Friday, August 19, 2016

THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR BY SHARI LAPENA - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am here with another book review, another thriller, The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


To be honest, I'm not sure where to start with this book. I was so intense, and as everything was unfolding, I couldn't believe what was going on.

The whole story starts when Marco and Anne reluctantly leave their six-month old daughter at home while they go to a dinner party at the house next door. The sitter cancelled last minute, and their hostess insisted on a baby-free evening, so they brought over the baby monitor and go check on her every half hour. They live in a good part of town, and surely, half an hour isn't enough time for anything bad to happen, right? I won't say exactly what happens, but you can pretty much assume it is nothing pretty.

The police come in and soon Marco and Anne's united front starts to crumble. Anne is resentful of Marco for allowing their neighbour Cynthia to flirt with him all night, and blames him for what happened, he insisted that they go without Cora. Marco sees his wife after giving birth, wracked with postpartum depression, along with a childhood history of 'troubles,' and is concerned of what may have truly happened. The lead detective, a cynical man, is sure the parents had something to do with it, he sees these cases all the time.

As the story unfolds, you see that not everyone is who they seem, and some people are will to go to extremes to protect those they love.

This story shocked me. I was not expecting how things ended, after so much scrambling, everything just fell into place. I kept going back on forth as to why everything was happening. We find out fairly early who actually did it, but there is so much depth, its more than one person and for more than one reason. I still cannot believe who it was in the end, that just killed me.

I spoiled myself a little bit, I flipped to the last page to see how many there were left, and I just read it briefly. So I knew this person had SOMETHING to do with it, but it could have been something else. That actually just added another layer of suspense to the story that I wasn't expecting.

I will say that writing wise, this book wasn't spectacular. And that's part of the reason I didn't give it full five stars. The story is told in alternating third person but was limited to the perspective it was telling. So if it was Anne's chapter, we got what other people were saying, doing, etc. but we only got Anne's thoughts. Then in Marco's chapter, the same thing. It was a little bit jarring at first, but you get more used to it. I did find, however, that this style made it hard to connect with the characters. It's a crazy story and I feel bad about what happened, but I didn't really feel much emotion for the characters themselves, it was mainly just the situation.

As time goes on, the focus of the investigation shifts from "where is she?" to "who did this?" Some other reviews I've seen thought that was a fault, but I think it makes the story more realistic. Everyone knows the longer these things drag on, the less likely a positive outcome for the victim is. So it makes sense that the police would be thinking long-term, not really expecting everything to be alright.

This book had a few twists and turns and I read it in one two-hour sitting. I'm not sure if it was because I couldn't put it down because of suspense, or because I just wanted to finish it.

I do want to talk a little bit about the ending. I've seen other reviews saying that it was bizarre and not something that character would have done. I disagree. I wasn't sure they had it in them, but it makes sense. She was, essentially, the root of the problem. She was the reason, indirectly, for what happened, even if she didn't know it. And this character knew that. So they took matters into their own hands. The timing maybe wasn't the greatest, but it was justice for them. However, if this book is meant to be a standalone, I am feeling a little lost. Will we find out what happened after? There really isn't a way to cover that up.

Overall, this book was crazy, I was just bewildered by all that was plotted and schemed. I cannot believe what some people will do for something so minor. Be sure to check this book out on its release, August 23.