The Couple Next Door, Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door, Shari Lapena came as a recommendation to me and I just have to pass it on to you. When it comes to thrillers and recommendations, count me in. Where there’s a thriller, there’s a Nicole.

For a thriller, it has to tick the following boxes for me:

– frequent twists to throw you off guard;

-a good plot, making it as unpredictable as possible for a detective-like yours truly;

-characters you become emotionally involved in;

-something psychological which makes you think;

-an ending: some closure (or at least another book), not something that’s been chucked together to increase page count.

THIS BOOK TICKS ALL BUT ONE. You’ll probably be able to decipher which but I’m not going to directly tell you because this didn’t become The No.1 Bestseller for nothing, pal.

The plot:

8 pages in, I’d written down what I thought the ending was going to be. I was wrong. Even throughout, I thought I’d nailed it. Nope. Maybe the detective life isn’t for me?

Anne and Marco’s (the protagonists) babysitter cancels last minute; going to a meal at their neighbours (Cynthia and Graham) next door with a six-month-old baby isn’t allowed. But leaving her at home, taking the baby monitor and checking every 30 minutes is the next best fit (why?!). We are immediately thrown into the latter situation and find the baby, Cora, has been taken.

The police are called and we start to gain a glimpse into what could happen – Anne has postnatal depression; the husband has been flirting with Cynthia all night; tyre tracks have been found in the garage.

When we meet Anne’s rich parents, kidnapping definitely seems like a possibility – then there’s a ransom note and we can see how Detective Rasbach (the key detective in the story) is going to turn this all around.

Lapena is a very smart lady; she has embedded twists into the text as if they were nothing and the word play in this thriller is incredible; you think it’s going to be about the couple next door and their involvement, but maybe the couple next door refers to Anne and Marco? Who knows? Me. I’ve read the book.

“But when you think the major twist is happening, you realize you are about 30 pages away from being half way through the book.”

There’s so many twists, I don’t want to give it all away. But when you think the major twist is happening, you realize you are about 30 pages away from being half way through the book.

This book definitely made my heart race. I’m not sure whether that was the amount of coffee I consumed to stay awake reading this, or the twists, but still. Heart. Raced. I actually wish someone recorded my face for the last 60 pages. My jaw was on the floor.

The last chapter’s annoying, so I’d say skip that in its entirety. But I’d love to hear your thoughts, so send me an email:

If you can read this in more than one sitting, you deserve an award, my friend.

Bookmark that book, but you are likely to only read this once.

The Couple Next Door, Shari Lapena, RRP £7.99 (paperback); Waterstones 

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