"The Couple Next Door" by Shari Lapena
It probably helps that I’m the mom of an infant, but this book had my attention from start to finish. If I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about reading it. And how often can you say that?
The book opens with a dinner party. Young parents Anne and Marco are dining – and drinking – with their neighbors. We quickly find out that, after their babysitter cancelled at the last moment, Anne and Marco made the fateful decision to leave their baby daughter, Cora, sleeping in her crib next door. Armed with a baby monitor and faithfully checking on her every half hour, it would seem that nothing could go wrong.
Obviously something does.
Anne and Marco return home to find the front door ajar and Cora (no shock here) missing.
The plot loses no momentum, racing on from this compelling starting point. While many dust jackets claim that the book contained within will “have you guessing from beginning to end” few do.
This one did.
While a few of the twists weren’t entirely shocking, I definitely experienced at least a handful of “OMG, seriously!?!” moments. (And yes, I said "OMG" in my head. I experience surprise and shock in text speak... No idea why... Moving on)
Lapena did an amazing job of fully developing the characters in this book – which I’m kind of a stickler for. I felt a level of authenticity and roundness out of nearly all of the characters (and there was quite a collection) that I am so often left longing for when reading. This is particularly true when I read thrillers, as character development is often put on the back burner in a noble attempt to move the plot along.
This book, which was as satisfying on the first page as on the last, is inarguably one of the best books – if not the best book – I have read this year.
I would entirely recommend The Couple Next Door not just to fans of thrillers, but to booklovers period – particularly to booklovers who also happen to have infants at home.
Given this glowing praise, it should come as no surprise that I give this book 5 out of 5 cocktails.
Leaving your infant at home...alone...at night is some pretty shitty parenting, but it's far from the worst I've ever seen in literature. Have you ever read a book that left you saying "Seriously, where the hell is child protective services?" Tell me about it in the comments, below.
On to another book. Want to see what I'm reading now? Go here.