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The Couple Next Door Hardcover – August 23, 2016
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“Meticulously crafted and razor-sharp. The Couple Next Door lingers long after you turn the final page.” —Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Fool Me Once
"The twists come as fast [as] you can turn the pages." --People
"Provocative and shocking. One crime, an entire neighborhood of suspects, secrets and lies. How well do we ever know those around us? The Couple Next Door will keep you glued the pages in search of the answer. Even then, you'll never guess the truth...until it's too late.” --Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Find Her
“I read this novel at one sitting, absolutely riveted by the storyline. The suspense was beautifully rendered and unrelenting!” —Sue Grafton, New York Times bestselling author of X
“Real men read women writers–because of books like this. Trust me.” —Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Make Me
"Shari Lapena has written a stunning debut thriller. Turn on the night lights and lock all your doors and windows. The Couple Next Door grabs you with each twist and shocks you with every betrayal." —Linda Fairstein, New York Times bestselling author of Killer Look
"A twisty, utterly riveting tale that will send readers on a wild rollercoaster ride of emotions. Shocking revelations kept me turning the pages like a madwoman." —Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of Playing with Fire
“Expertly paced and finely crafted, The Couple Next Door is a gripping thriller of the highest order. I couldn’t put it down.” —A. J. Banner, bestselling author of The Good Neighbor
“Gripped me from the very beginning to the very end!” --Becky Masterman, author of Rage Against The Dying
“Brilliant! This utterly riveting psychological thriller hurtles along at breakneck speed, never giving you the opportunity to catch your breath. Twisty, turny, and unputdownable.” —C. L. Taylor, bestselling author of The Lie
“Exquisitely torturous tension.” —NPR.org
“Where did that baby go! It’s hard not to read to the end to find out, and the twists waiting there are gratifyingly clever.”—USA Today
“The many never-saw-them-coming twists and questionable characters. . . will keep you on the edge of your seat. First-time novelist Lapena’s writing is spare and tense, and it makes The Couple Next Door a compulsive read. The last line is absolutely killer.” –Good Housekeeping
“[A] well-sculpted domestic thriller . . . highly suspenseful . . . Twists are subtly revealed with aplomb, taking the story to increasingly unpredictable levels.” —Associated Press
“[A] suspenseful, heart-wrenching debut. . . After numerous twists and turns, Lapena delivers one final, deftly crafted surprise.” —Publishers Weekly
“Brisk prose style and character development are almost beside the point in Lapena’s suspense-fiction debut; this is a plot-driven page-turner, and even the most character-focused readers will find it hard to put down.” —Booklist
About the Author
Shari Lapena worked as a lawyer and as an English teacher before turning to writing fiction. Her suspense debut, The Couple Next Door, as well as her second novel, A Stranger in the House, were New York Times and international bestsellers. Lapena’s next book, An Unwanted Guest, is forthcoming in summer 2018.
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So, with their babysitter cancelling on them, Anne and Marco leave their baby, Cora, at home whilst they "pop" next door for a dinner party. It'll be fine - they have the baby monitor with them and they go to check on her every half hour and they're only next door. What can possibly go wrong?
Quite simply, they arrive home to find the front door open and the baby gone. Anne goes to pieces, Marco freezes, Anne recovers and the police are called. It is then up to Detective Rasbach to try and piece together what actually happened that night. Did the parents cover up, is one or both of them responsible, is it a third party and if so, was it an opportunistic crime or meticulously planned. With most of the suspects being inconsistent with their stories will Rasbach be able to cut through the noise, work out truth from lies, and bring the case to a close?
I loved this book. It grabbed my attention from the very first page, held on tight and wouldn't let me go until the very last. I was completely enthralled by all the twists and turns, secrets and lies and some delicious family dynamics specifically between Marco and his in-laws.
Characters were especially well defined and thus easy to connect to / emote with although, truth be told, apart from Rasbach, I didn't really like any of them! Plotting was excellent and very well executed. As with most books of this genre, it gets a bit convoluted, but it was easy to follow, made sense and so I never got lost.
Pacing was also excellent throughout. The action was high octane most of the way through but there were calmer moments throughout which I was grateful for as they gave me chance to catch my breath before starting off again.
I believe that this is a new genre for this author. If this is the quality for her first effort, I really can't wait to see what she serves up next time.
I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
For Anne and Marco Conti, the fact that they do their best to put their best foot forward is not as obvious as one would think. They've always appeared so perfect to outsiders : a seemingly flawless couple; beautiful and wealthy, successful in business and in family. No one would ever suspect the trouble that lay behind the doors of their expensive brownstone. On the inside of the Conti home, a different story is playing out altogether. There are cracks in the porcelain; there are irreparable runs in the fabric that has been meticulously woven together to complete the Conti household.
Since giving birth to their baby girl, Anne has struggled with her identity. She's struggled with postpartum depression. She's struggled with her weight and feeling desirable to her husband. It certainly doesn't help that next door lives a neighbor who is not only dripping with seductive curves and a general air of sex, but that the woman makes constant eyes at Anne's husband. After years working with affluent collectors and purveyors of fine art, Anne is now bombarded with the constant needs of her new child; the years of having endless hours to spend perfecting her hair and makeup or carefully honing her body with a personal trainer are over, the time now spent cleaning spit-up off of her dirty and oversized t-shirt or thrusting a nipple attached to an engorged breast into her screaming infant's mouth. Cora isn't an easy baby, in fact she's the opposite of the sweet and cuddly angelic little figure Anne had in her mind during her pregnancy. She'd dreamed of days curled up in bed with her baby laying peacefully beside her, of afternoons spent pushing silky curls back from her daughter's face as she gurgled happily. But the reality is that Cora does nothing but cry, and Anne feels like a veritable failure as a result.
So when a night away presents itself, Anne is intrigued. Marco insists they go next door to get away, to have a little time with other adults and have a few drinks. Anne is at first thrilled to disengage herself from the thickly formed vines of motherhood and spend a few hours in shoes that she used to walk in, to perhaps regain a bit of her old self. But when the babysitter cancels at the last minute and they cannot find another, Anne retreats into herself, becoming anxious to leave their daughter and questioning a night out. Why would she want to go next door, anyway? Seeing her neighbor Cynthia is only going to make her feel more self-conscious about her appearance; it will only solidify the festering feelings of unease in her own skin, will only remind her of the excess weight hugging her middle like a too tight hug. Anne doesn't want to leave Cora. Something in her gut is telling her no. She's uncomfortable with Marco's suggestion : that they take the baby upstairs, lay her down for bed, and spirit themselves next door as quietly as they can, the baby monitor in tow. He promises her that they will check on baby Cora every half an hour, and since they are next door after all, what could possibly happen?
What happens is the unthinkable. When the couple returns home after midnight - only thirty minutes since the last check on their sleeping child - the door to their posh New York City brownstone in the well-maintained and quietly wealthy neighborhood stands ajar. Rushing upstairs, Anne and Marco find their baby girl missing, the crib standing vacant with the ugly truth.
Cora is gone. Vanished, without a trace.
The detective on the scene is seasoned and cautious. Detective Rasbach can tell right off the bat that something isn't quite adding up here. The emotional distance between the couple is palpable. The stressed relationship with Anne's parents is full of tension so thick it could be cut with a butcher knife. As the weeks go by, the detective will begin to peel back the many layers of the Conti family, laying bare their insecurities and their deepest secrets and forcing them to look at each other in ways they'd never imagined. Anne will discover the things her husband is keeping to himself, and Marco will unearth shocking discoveries about a wife he thought he knew.
. . . but . . . where is the baby? Where is Cora?
The Couple Next Door, the newest book by Shari Lapena, is full of twists and turns that will leave the reader dizzy and frenzied. As the plot unfolds from page to page, suspense and suspicion will mount and attack upon the senses, all leading up to the unexpected reveal. 4 out of 5 stars is given to this thrilling novel, and I recommend it to readers who enjoy fast-paced plots the like of Gillian Flynn and Megan Miranda. This quick read will leave you breathless and keep you guessing; the pivoting of the storyline coming as fast as you can turn the page.