‘The Couple Next Door’is the latest book by Shari Lapena and was awarded ‘WH Smith Book of the Year 2016’.
Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying. Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour. Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone. You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.
Last year there was an awful lot of talk about ‘The Couple Next Door’ on social media, people were singing its praises and I was really curious to see what all the hype was about, so when it came next on my TBR pile, I grabbed it with both hands.
The story is about Marcus and Anne, a married couple with a 6 month old baby called Cora. On a rare night out and unable to get a babysitter, they leave Cora in their house next door and bring the baby monitor with them checking on her every half hour. But, it’s on their return that they discover that Cora has been snatched.
The story then follows as the couple become the prime suspects in the case, as the press and police point the finger of blame at them, particularly at them leaving their baby alone. As the story progresses, we delve deeper into the couples lives, the stress of both emotional and financial as parents and adjust to their new lives.
The book is cleverly written in a third person narrative and reads like an observation of both Anne and Marcus. It flows quickly between both of them as they struggle with being in the spotlight and trying to piece together their last moments with Cora. Both are complex characters, both with secrets that they have hidden from each other but as the story flows and the police investigate more, secrets are revealed and more people are convinced that they are involved.
Marcus has always felt inadequate to Anne’s family, they never really approved of him and show their true colours with Cora’s disappearance by making him feel unwanted and unloved whilst Anne struggles with post natal depression, she’s terrified she did something and blocked it out. An interesting addition to the tale is inclusion of the story being seen from the perspective of the detective, giving an insight to the police procedure.
With a fast paced story that keeps the reader on their toes and thoroughly engaged. ‘The Couple Next Door’ is a cunningly written tale, filled with unlikable and occasionally sympathetic characters plus plenty of suspects. Packed with tension, twists and a hell of an ending, this book is must definitely worthy of all the hype!
You can buy The Couple Next Door from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.