“A Stranger in the House” by Shari Lapena


asteriaiconTom Krupp comes home from work to an empty house. His wife’s purse and phone are there, but Karen appears to have taken off in a hurry. Tom calls his neighbour, who is also Karen’s best friend, to see if she knew where his wife was. Then there is a sudden knock at the door, and a police officer is telling him that Karen has been in a car accident in the worst part of town and is currently in the hospital. Karen has no memory of what happened but it becomes apparent that she is a suspect in a murder that happened near the area she was in her accident. Was she fleeing from something or someone? When Karen gets home, and as she is increasingly being questioned by police, she becomes convinced someone has been in their house.

This was another fast read by the author of The Couple Next Door. She seems to be very good at writing about complex married couples. She makes you question how much you really know your spouse.

Sadly, though, this was another one where I guessed the ending, not the relationship of Karen to the murder victim, but the stranger in the house aspect. I saw it coming a mile away, which is always disappointing.

I found Tom weak and rather pathetic, and somewhat unbelievable. I found Karen unbelievable as well, and her true identity rather ridiculous. I read this book in a few hours, which in this case to me wasn’t a good sign. It had no real hook, no real captivating thing I just had to know, and found myself just reading along in hopes the story would get better, or a huge curve would appear. A curve did, but it was more of a winding meander rather than a huge jolt. The more I think about it, the more I feel it tried too hard to be the next “Gone Girl”, and sadly missed the mark.

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