haven't been quite sure about either. I do think that this is one that I would like. I might have to check out the audio.

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  11. I feel like I've heard about this book before! I like thrillers so I'll definitely see if I can get it from the library(:

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    1. Eustacia - I hope you enjoy it if you do read it!

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  12. This looks good! It's kind of funny that the idea of leaving an infant in the house alone like that is shocking but I know that's not for any logical reason. I'll have to look for the audio on this. I do like secrets!

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    1. Katherine - I hope you enjoy this one if you decide to give it a try.

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