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The Couple Next Door

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You never know what's happening on the other side of the wall.

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.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

308 pages, Hardcover

First published July 14, 2016

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Shari Lapena

17 books18.8k followers

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5 stars
138,615 (26%)
4 stars
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3 stars
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2 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 35,285 reviews
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,004 reviews36k followers
October 23, 2019

It's 3am....I just finish reading this -'sleep-killer'-story....
My final HONEST REACTION?.......
**HYSTERICAL**!!!! SO MUCH FUN!!!!! I could roll on the floor laughing right now....

Really...I'm not sure if I'm laughing at myself - or the story - or both!

A few random thoughts - as you know I'm not going to give anything away:
......This is a question for my women friends: When you are stressed, do you start cleaning? If ever fueled with anxiety, do you need to clean something, even if your house is already spotless?
I started laughing - - (to myself of course --my husband was sleeping)...when the character, Anne, had a 'cleaning episode' moment.
"She has to keep busy. She starts in the front entryway, cleaning the antique grate that
covers the air duct. The scrolled ironwork is covered in dust and had to be scrubbed by hand. She gets a bucket of warm water and a cloth and sits down on the floor by the front door, begins to clean it, getting deeper into the grooves. It calms her".
That excerpt was simply a fun 'comic' release!!!
I've been guilty of the 'cleaning-crime' on occasion. :)

......Lots of theories to choose from in this story .....( pick your favorite):
---a baby is gone - - kidnapped her from the crib
Who could it be? And why?:
---the mother who has been suffering postpartum depression? Maybe she killed her? Or maybe the father arranged the Kidnapping for ransom since his business was in serious trouble? Or maybe the babysitter who cancelled at last minute was guilty?
Or maybe the couple next door - with their messy entanglement to the parents of the missing baby are the kidnappers? Or maybe the the entire neighborhood is guilty?

Regardless ..... Shari Lapena's novel, "The Couple Next Store", is a very fast read...
engaging....a FRICKIN KICK OF FUN!!!!
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews112k followers
March 17, 2020
The entire plot relied on the male protagonist being the stupidest human being to have ever existed on the planet. I just couldn't believe his poor logical reasoning at all. The rest of the characters are also one-note: the mother is hysterical the entire time and doesn't use her brain once, their neighbor's only characteristic is being skanky, and the detectives are super unprofessional and aggressive. The writing often relied on telling instead of showing by blatantly telling you a character's motivations and personality traits without actually describing it for you to decipher. Overall, this was a lackluster thriller that doesn't have much substance with painfully idiotic characters.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,574 reviews5,904 followers
September 4, 2016
3.5 stars

A swanky rich couple have a six month old baby. The babysitter cancels at the last minute, buuuutt the husband really wants to go to that dinner party next door with the hottie neighbor. He convinces the wife Anne that it will be just fine to leave the baby by herself and check on her every thirty minutes.

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They return home to find the baby is now missing.

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Then all the secrets...gotta have secrets. Mom is struggling with post-partum depression. Could she have done something to the baby and this is just an elaborate cover-up? Dad, Marco..the boy from the wrong side of the tracks that lucked up and married Miss. Money..is he telling all the truth and only the truth?
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There is ALL kinds of drama up in here, plus evil, stupid characters. I totally ate it up. The book reads so frigging fast and some of the twisty turns had my head reeling. It's one that you want to read it one sitting even though you know there is no way the ending can do it justice.
Sometimes I like a Lifetime movie just waiting to happen.
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Profile Image for j e w e l s.
309 reviews2,370 followers
November 27, 2017
One star is for me because I finished it. One more star because the author came up with some good character names. Cora Conti, Cynthia Stillwell, Detective Rasbach I'm looking at you.

Well, that's about all the nice nice I can make.

I can't get past the clunky, amateurish writing! If I heard "Marco said" "Anne replied" "Cynthia stated" ONE MORE TIME....oh my gosh. If you, as an author, are going to write a book that is almost entirely dialogue, wouldn't you make sure you were a damn fine dialogue writer first? It was killing me.

There is no mood, no setting (I can't even tell you what country this was set) and no tone. At all. Oh, and zero character development which is kind of crucial to psychological suspense.

Q Come to think of it, why did I finish this book?
A I like to rubberneck at train wrecks.
Profile Image for Melissa.
647 reviews28.6k followers
December 7, 2016
Wow . . . what was that ending?! OK, let me back up.

There's no denying that this is a compulsive page-turner. At the heart of the story is a frenzied pulse running rampant and it’s addicting. Ending chapters with shocking revelations, casting doubt and making me waver on my belief of who was behind it all, time and time again, was pure magic. I read this book over the course of one day, simply because I couldn’t bear to put it down. I had to know who took baby Cora and WHY.

With that being said, this is a case of a highly readable story being tainted by the ridiculousness of it all. If you took away the frantic pace, I’m not sure where that would have left me. This wasn’t a story that focused on the depth of the characters or even really forging a connection with them. It was simply about unraveling the truth.

Do I believe that anyone could’ve pull off this scenario? Absolutely not. The probability that all of the pieces would fall together like they did in this situation is hard to swallow; in fact, suspending disbelief is a requirement. Who would go to this extreme?! And the ending . . . I’m just gonna say it was crazy and leave it at that.

Is this the best book I’ve ever read? No way.
Was it entertaining? Absolutely.
Would I recommend it? Hmm, that's a tough one. Maybe.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,536 reviews9,782 followers
April 10, 2023

First off, I listened to the audiobook for this and the narrator was just NOT my cup of tea.

Even taking this into consideration, however, I'm not sure how much more I would have enjoyed it, if at all, if I had read the hard copy.

I really do not feel like there would have been much difference. In fact, I may even have DNFed a hard copy, so I could give the narrator slight credit for at least helping me finish it.

I went into this completely blind. I had heard a little buzz about it, mainly from Bookstagram, but really had no idea what it was about.

One positive thing I can say is that I enjoyed how the action kicked off so quickly. It was pretty immediate that the plot was off to the races.

I appreciated not having to slog through boring introductory pieces.

Additionally, there were a few interesting twists and turns, places where I thought I had it figured out, but overall it was pretty bland for me.

When it was over, I was left feeling nothing at all.

It was a thing that happened, it kept me occupied and then, that was it. Zero feelings.

I did not enjoy any of the characters. I actually believe one of my mid-book status update comments was, every character in this book is an asshole.

I couldn't have cared less what happened to any of them, their children, or their children's children.

Bottom line, below average for me. Moving on.

Profile Image for Sue.
1,330 reviews5 followers
October 16, 2016
THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR is an outstanding debut psychological thriller novel from author Shari Lapena, and one of the best reads I have read this year! This novel, a child-abduction case, races along at an amazing speed, full of twists and turns, totally gripping the reader for the suspense ride from beginning to end. I kept flipping the pages as I had to know what had happened. I loved it!

“They left their six-month-old baby (Cora) home alone and went to a party next door.”

But with the monitor on next door…they would hear everything!

Anne and husband Marco Contis are asked to their next door neighbors, Cynthia and husband Graham Stillwell for a dinner party, to celebrate Graham’s birthday. No” babies” allowed, so Anne hires a babysitter, who cancels at the last moment. Now what? How could she possibly go?

But Marco said it would be fine, as it is only next door. They can bring the baby monitor and take turns checking on the baby every half hour.

Marco was having a good time at the party and wasn’t in a rush to leave. Anne on the other hand suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of their daughter, and was anxious to return home. Then at 1:00A.M.when Anne and Marco left the party, they find the front door partly open…but she had locked it! Anne races up the stairs to the nursery…and now a parent’s worst nightmare –the baby was GONE!

A frantic call to the police brings detective Rasbach and detective Jennings to the scene, to uncover the truth and find six-month-old Cory.

So many lies, betrayals and cover ups in this novel. How well do you know the people closest to you?

I am not going to say anymore as I don’t want to give the plot away, but this is a very riveting and powerful story. I loved it. All I can say is read this book… I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Many thanks to Shari Lapena, Random House UK, Transworld Publishers via Net Galley for my ARC.

Profile Image for Judith.
451 reviews67 followers
December 22, 2019
Cynthia and Graham invite next door neighbours Anne and Marco to a small dinner party but tell them not to bring their small baby. Cynthia and Graham, themselves childless, are not child-friendly. The pre-arranged babysitter cancels at last minute so Anne and Marco decide, reluctantly. to go anyway, leaving baby Cora alone, taking a baby monitor and agreeing to take turns checking on her every half hour. So far so good.....until....

Anne and Graham return home at one in the morning and to their horror discover the front door open, the crib empty and Cora nowhere in sight. The police are called and so this dreadful piece of writing continues.

Where shall I begin – it's difficult to pinpoint one particular aspect of this novel as it is all so dreadful. Anne, suffering from post natal depression is constantly wringing her hands, turning sickly pale, sobbing, weeping, crying whilst pacing the floor; Marco hangs his head, covers his face with his hands and turns a paler shade than his wife........" A pallor that is quite striking". They communicate “with their eyes”.

Here we have two distraught parents, whose baby is missing; they are wondering if she has been kidnapped, and this is what Marco tells his wife:

…......“I don't know! Maybe he panicked. Which scares the hell out of me because then maybe he'll kill Cora and dump her somewhere!”

This from a husband in an attempt to make his wife feel better!

Our intelligent-eyed detective goes next door to speak to Cynthia and Graham. Cynthia is described thus:

“…..She is perfectly made up, even though someone had stolen her guests' baby while they were at her house late the night before.......”

Could anyone tell me the relevance of this peculiar sentence? This whole book is full of this sort of rubbish.

The characters are caricatures: the depressed handwringing wife-from-old-money; the supportive but uncomfortable husband who is never good enough; the neighbours next door who could be Up To No Good. Then we have the wife's rich parents who want to take control, and finally Mr Plod in the shape of Detective Rasbach who has intelligent eyes – well of course he does, he couldn't be a detective without them. Oh please.

Written in the present tense this reads more like directions for a play than a book. Every single thing is laid out for the reader, every angle, every possibility, every theory, and reasons for certain police procedures. Absolutely nothing is left to the imagination. This is absolutely dreadful; it is so bad I tried to read it as a spoof but even I can take only so much. I feel as though I am being repeatedly hit with a sledgehammer. I don't have the stamina to read any more of this truly awful book.

Thank you Amazon, for a complimentary copy - but for you I would not have known how truly, truly awful this is.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,572 reviews33.9k followers
November 13, 2016
3.5 stars

The first 75% of the book was terrific--lots of twists and turns, well-paced, interesting character development and relationships, I was eager to return to my audiobook every time I was away from it. I also loved that contrary to most thrillers that save the big reveal for the end, in this book, you find out who kidnapped the baby halfway through the book--so you get to watch everyone scramble and unravel from there on out. I liked it so much that I was mentally composing my 4-star review while I listened.

Towards the end, things get a little messy, however, and there were a few too many convenient connections and red herrings to make it as satisfying as it should have been. The story and plotting was so good, but the impulse to make it "and THEN there's THIS part to make you even MORE surprised!" kind of ruined it. Okay, not ruined it, but it took some of the joy out of it.

I really did like the first three quarters of the book, though. In a year of mostly disappointing thrillers, this is one of the best of the bunch. It's a shame that it got a bit too convoluted towards the end, but I'll still look forward to her next thriller.

I'll come back to finish off this review with audiobook notes later, but floating it for GoodReads Choice Awards since I don't think I ever published this to the feed. It's still among the better of the thrillers published this year--I'm side-eyeing some of those other picks. But what else is new, hah.

An audiobook review copy was provided by the publisher.
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,067 reviews3,609 followers
March 11, 2018
It all started with a “what were you thinking?” moment! Then rapidly morphs into a parent’s worst nightmare.
Anne and Marco have a dinner party to attend next door when the babysitter cancels at the last moment. Of course, being responsible parents, they have no choice but to cancel dinner. Right? Well...no! They make the unbelievably foolish decision to still attend. Their genius solution? Simply leave their 6 month baby home alone and just take the baby monitor! What!!?😳

As you may have guessed, that superb and well thought -out plan goes terribly south!

This was an engaging read that I finished very quickly (just a couple sittings). Not the twistiest thriller I’ve read, but if you’re looking for a fast, entertaining, read this may be the perfect fit. Maybe a beach or airport read!

Then again, I’m pretty late to the party on this one, I may be the last one out there to read this book! But if this one is still sitting on your shelf collecting dust (like it was mine) time to pull it down! It's worth it!
Profile Image for Deanna .
664 reviews12.4k followers
October 29, 2016

My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

I still haven't listened to very many audiobooks. While I prefer to read on my e-reader or read a book, I really do like having the option to listen to an audiobook now and then. It's a nice change and I can close my eyes (as long as I'm not driving). But I don't close my eyes often as usually it doesn't matter how exciting the audiobook is, I could very well fall asleep.

However, I didn't have that problem with this one. I was pretty into it and it was very unlikely that I was going to fall asleep.

Anne and Marco Conti are new parents to a six-month-old baby girl named Cora. It seems they have it all. The are financially comfortable, they have a great marriage and now they have a beautiful baby.

Everything is perfect.

Since having Cora, the couple don't go out very often. So when their friends/neighbors invite them over for a dinner party they are excited to go, well Marco is. Anne Conti would prefer not to go, especially since the neighbors, Cynthia and Graham Stillwell don't want children at the party. Anne agrees to go and they schedule a babysitter. But the night of the party the sitter cancels leaving them with no one to watch Cora. Anne tells her husband she's fine staying home with the baby. Marco really wants her to come, he thinks it would be good for her to go.

"It will be good for you to get out, you know what the doctor said"

Eventually Anne agrees to go, but only if they take the baby monitor and check on Cora every half hour. They arrive at the party but Anne just can't seem to enjoy herself. She has some wine but even that doesn't help. She's miserable...especially as she watches her "friend" flirt with Marco. Cynthia is gorgeous and beside her Anne feels horrible about herself, she's very insecure about the baby weight she is still carrying.

On top of that, lately it seems that something has been off with her husband. She's not sure if it's her imagination or something else. Is he keeping something from her?

By one in the morning, Anne has had enough and wants to go home. Marco wants to stay for another drink. Quickly she becomes tired of waiting and tells him she's leaving with or without him. Marco decides to go home with Anne.

As they walk up to their from door, they notice that it's open. Anne is positive she shut the door when she was last there to check on Cora.

They both immediately run up the stairs and into the baby room. They look into the crib and Anne screams.....

I will leave it at that as I really don't want to spoil anything.

I really enjoyed this audiobook. A great domestic suspense that honestly pulled me in right from the start. The plot was great and I thought the story flowed well. I didn't have any trouble keeping up or keeping track of who was who like I sometimes do with audiobooks.

I'm finding that the right narrator can make all the difference when it comes to listening to any audiobook and I think the narrator for "The Couple Next Door" was great.

I look forward to more from Shari Lapena!
Profile Image for Jennifer Masterson.
200 reviews1,126 followers
September 7, 2016
3.5 Stars. This book turned out just meh for me. I was completely sucked in from the start and then at about the 65 % mark the characters started annoying me and I wasn't thrilled with the ending. Some other people might like this more than I did. I read a lot of psychological thrillers so now very few are 5 Star reads for me.

A special shout out to Kirsten Potter the narrator. She was awesome!!! This is very easy to follow on audio.

Profile Image for Maureen .
1,380 reviews7,088 followers
June 29, 2016
*Thank you to Netgalley and Random House UK, Transworld Publishing, and also to Shari Lapena for my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review*

Goodness me, this book was so full of twists and turns, I don't know whether I'm on my head or my heels right now!

Imagine the horror of discovering your 6 month old baby has been abducted from her crib in the early hours of the morning. Imagine also the myriad of emotions you'd experience. Well, that would be bad enough, but what multiplies that horror here, is the fact that baby Cora's parents - Anne and Marco Conti, had left her alone while they attended a dinner party next door. Their next door neighbours, Cynthia and Graham are childless by choice, and insisted that Anne and Marco didn't bring Cora, because they can't stand her crying - so when the babysitter cancels, Marco persuades Anne, (against her better judgement) to leave Cora alone, and insists she'll be fine if they check on her every half hour. I won't give anything away other than that.

Detective Rasbach is the investigating officer, and it soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems, and that everyone involved is a suspect in some way, with secrets and lies aplenty.

Well, what can I say? This book was truly gripping. It was hard to know who to trust, and in fact poses the question "How well do you really know ANYONE"? Do you really know the inner workings of someone else's mind, real deep down, where dark thoughts may lurk and take shape? I just couldn't predict what was coming next, as the plot took off in various directions, with twist after twist. It was quite simply, brilliant!

Yet another great novel that screams to be noticed - and noticed, it WILL be!
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,823 followers
April 25, 2019
It was kinda cheesy, but that’s okay! It was very entertaining. I was hooked the whole way through.

I kinda figured out where it was going early on, but that’s okay! Instead of feeling predictable, it made me feel like a super detective!

The characters were kinda unlikable, but that’s okay! They were developed in such a way that you love to hate them while you are snickering and shaking your head.

The story is kinda far-fetched, but that’s okay! I could very easily suspend my disbelief for this one without feeling like it was entirely unrealistic.

I kinda didn’t want it to end, but that’s okay! It looks like the author has lots of other books I can check out if I am looking for something similar.

I’m kinda not sure who I would recommend this book to, but that’s okay! You are all adults! You can figure out if suspenseful, twisty mysteries with hate-able characters is your thing all by yourself!
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,135 reviews2,166 followers
February 24, 2023

Anne and Marco attend a dinner party next door, keeping their six-month-old daughter, Cora, alone in their house. They were shocked to find out after the party that someone kidnaped their baby. What happened to their daughter? Will they get her back alive? Is there any hope for the parents to get out of this self-inflicted abysmal despair? This book gives answers to these questions.

This book has hysterical characters, double-crossers, evil characters, and everything else we expect from a fast-paced thriller. The writing style is engrossing, and we will stay glued to the book until we finish it.

What I learned from this book
1) Ethics and business
The lack of ethics in the business and the lack of empathy of the business tycoons and CEOs are thoroughly discussed in this book through its characters. It is sad to see that many successful CEOs and people in business are precisely like some of the characters in this novel.
"Nobody makes that much money without taking advantage of somebody. It's much easier to make money if you don't care who you hurt. If you have scruples, it's much harder to get rich”

2) Bullying
This book is dealing with a crucial topic- Bullying. We can see what bullying does to the psyche of a person through Anne. The author tells us about the dangers of bullying.

“Anne can imagine Cynthia as a schoolyard bully-the tall, beautiful girl who taunted short, plump, under confident girls like her.”

3) How the pressure to look perfect affects our brain
Wherever we look like the advertisements, celebrity parties, and social media, we see men and women who are extremely attractive. This creates so much pressure on others to look gorgeous, especially if they have an insecure mind. The author is showing us this insecurity multiple times through different characters. If we understand that beauty is not just skin deep all these troubles of looking perfect will disappear.
"I was crying when I fed her because I was sad about being fat and unattractive, and Cynthia—who is supposed to be a friend—had been flirting with my husband all evening. ”

My favourite three lines from this book
“She is living in a fishbowl, everyone tapping on the glass.”

“The wife is always the last to know, right?”

"But if he pays her, she'll ask for more, and more-that's the way it is with blackmailers. You never get out from under them. So the amount she's naming now is meaningless."

What I didn’t like in this book
Immoral avarice characters and their acrimonious relationships will seem banal to some readers. Some people will find the climax too abstruse. I didn't like the violence in the end, especially after all the problems were sorted out. The writing style lacked depth in some areas. The attitude of the detectives towards the parents was horrendous.

3/5 This is a decent fast paced thriller with some twists which you won’t expect, written in a gripping manner.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,135 followers
September 4, 2016
HA! What a wild and "crazy" ride!

Sometimes when I read a crime-thriller, I become bored with the pace or exasperated with the clues and detective types, but not so this time. Each character had their own complex personality, and/or presence here, and there is never a dull moment.

Without giving anything away, I'll just say, be prepared for a shocking crime and horrendous secrets revealed, some of which, you will find terribly disturbing!

I entered this mystery not knowing anything about the plot so was totally surprised at what happens early on during a neighborly get-together; and have to admit, I did have an inkling of who the culprit might be (off and on) a couple of times, but the story never lost my interest or its momentum.

This fast-moving intense read has a bit of everything.......including evil. (he.he.he.)

Profile Image for Maxine (Booklover Catlady).
1,305 reviews1,234 followers
May 17, 2021
Wow! This is one of my favourite reads of 2016 and is long-listed for my Top Ten Books of 2016. This totally took my breath away and from start to finish I was totally lost in this book and the desire to know the truth. I HAD to know the truth. I guessed the ending so many times, should not have bothered, it was brilliant and had so many twists I was feeling motion sickness!

Honestly, check out the blurb:

You never know what's happening on the other side of the wall.

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.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

You pop next door to a party, then after checking numerous times your baby is gone. The baby YOU left alone. Imagine the scope of emotions that you go through? OMG, I could NOT imagine as a parent myself. I would be sick, terrified, confused, delirious...and they are. This is a stunning novel that has so much tension running through it.

The plot is fantastic, nothing at all is clear-cut in this book and seriously the number of twists and reveals were bloody brilliant. It was like being slapped over and over again! I could go on and on about this book but all I can say is I loved it, I loved the journey, it had me on edge the whole time and I highly recommend to anyone looking for a read that hooks you and holds you. 5 stars!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
695 reviews1,073 followers
July 18, 2018
"They held onto each other, weeping. Two shattered people, one of them a liar."

I was really enjoying this book! Lots of twists and turns and untrustworthy characters, right up until the last 20 pages, which blew it for me.

Anne and Marco have a beautiful baby girl named Cora. One evening their babysitter cancels when they are due to go to their next door neighbours' for a dinner party. Marco says it'll be fine, they'll take the baby monitor and check on her every half an hour.

What could go wrong?

When they return from the party it is their worst nightmare. Cora has been kidnapped - who could have taken her, and why?

I had my theories to start with, but as the book went on and more secrets were unveiled, I realised how many secrets these characters had, it was crazy! Anne, Marco, Anne's parents and the neighbours are all secretive and deceptive. I was shocked numerous times - this book was going to be a solid 4 star read.

Then the ending happened. I understand the need for a dramatic ending, but I like my books tied up with a nice little bow and this ending just blew the whole thing wide open.

3 stars


Um, what even was that ending?!
Profile Image for Julie .
4,026 reviews58.9k followers
April 20, 2017
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena is a 2016 Pamela Dorman Books publication.

A hypnotic and atmospheric thriller.

This story starts off with a familiar- ripped from the headlines- setup where a couple, Ann and Marco, decide to leave their young daughter home alone while they attend a dinner party next door. They bring the baby monitor and check on the baby every half hour. However, when they return home from the party they discover the child has been kidnapped.

After reading the first chapter of this book, I heaved a heavy sigh, trying to stifle an eyeroll. This again? I had read a book, not all that long ago, with a nearly identical plotline.

However, it wasn’t long before the story morphed into one very twisted family drama that kept me glued to the pages, especially in the last quarter of the book, where the twists were relentless.

The buildup is a little slow at first, but the atmosphere is very edgy and I admit I fell into the author’s clever trap, playing along with what appeared to be the usual child kidnap case, with the parents being suspected and all those delicious skeletons falling out of the closet. But, I never could have guessed how it would all play out.

I love psychological thrillers and have read them off and on for many years. The genre seemed to change very little until the mega success of ‘Gone Girl’ caused a spike in its popularity. Now, I see a whole new, fresh crop of debut novelist, giving the genre a little facelift, which is a very welcome change. But, for me, I thought this one was a nice blending together of the traditional, ‘old school’ style with the new and improved structure.

While I would love to gorge myself on PT, they tend to work better for me if I space them out of bit. Thankfully, I passed on this one when it was first released, taking a slight break from the genre, so I didn’t burn myself out on it. As you can tell from my attitude concerning the first chapter, I definitely needed that space.

Thankfully, the story took off and gave my brain a real workout. I thought it was a wickedly fun mind trip even if it wasn’t the most properly constructed novel I’ve ever read and the pacing wasn’t always pitch perfect. I’ve confessed many times that I tend to be a bit jaded when it comes to thrillers, often guessing the plot twists well in advance, but, there were so many whip smart turns here, I never could have seen all the twists coming, even if I had my suspicions about one or two of the characters.

So, at the end of the day, it all boils down to how engaged or entertained I was and I have to say, I thought this was a pretty solid thriller and I enjoyed reading it.

4 stars
Profile Image for Jen CAN.
486 reviews1,356 followers
November 23, 2016
First of all, I'm a skeptic by nature. By going into a thriller, I go in grudgingly knowing I'm going to be critical. Suspending belief shouldn't be required for a story done well.
As I'm reading, this is the constant chatter going on in my head recalling Elaine in a Seinfeld episode - "maybe the dingo ate your baby." I'm thinking anything is possible at this point - including the dang Dingo!

This is warped. Let me preface it. A baby is missing. Stolen from her crib while her parents sat at a dinner party next door. An investigation begins. Betrayal and lies are revealed. Nasty characters emerge. A kidnapping gone from bad to worse. A bunch of suspects who somehow get entangled in the mess. And it's twisted and contorted and what you think is straight forward is backwards.

And perhaps, just maybe, the dingo is guilty. Or you are. Or heck, maybe I am. In the end, it seemed a little hard to grasp that much conspiracy. A fun read nonetheless. 3.5*

Profile Image for AMEERA.
277 reviews312 followers
February 7, 2017
I never read drama like this before
Was almost to be worst book of 2017
Profile Image for emma.
1,823 reviews48.2k followers
January 3, 2018

(Above is the entirety of my thought process while I suffered through this book.)

I was not screaming because this book was scary. (It was not.) I was not screaming due to thrills, or an air of mystery, or the twists the cover promised. (This book does not have any of those.)

My three-hundred-page shout into the abyss of my own mind was due to:
- lack of thrills
- boredom
- predictable twists
- nonexistent character development, setting, or logic
- the most repetitive, telling-not-showing emotions of all time
- sh*t writing
- even a Big Reveal that was boring as f*ck!

It's all garbage, boo.


Profile Image for Suz.
1,096 reviews565 followers
January 10, 2017
Most of my friends loved this, but I wasn't as wrapt. At all. Yes, very, very edge of your seat worthy reading, but the end result was a little flat for me. As a debut, this was brilliant work and I commend the author for writing a book that most of us just could not put down.

I felt it was a train wreck of completely messy, unscrupulous and totally moral lacking characters! I know we are not meant to always love the characters we read about, but I was eye rolling many times. Marco. What a spineless man, he had zero gumption! Richard I wanted to strangle, what a smug condescending liar! The fact that he was always referred to as Anne's father frustrated me and I felt that Anne deserved so much better. Cynthia was a witch and Anne lacking backbone as well.

I think what also annoyed me was the money side of things. What people will do for it and the higher that bar is raised regardless of the consequences! But more troubling, the actions of the rich.

Ultimately I could not put this down due to the amazing suspense, I was often reading this while standing up at times due to circumstance, but I was also pacing, which is a sign that I couldn't put it down. The only thing I didn't love was the storyline, it felt contrived and a little clichéd in a way. I'm glad it was a winner for so many other readers, this debut delivered suspense in spades!
Profile Image for Maria Espadinha.
1,014 reviews364 followers
May 30, 2022
A Sagrada Família

Uma bébé desaparecida

Um casal que sabe tudo sem nada poder revelar

Um marido gastador

Um avô abastado

Uns vizinhos depravados

E uma mãe perturbada capaz de ninguém sabe o quê?!...

São estas as personagens chave deste thriller empolgante e perturbante!...

Contudo, “O Casal do Lado” é muito mais que um thriller — no seu âmago, é um mergulho no poço Amor-Ódio que dá pelo nome de Família. Aquela amalgama de seres heterogéneos que se chocam, julgam, agridem, usam, abusam... e pouco ou nada se entendem!
Um caldo hostil onde, por incrível que pareça, bóia o amor, apreensivo, ansioso, titubeante, interrogando-se a cada instante: "será que estarei bem aqui?!"...

Ah, o Amor, o Amor... É mesmo um sentimento ousado e resistente!!!

"O Casal do Lado" é uma leitura que nos remete para a família com todos os seus segredos e falta de comunicação — um agregado de seres ligados por correntes invisíveis, que partilham uma solidão acompanhada!!!

“No matter how many people care about you , if you can't be open with them about who you truly are, you're still alone.”

E a sua componente thriller faz dele um page turner — uma leitura compulsiva pejada de voltas e reviravoltas, daquelas que é uma bruta seca interromper!... 😉
Gostei bastante — é um 4+++ 😊😍
Profile Image for Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings).
1,521 reviews156 followers
February 1, 2018
I highly enjoyed "A Stranger in the House" so I was very much looking forward to reading Shari Lapena's previous novel "The Couple Next Door". As expected I thoroughly enjoyed it, I raced through the intriguing pages and I have to say that it is neck and neck as to which I preferred the best, as both were hugely entertaining.
It does takes a while to get used to the authors writing since she uses 'third person present tense' but once you adapt to it you soon fly through the story, it was very easy to follow and with regular twists and turns to keep you occupied this is a definite page turner that will keep you reading well past when you should be!
Anne and Marco Conti attend a dinner party at their next door neighbours - Cynthia and Graham's house, leaving their six month old baby Cora at home, after their regular babysitter called to cancel. Nothing should go wrong - it's only next door and they planned to make half hourly checks and the baby monitor would alert them to Cora waking up. However, after returning home after the party Anne finds the baby missing. Will Anne's post partum depression be blamed for Cora's disappearance or is there more sinister lies and betrayals lying at the heart of this frightening nightmare.
This truly is a riveting mystery thriller and although I did suspect who may be more involved than they were letting on, I did find it exciting and intriguing to reach the fantastically plotted end.
Another fabulous five stars for a compelling, well written and suspenseful book that I highly recommend to mystery crime readers young and old!

Thank you kindly to good friend and fellow reader Rachel Hall for her copy of the book.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,226 reviews1,275 followers
September 12, 2016
Dense particles of deception are scattered in every nook and cranny. What you think that you see with your own eyes is not necessarily what you see.

Anne and Marco Conti must really have an intense thing for dinner parties. Marco talks Anne into leaving their newborn infant next door with a faulty baby monitor. They will take turns checking on her every 30 minutes. Sounds like a great plan, huh?

Our model parents have also taken to tipping back on the wine goblets, too. Not a sober soul in sight. When Anne reaches the baby's bedroom after the last tag-off, Baby Cora is missing. The parents are in shock and call the police. A sobering situation, indeed.

Shari Lapena presents a storyline that has received kudos from many readers. This one does have tension and uncertainty with so many zigs and zags. However, let's look closely at the cardboard characters that need propping up on every page. Explanation after explanation is necessary to give depth to them. Their movements and actions are so contrived like constructing figures that are labeled "Insert Here". Even the police sit on the sidelines waiting for the guilty to come to them. I won't go into detail so as not to spoil it for others.

You may certainly see this one with completely different eyes than I did. I kept turning pages thinking that it's got to turn the corner about now. Kinda left me standing on a dark street with no taxi in sight. Maybe it'll keep your metering running.....maybe.

Profile Image for Sue.
2,691 reviews170 followers
July 21, 2016

Yes, yes yes yes yes!

I love it when there is a up and coming author who just produces such an amazing book it looks like they have been a best seller for years. I am not kidding, this is truly a remarkable read.

I know us reviewers, we say things like 'twists and turns'
'unputdownable', stayed up all night to read it, but I tell you, its so true.

If you are a passionate reader, and I know that you are because you are on Goodreads writing reviews, then you will certainly understand my gushing on this book.

Do you know your partner? really?
Do you know your neighbors? really?
Do you know your Inlaws? really?

Just how do you know the good people from the bad?

I was hooked, yes hooked from one page to the other, needing to put this book down but just couldn't. I had other things I needed to try and do, but this time I was happy I had a bad back and had a good excuse to be lazy and sit and read.

I am aware l sound like I am gushing and people do comment sometimes, but an avid reader will know when they enjoyed a good book they just have to get out their foghorn and shout it out the world.

I can't wait for a chance to read another book from this author.

My thanks to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers via Net Galley for my copy
Profile Image for Josu Diamond.
Author 9 books33k followers
February 7, 2017
Pues oye, lo he disfrutado un montón.

No soy mucho de leer novelas de este género, pero he de decir que cada vez estoy leyendo más y estoy encontrando una vertiente más que interesante que de primeras no era mi favorita. He leído varios comentarios respecto a la voz narrativa, porque no es muy utilizada en este tipo de novela: es en tercera persona, sí, pero narra en presente. La verdad es que yo estoy acostumbrado a leer novelas en presente, aunque en esta ocasión había alguna cosa rara (como si el narrador supiera absolutamente todo, pero a la vez nada, y estando en presente era extraño).

La pareja de al lado es una novela hecha para devorar. La he leído en menos de 24 horas porque bueno, vale, sí, la edición ayuda bastante. Pero he de decir en mi defensa que no es que tenga mucho tiempo para leer estos días. El estilo de Shari Lapena me ha enganchado. Siempre sucedía algo, por mínimo que fuera, y siempre te hacía preguntarte sobre el motivo. ¿Es una pista falsa? ¿Es este personaje el culpable o realmente es solo un peón en un esquema mayor? Me ha gustado que las revelaciones me pillaran desprevenido. Algunas cosas las veía venir, pero la manera en la que se narran y todas las explicaciones me convencieron bastante.

Normalmente suelo tener un gran problema en las novelas de misterio, y es que no me suelen convencer las razones o los desenlaces. En este caso la verdad es que estoy bastante satisfecho, y el final es de esos que te hacen tener ganas de aplaudir. Maravilloso.

Una de las cosas más positivas de esta novela es que, como digo, no paran de suceder cosas. Pero a la vez tenemos tiempo para conocer a los personajes, porque he terminado el libro pensando que conocía a Anne y Marco. Me he sorprendido con los giros de los personajes secundarios y hay muchas subtramas que luego demuestran estar interconectadas de manera sorprendente, y eso ha sido wow.

Lo que es el misterio está muy bien llevado, porque aunque se va solucionando poco a poco, parece que tienes una visión general de lo que pasa aunque no entiendes exactamente qué. Esa intriga es lo que me ha ganado. La pareja de al lado es directa, no se anda con chiquitas. Además, todo lo que es la trama del misterio y los demás elementos que la rodean me han convencido también.

No sé, me ha dejado una sonrisa en la boca. La autora ha jugado en varias ocasiones conmigo. Los personajes inestables siempre son un punto fuerte en este tipo de novelas, pero también lo son los que caminan por seguro. En este caso tenemos ambos, y sorprenden del mismo modo.

Recomiendo mucho su lectura porque es ágil, llena de sucesos, se tratan temas interesantes y en general la dinámica está bastante conseguida. Si queréis una novela rápida pero con un misterio decente, es una buena opción.
Profile Image for Always Pouting.
568 reviews715 followers
June 7, 2017
Anne and Marco's babysitter cancels at the last minute when they have a dinner party next door. Marco talks Anne into leaving their six month Cora alone because they can bring along the baby monitor and check in on her at half hour intervals. When the two arrive home shortly after 1 am though Cora is no where to be found and the police are called in to investigate. As the investigation proceeds it becomes increasingly clear that the kidnapping was orchestrated by someone close to the couple or the couple themselves, leading Anne to doubt herself.

I did like the writing, though I could've done without the switches in POV. Also . I felt that way about a lot of the twists in the book like they were just there for the sake of it and kind of had a hard time suspending my disbelief.

Also .

Anyway an okay thriller but personally wasn't very impressed by it and lost interest as it progressed further into the story.

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