The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
Published by: Pamela Dorman Books
Publication Date: August 23rd 2016
Pages- 320 pages
Format- eGalley (Netgalley)
Rating: ★★★ (3.75)
How well do you know the couple next door? Or your husband? Or even—yourself?
People are capable of almost anything. . .
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.
I’d like to thank Pamela Dorman Books for approving me to receive an eGalley of The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Couple Next Door is the first thriller I have read in 2016 & I am very glad that it was a good one. I love my thrillers filled with plot twists & dark complex characters. The Goodreads synopsis gives you a brief description (as it should) about the life Anne & Marco Conti lived with their infant daughter. I gave this read 3.75 stars, I only docked it a bit because towards the end it started to get a bit too twisty & even though these are fictional characters, the deception started to feel like over kill. I still enjoyed this book until the very last page, it definitely would make a great movie or 2 hour episode on Law & Order.
I won’t give away too much of the details since this is a thriller/suspense that will be released this coming Tuesday the 23rd but I’ll give you the basics. Anna has a passion for a art & up until the birth of her baby, she used to work in galleries. She comes from a very wealthy family. Marco has his own start-up business & quite the opposite family background, born to hard-working Italian parents. He fell in love with Anne & her passion for everything Art, he thought she was sexy, beautiful, interesting.
Everything changed once baby Cora arrived…
Every new couple experiences challenges when bringing home their new baby, Anne suffered from mild Postpartum depression & also another more vague mental disorder. She became a stay-at-home mom dedicated to her new baby while Marco worked on his start-up. Their lives changed the night they decided to attend the next door neighbor’s dinner party. They thought if they took the baby monitor & checked up on baby Cora every 30 minutes, that all would be well…until it wasn’t.
This book was for the most part plot driven (as are most thrillers) but we do get background history for Anne. We’re also taken into Anne & Marco’s marriage which when we meet them, is tearing at the seams. The house is not filled with the happiness & cheer that usually accompanies new babies. Anne walks around stoic, trying to keep it together when motherhood is pretty much kickin’ her butt. Her husband is aware of her depression but doesn’t really know how to be around her, she instead is treated like glass by everyone. Everyone except her neighbor Cynthia who is an attractive, confident, and flirtatious woman that used to be close to Anne before she had the baby. Cynthia continuously gets on Anne by saying things like “what happened to you Anne?” & “you used to be interesting”. It was these types of comments that led Anne to accepting the dinner invitation. These interactions were also the most frustrating for me but that’s simply because I know how friends that don’t have children of their own, drop like flies when you enter parenthood. Anne had a mental disorder prior to baby Cora & things only escalated post baby. I wasn’t very content with the way Anne as a character was handled even though I also understood the others reasons for having certain thoughts.
We are also introduced to detective Rasbach who I would have liked to get to know a bit better. He is in charged of investigating the kidnapping of baby Cora & since the story is told in third person, we get to hear his thoughts all throughout the investigation. That being said, I enjoy a good character profile on detectives because they for the most part are very interesting. Rasbach seems to be desensitized after years in his career seeing the the worse cases. He firmly believes that everyone has their limit, that given the right circumstance anyone is capable of anything. This plays into the investigation & no one is safe from suspicion, especially not Anne & Marco.
Overall, The Couple Next Door was a page turner & it delivered with EPIC plot twists. Now if you are expecting for everything to be wrapped up & squared away at the end…then this may not be the thriller for you lol. I however, was satisfied with that ending because Anne will most likely stay with me for a very long time. I seriously felt the need to protect her as did the characters surrounding her. I do feel that this story also carries a strong message in that mental illness is something to be taken seriously. Red flags went up the minute that Anne’s therapist went on vacation & she didn’t follow advice to see the other therapist in the office until then. I think that 75% into the book, I just wanted her to be OK but couldn’t shake the feeling that it would never be OK the more she expressed her wish aloud to see her regular therapist. If I had to sum The Couple Next Door up in one word it would be TRAGIC. I definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a thriller/suspense dealing with mental illness, tragedy, and not-so-happy endings.