Book Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Up all night... Can't breathe... Just a few more pages... No way that is going to turn out well...

Reader, I cannot even begin to tell you the effect The Couple Next Door had on me once I was within the clutches of Shari Lapena's thrilling debut novel. This is what I call a "12-Hour Book" meaning you will most likely finish the text within the first day of reading because you will want to know what is going to happen.

In the book, Anne and Marco Conti have made a big mistake that, at first, seems completely irrational for young parents to make. While at a dinner party next door, something terrible happens and EVERYONE is a suspect with deception at play. The story unfolds in the third-person narrative that becomes a case for guilt and innocent that will not be forgotten by any reader who chooses to experience a plot full of duplicity.

My synopsis is generic for a reason: I don't want to give too much away. Just writing those words makes me want to crack this book back open to revisit details that I may have missed on my rush to find the truth in the story.

Here's the deal: this book is everywhere and almost anyone can get their hands on a copy if they make any attempt to look (and I believe they should!). When I purchased my gently used copy from 2nd & Charles, I was skeptical thinking that this would be the run-of-the-mill suspense story with a confused/delusional protagonist being blamed for a crime that they just so happened to become a part of by an accident beyond their control. In fact, this book sat on my TBR shelf for months because I expected very little from the book given the lack of information on the cover and the generic synopsis.

Oh, I was wrong!

Here's my reading timeline:

Sunday, 10:00 pm - I go to our library room looking for a book to start after finishing a great text (see previous review). I can't sleep. I need a short book to distract. 

*Looks through the 2nd & Charles book haul. Pulls The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena and decides to read a few pages.*

I finally fell asleep at midnight and woke up six short hours later to finish the book.

12-Hour Book

Here's what you need to know from my reading:

  • The crime is simple, but the twists are like riding that big scary rollercoaster at your favorite amusement park. 
  • The writing style is rough at times because it adapts a third-person narrative for suspense. I wasn't a fan of the choppy exposition for characterization, but the plot played well with the storytelling.
  • The twists ARE unexpected. I had little hope from the massive amounts of endorsements covering my paperback copy that I would be surprised by the plot events. I was wrong.
  • Keep in mind it is a debut novel crafted so professionally that readers may believe Lapena had been writing for years to come up with this plot..
  • If you share the experience with a co-reader or book club, keep to a reading schedule. There are way too many twists in this book to keep an individual pace.
  • DO NOT flip ahead in the book. Just don't.

To say I enjoyed Shari Lapena's The Couple Next Door would be an understatement; I think it is definitely a remarkable debut novel. I am almost fearful to read Lapena's other texts because of the way this book hooked me in and didn't let go. I would recommend it to anyone who is not afraid of a wild ride and is open to a thrillers and not afraid of drama and suspense. 

While my review may be glowing, be aware that this book may not be for every reader.

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐