Monday 9 January 2017

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena - Book Review

Amanda Kennedy

After a gorge of fiction during the busy festive period, I gave myself a rest from reading at the start of the new year. Meanwhile, my Kindle was beckoning from the shelf, wondering what next I would download, my first read of 2017.

Inspiration struck when I read an interview with Ali Land, author of the upcoming novel, Good Me, Bad Me, which is hailed as the next Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train. I realised I wanted to start my new year reading with something of the same genre, which I have discovered is frequently termed "domestic noir".

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena may not be as well-known as the titles mentioned previously, but hailed impressive reviews on the book sites I frequent. The blurb reminded me of a news story which is still making headlines years on, of the British couple whose daughter was abducted from their hotel room. I wondered if this novel may have been inspired by those real-life events.

The story revolves around Anne and Marco Conti, who leave their young baby at home to attend a dinner party when their babysitter lets them down. Despite frequent checks and an almost-working baby monitor, when they return, their beautiful daughter has disappeared. Who has taken her? What do they want? And will they ever get their daughter back alive?

There are so many twists and turns to this novel. Lapena weaves effortlessly the many strands of personality upon which the mystery in this novel relies.Slowly, slowly, we begin to learn more about the characters involved, their motivations and the skeletons in their closet. Even when we discover who did take the child, around halfway through the novel, there are still many more bombshells left to drop.

I rather enjoyed this novel. The pace was fast with cliffhangers in almost every chapter. Not all of my questions were answered, and there are a few plot holes and lack of character developments which make me wonder whether they were the product of inexperienced writing or the editors chopping board.

Overall I'd score The Couple Next Door 4 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by on

Amanda Kennedy / Book Blogger, Writer & Editor

Amanda is a lifelong learner and book lover who lives in the North of England with her family and several cats. She writes book reviews, literary news and bookish articles here on All My Pretty Books.

To learn more about Amanda's own work, visit her personal website.


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