It only took me a couple of days to read The Couple Next Door because I had a very hard time putting it down. The author did an amazing job at keeping me interested from the very first chapter, and each chapter ending left me wanting more (many of the chapters ended in cliff hangers, which almost reminded me of the old Goosebumps books I used to read as a kid).
This book is written in the present tense, which I normally despise. For some reason, that actually worked in this book and didn’t bother me at all. The cover was a bit boring and uninspired, but the book is much better than the cover would suggest.
In the beginning of the book, a married couple Anne and Marco are at a dinner next door to where they live. The house shares a wall with their own, so it isn’t a huge deal when their babysitter cancels at the last minute. They have a baby monitor, and they leave it on and leave their baby asleep at home. They check on her every half hour and everything seems perfectly safe (they are literally only feet away on the other side of the wall). So it’s a huge shock when, at the end of the first chapter, they go home to find that their baby has been kidnapped. Throughout the book they are made out to be villains by the press for their mistake, but I feel that it’s a bit unfair. People who live in a large house and have a room on the other side of it would be much farther away from their baby than this poor couple was.
Basically the book follows the story of the kidnapping and the police investigation that follows. It only takes place over about a week, and many twists and turns are uncovered. Anne suffers from a mild postpartum depression which is delved a bit deeper into during the duration of the book. It made me think that I had the whole plot figured out right from the beginning, but I was wrong.
In the very middle of the book, a huge shock is discovered. I can’t say too much without giving it away, but I will say that I did not see it coming. Then, as the story begins to wrap up, I found myself shocked again when I discovered who was truly behind the kidnapping (not necessarily the actual taking of the baby, but the one who set the events into motion).
Finally, at the very end of the book, I thought that we had found our happy ending and everything was going to be alright…. only to be completely and utterly stunned by the events that occur on the last couple of pages. I will say this… the book has a sort of happy ending, but it won’t make you feel good.
It will, however, keep you entertained, and that makes it a worthwhile read.
The only negative thing that I can say about this book is that the title and description were a tiny bit misleading. It makes you think that this book is going to be about the couple who live next door, Cynthia and Graham. While they are not nice people (and one of them certainly is guilty of something that’s not exactly good), the story really isn’t about them at all. One of them plays a slight role in the events that occur in the book, but it’s a minor part in the grand scheme of things.
Overall, I’m very happy that I read this book and I think that Shari Lapena is a fantastic writer. I’d definitely read future books from her.
Holly has a Bachelors degree in Environmental Science and owns a small business with her husband selling fleece and hand-spun yarn. When she is not spinning yarn, she does freelance work as a graphic design artist and is highly involved in animal rescue.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Pamela Dorman Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.