Book Review – Shari Lapena “The Couple Next Door”

As ever, mild spoilers ahead! There are so many twists and turns in this book that it’s hard not to give anything away but I’ll try my best to make it interesting anyway!

This book was incredibly easy to read. I read the whole thing in 7 hours straight, just stopping for food and a couple of breaks. Each time I put the book down, I couldn’t wait to pick it up again. The writing style is simplistic, but I like that. I’m not looking for Shakespeare, just a book that I don’t have to give myself headache over!

The storyline revolves around the abduction of baby Cora, from her home. What makes the book controversial from the outset is that the parents were at a dinner party next door when she was taken, drawing comparisons with the infamous McCann family – is it ever OK to leave your child alone at such a young age? And if anything happens to that child then who is ultimately to blame? I know which side of the line I’m on, and I will not be leaving my baby alone to go out for dinner at any point in the near future.

The characters are in-depth and interesting, with really detailed back-stories to keep me happy. Anne, one of the main characters, is, if not likeable, then easy to empathise with. Her husband Marco is an enigma, but again I found myself siding with him on more than one occasion, and the other characters are well-rounded but unpredictable. You can see why they do the things they do, without being able to predict in advance what those things are…

*Spoilers*

Overall I wasn’t expecting a lot from the book; I’d never heard of the author, or read any of her other work. It didn’t come massively highly-recommended; it was just another book passed on to me by someone who had finished with it. But for some reason, I was hooked from start to finish. I think the amount of twists helped; although I was disappointed when my theory about Marco was confirmed (it had been hinted at throughout the first few chapters, mainly by the detective investigating the case), the next plot twist was just around the corner so I wasn’t disappointed for long!

I would give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty damn close.

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