The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena


Published: 14th July 2016
Publisher: Transworld
Pages: 304


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.


The intense plot opens with a dinner party between two sets of neighbours, one of which is carrying a baby monitor. The storyline gets underway very quickly, there’s nothing messing about, there’s no in depth descriptions about the couple, it’s straight to the point: their child has gone missing and they’re the number one suspects. As the police begin their search for the missing child, the point of views differs between Marco, Anne, the detective and the next door neighbour’s. I really liked this element of the plot as it was quite clear who was showing the narrative from their perspective and it allowed the readers to understand the relationships a lot better.

“Because if there’s anything Rasbach has learned in his years on the job, it is that people are capable of almost anything.”

Whilst the hunt for the missing baby continues, the police focus on their number one suspect: the parents. They dive into their pasts, uncovering what happened in high school, the wealth of their parents, romantic links and their careers. It was extremely intriguing when the first segment of the reveal came to light; I was shocked but it allowed me to think up of another possibility. Anne and Marco were such complex people, living in their own bubble, unaware of what the other person was capable of and I truly loved that side of the plot. When the kidnapper’s plan doesn’t go smoothly, things really do get turned up a notch and within a few chapters, the kidnapper was a completely different person and nobody had any idea who it was. One aspect of the plot which I found to be of great interest was the discussion of Anne having a condition which freezes her mind for a certain amount of time and yet, her body is moving and doing things she won’t remember.

“You know, I think I have seen him before, but I don’t know where.”

When readers learn of Anne’s condition, it instantly reminded me of Rachel from The Girl On The Train as the two characters are both unaware of their actions and therefore don’t know whether they’re to blame (this isn’t a spoiler as readers know what happened by this point in the narrative). With the point of views changing throughout each chapter, I didn’t expect to learn of how the kidnapper came about the original plan but as I began to read their side of the events, another possibility popped into my imagination which I hoped would play out.

“At that moment he doesn’t see how things can get any worse.” 

This is probably one of my favourite books of the year. The plot is incredibly intense yet it captivates your attention on a whole other level as the big reveal behind the kidnapping is just outstanding (despite guessing it half way through). I really liked how Shari left the book as it allowed the readers to continue thinking about what may happen next which I really like about mystery books. If you’re looking for a book which will keep you hooked from start to finish, this is most definitely the one!


8 thoughts on “The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

  1. I really enjoyed the book but the last few pages ruined it for me…. I didn’t enjoy how it ended at all!! Perhaps that’s just me, but it has totally influenced the way I think of the rest of the book!


      1. Not even the actual storyline ending, just the last few pages..! I just didn’t enjoy the way she left it… Ah well! Each to their own! And to be fair, I do seem to be the only person I know who thinks that way! haha


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