Monday, September 12, 2016

Review: The Couple Next Door

Summary: It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors—a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist. -- Pamela Dorman Books

I read THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR by Shari Lapena a few weeks ago, and I'm still trying to figure out my thoughts. The book began with a bang for me and I honestly couldn't put the book down. However, the intensity and excitement didn't last for me. So while I wouldn't go so far as to say I didn't enjoy the novel, I will say that I was a bit disappointed with the second half of the novel.

THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR tells the story of Anne and Marco Conti, a "happily" married couple with a young baby girl named Cora. One night, they go to a dinner party with their neighbors and leave their baby at home by herself! Before you think to poorly of this couple, it's important to know that Cora was in bed, they were right next door, and they were checking on her every half hour. However, the unthinkable happened... when they arrived home that evening (more than a little drunk), their door was open and the baby was gone!

Police arrive at the scene and, naturally, they assume that the parents are involved. The detectives in charge of the case, Rasbach and Jennings, discover some clues around the house that lead them to believe that the parents are hiding something. However, Rasbach also believes that the parents are genuinely distraught over the loss of their child. The detective throws around a lot of ideas, but nothing seems to really add up.

As Anne and Marco work with the detectives to find their daughter, it becomes clear to the reader that neither one is being entirely honest with the other... or the cops. Will their darkest secrets be revealed in time to save their daughter?

I have to say that the premise for THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR is terrific! When I first began this novel, I was extremely impressed with the author's writing and the overall feel of the novel. I wasn't entirely sure what to believe or who to believe... and I loved that feeling. I think I read the first half of the book in one sitting.

And then, it began to fizzle a bit for me. The suspenseful writing of the first 100+ pages took a back seat to the detective's theories about the parents. Like the detective, I was trying to figure out what the heck was going on, but reading every one of his ideas just became a little tedious and jumbled.

That being said, there were more than a few twists in this novel that did keep the action moving. I was quite surprised by a couple of them, and the one at the end proved to be especially shocking. I will admit to figuring things out (for the most part) fairly early on in the story, and I suspect that I won't be alone. The characters and the plot just seemed a little too obvious; however, the author did manage to throw some twists into the predictable nature of the book.

Overall, I think THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR was a good read -- just not a great one. Recommended to fans of suspense and mysteries.

I received an e-copy from the publisher and Netgalley.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

I liked this book but didn't love it. I agree the ending was an issue - it was a bit over the top and didn't fit the tension and pacing that the book started with.

Illinimom said...

I just won a copy of this one. Glad to hear you liked it!