The Couple Next Doorby Shari Lapena

Published August 23rd 2016 by Pamela Dorman Books

3.5 Stars

Synopsis: It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors—a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

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.

My Review: I sat down with this book and started reading yesterday and did not stop, except to eat and sleep until I finished. Now, you might think why only 3.5 stars. I liked it and wanted to find out what happened to Baby Cora, but I did not like any of the characters, therefore could not connect to the book.

When Marco and Anne go the other side of their duplex for a birthday dinner with their neighbours, they leave Cora sleeping in her crib with the baby monitor on. They check on her every half hour. Sounds like she should be fine. When they get home shortly after 1:00, she is no longer in her crib. I felt for this couple at that point. Anne was devastated and blamed her husband. He stoically took the blame as he was the one that wanted to go to the party. After that the story takes off. Who kidnapped Cora? At various points in the story you think you have it figured out and then there is another twist. Is Anne capable of killing her daughter in a fugue state while suffering post-partum depression. Did Marco stage the kidnapping to get money? How do her parents figure into all this? Where is the money that was paid for the ransom, but the baby not returned? Even the police detectives are a little wooden. We really do not get to know the characters very well, with tidbits thrown out during the investigation. Perhaps that is what the author wanted, it is a thriller after all.

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