“The couple next door” by Shari Lapena


asteriaicon‘The Couple Next Door’ is the story about a couple who live in high end row houses, and go next door to celebrate their neighbour’s birthday. The neighbours have asked that they do not bring their six month old baby girl, and the babysitter cancels at the last minute, so the couple decide to leave their baby at home unattended. They bring the baby monitor with them, taking turns to check on her every half an hour, and figured that would suffice. Until they come home and find her missing.

The novel has gained a lot of attention, and if I am not mistaken I believe it has gotten a movie deal as well.  The novel started out at a fast pace and kept it up, and was a fast and easy read. I like mystery/who-dunnit stories. I like the challenge of figuring out who the bad guy is. I strangely tend to judge my books on whether I figure out the bad guy or the ending…if I do then it wasn’t that great to me, and if it catches me by surprise I like it.

This novel took me by surprise. I couldn’t figure out the ending. Some of the twists and turns that come up in the story are rather unbelievable, but to me that is ok, it kept the story going. The story switches back and forth from different points of view, from the wife to the husband to the cop trying to solve the kidnapping, and I like those, I like to see how characters think and feel and process things. None of the characters are overly likable (who leaves their six month kid at home alone…honestly!) , they each have their own history and each has their own flaws that make them a potential suspect in the kidnapping.  I didn’t particularly love the aspect of the mother being a suspect because she suffered from postpartum depression, to me it makes people fear those who do suffer from depression, but I do understand where the author was going and I know in reality there have been cases were a woman has killed her child due to depression…so I get it, I just didn’t love it.  Some things are rather cheesy and overdone…the husband from the wrong side of the tracks who is hated by the in-laws, and the wife from money, and the keeping up with appearances act.  But overall the story still sucked me in and kept me reading right until the gasp worthy end.

The ending definitely caught me off guard. The who-dunnit in this case was not what I had suspected right up until very close to the end, but the very last page caught me by complete surprise.  As the author wrote in her novel “people are capable of almost anything”.

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