Review of “The Couple Next Door”

book_review_the_couple_next_doorI actually read this book in one sitting.  Apparently, this is the author’s debut novel, and it was definitely a page-turner.  It may end up even becoming a movie in the near future considering its immense popularity.  Author Shari Lapena definitely put in twists that kept me intrigued page after page.  The writing style was basic, and after three quarters of the way through, there weren’t as many final surprises as I had expected.

The book begins with introducing the reader to Anne and Marco, a couple with a young baby named Cora.  They are at a dinner party at their neighbor’s home, and soon the reader discovers that the young couple left their baby at home alone while they attended the dinner party.  They carried a baby monitor with them (without the video portion) and would go to their home next door to check on her every thirty minutes.  The couples actually shared a wall between their homes, so Marco felt confident that the baby would be fine.  The reader also finds out that Anne was against leaving the baby at home, but under Marco’s persuasion, finally relented to having a dinner without kids.

The discovery that their baby is missing hits the reader hard as the author puts every parent’s worst nightmare into words. As a detailed police investigation ensues to find the baby, hidden secrets about the couple and their surrounding family and neighbors are revealed.  Each secret leads to another one making the reader to want to finish the book in one sitting. Other than the neighbor Cynthia, I felt that the other side characters were one-sided and flat.  I also didn’t agree with how the author tried to confuse the reader with Anne’s high school history; it felt extraneous and didn’t seem relevant to the book, even with the ending.

All in all, readers will enjoy the plot twists, and it is a great novel to read on a plane or train trip. However, after several chapters, the readers don’t find too many other surprises that they didn’t suspect in the first place.  That was the main reason I was a bit disappointed when I finished the book.  I had suspected several of the “hidden secrets” initially and , surprisingly, I was correct in my suspicions.  I would have liked to have been truly surprised by a shocker of an ending, but, alas, this did not happen.

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