Book Review

Book Review: The Couple Next Door

With Halloween comes spooky ghost stories, and suspenseful, mystery thrillers that will make your stomach churn or teeth grit. This year is a little different. Instead of going out to parties or handing out candy on your front porch, you may find yourself stuck inside, looking for a way to pass some time. Interested in a book that will have you on the edge of your seat until the very last page? Sunday Times Bestseller, The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena, was labeled as, “The most talked-about thriller of the year [2016]”, and it was for her ingenious array of motives stemming from each character within the heart-wrenching reality.

Fundamentally, the novel follows a loving relationship between couple Marco and Anne Conti. They have a wholesome bond, wonderful home, and a beautiful baby, Cora. One night, when the couple is at a dinner party next door, grief-stricken panic sets in when their baby is kidnapped. Detective Rasbach is a key factor in the case; setting suspicion upon every party involved, not leaving even the most innocent out.

The main characters of Lapena’s story grapple with the continuously-revealed secrets among the pair, and the magnitude of one decision. Leaving their baby home alone has now unraveled their family. Lapena’s tale is a one of chilling turns of events, deception, unfaithfulness, and incredibly unexpected moments you need to read to believe.

The gripping narrative is told from the third-person point of view and alternates between the experiences of Anne, Marco, Detective Rasbach, Anne’s parents, and the couple’s next-door neighbor, Cynthia. Lapena’s narration dispenses a thorough analysis of each person of interest, and each moment that has built up to this terrible crime.

Lapena allows so much detail of each character that you easily find yourself able to identify with one of them. Readers get a sense of the personal and psychological issues and tensions Anne has been struggling to overcome since giving birth. Lapena’s words allow you to feel the colossal guilt and fear Anne feels since the disappearance. She also wrestles with a few secrets of her past.

Marco is another character you will most likely feel conflicted with. Some major mistakes become uncovered through his confessions and discoveries, but he is also a loving father who is willing to do anything to find his baby girl and have her back in his arms.

The twists and turns get deeper and darker with every turn of the page. The attention to detail within this novel is extremely important, and you’re not going to want to miss a single word on the page.

This novel is ultimately highly recommended for any domestic thrill-seeking reader that enjoys multi-layered plots within the story. The characters are assembled perfectly. By the end, you will feel as if you identify with some, yearn to have the mindset of others, and above all, understand each person’s personal story remarkably well. Enjoy being your own detective while reading, and putting together your own assumptions and pieces of the puzzle until the very end.

Lapena completed a novel with a stunning turn of events and killer twists. Think you’ve got this story figured out? Grab this book and let your inner detective run wild.