The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena was the smash hit of the summer. I kept seeing the book review for this domestic thriller everywhere! The back of the book had praise from one of my favourite authors, Tess Gerritsen; she had said this book had her “turning pages like a madwoman”. After reading that, it sealed the deal. I knew I had to give this one a read. Since I have really been into these types of novels as of lately, I didn’t even bother read the synopsis of this one before I purchased it. I was going into this one blind….
The novel opens with Anne and Marco coming home from a dinner party. Their babysitter had canceled last minute and they were only next-door, they figured it would be okay to leave their sixth-month-old baby (Cora) in her crib, especially if they checked on her frequently. When they arrive back home, the baby is gone. Vanished. Who took Cora?
The novel ended up being completely different from what I was expecting. For starters, I expected this novel to be about a couple, which lived next door to our main characters. Maybe these couples were serial killers? I don’t really know what I was thinking. But really, the couple next door was completely minimal in the plot.
So obviously, as stated above, I had no idea that this novel would be about child abduction; I was actually pleasantly surprised about that fact. It kind of makes this novel stand out from the normal domestic thrillers. We get the abduction and then the police investigation into the abduction; it kind of combined what I love domestic thrillers and police procedurals.
However, that was just about the only highlight, for me, in this book.
I was actually quite surprised by how slow moving this one was. I expected it, based on the hype, to be extremely intense. This was not the case- it was actually quite mild. More like a slow hike instead of the roller-coaster ride I was waiting for.
I also found the narration to be a little bit strange. It didn’t really follow any specific pattern; it moves between several different first-person narrative perspectives. Sometimes we hear from Anne (the mourning mother), sometimes we hear from Marco (the husband) and sometimes we hear from the suspicious detective. Even though I am normally a big advocate for multi-perspective narration, I found that in this novel, it switched without any rhyme or reason.
I did appreciate the twist in the middle of this novel; that shocked me. However, the ending of the novel was just okay for me.
If you are a ride-or-die fan of the domestic thriller genre, then you’ll appreciate this one for its subtle twists. You’ll also enjoy this read if you like a slower paced novel. However, if you are looking for something that will blow your mind, this novel probably won’t be it.