A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena- Feature and Review


How well do you know the couple next door? Or your husband? Or even—yourself?  

People are capable of almost anything. . . 

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors—a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . . 

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco  soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years. 

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of  deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.



The Couple Next DoorThe Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena is a 2016 Pamela Dorman Books publication.

A hypnotic and atmospheric thriller.

This story starts off with a familiar- ripped from the headlines- setup where a couple, Ann and Marco, decide to leave their young daughter home alone while they attend a dinner party next door. They bring the baby monitor and check on the baby every half hour. However, when they return home from the party they discover the child has been kidnapped.

After reading the first chapter of this book, I heaved a heavy sigh, trying to stifle an eyeroll. This again? I had read a book, not all that long ago, with a nearly identical plotline.

However, it wasn’t long before the story morphed into one very twisted family drama that kept me glued to the pages, especially in the last quarter of the book, where the twists were relentless.

The buildup is a little slow at first, but the atmosphere is very edgy and I admit I fell into the author’s clever trap, playing along with what appeared to be the usual child kidnap case, with the parents being suspected and all those delicious skeletons falling out of the closet. But, I never could have guessed how it would all play out.

I love psychological thrillers and have read them off and on for many years. The genre seemed to change very little until the mega success of ‘Gone Girl’ caused a spike in its popularity. Now, I see a whole new, fresh crop of debut novelist, giving the genre a little facelift, which is a very welcome change. But, for me, I thought this one was a nice blending together of the traditional, ‘old school’ style with the new and improved structure.

While I would love to gorge myself on PT, they tend to work better for me if I space them out of bit. Thankfully, I passed on this one when it was first released, taking a slight break from the genre, so I didn’t burn myself out on it. As you can tell from my attitude concerning the first chapter, I definitely needed that space.

Thankfully, the story took off and gave my brain a real workout. I thought it was a wickedly fun mind trip even if it wasn’t the most properly constructed novel I’ve ever read and the pacing wasn’t always pitch perfect. I’ve confessed many times that I tend to be a bit jaded when it comes to thrillers, often guessing the plot twists well in advance, but, there were so many whip smart turns here, I never could have seen all the twists coming, even if I had my suspicions about one or two of the characters.

So, at the end of the day, it all boils down to how engaged or entertained I was and I have to say, I thought this was a pretty solid thriller and I enjoyed reading it.





Shari Lapena worked as a lawyer and as an English teacher before turning to writing fiction. She has written two award-winning literary novels, and her suspense debut, The Couple Next Door, was a New York Times and an international bestseller. A Stranger in the House is her second thriller.

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