REVIEW - THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR by Shari Lapena
What pulls the reader in hook, line and sinker into this “domestic noir” is that all the fraught scenarios we read of in THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR are only a couple of shaky steps off the normal path of married domesticity, walked by most of us every day. This makes the events in this fast moving book even more frightening to consider; it is only one mother’s group discussion away from our own possible realities.
The book does stumble occasionally with poor construction, notably in the scenes between married couple Anne and Marco. Lots of meaningful looks here with little engagement. Anne and Marco are a strangely disconnected couple. Throwing that old plot device of Post Natal Depression up against the wall doesn’t serve so well to explain the disinterest the two seem to have in each other. Neither of them seem to have a clue what the other is up to; odd, considering they are the two prime suspects as the parents of the abducted child. The reader needed to see more conflict between the couple; more pressure to confess or absolve.
It is very easy to see this novel being made into a Hollywood big screen thriller as all the right ingredients are there; no character is wasted, all are relevant. The author has done a sterling job of turning our suspicions this way and that, backtracking over connections we once discarded and allowing us see them differently in hindsight as the novel powers along. THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR is a blisteringly fast read with the ticking time clock of little Cora’s life always in the back ground. This clever thriller should be a huge hit and spark much discussion.
On the other side of a wall from where a modest dinner party is being held, a sleeping baby is taken from her bed.
Even sleep deprived new parents should be able to spend a few hours away, with the baby monitor at hand, the doors locked tight – right? Is it an opportunity baby snatch, or a planned abduction? The eyes of everyone are on Anne and Marco. The attractive and upwardly mobile young couple appear to have it all; the lovely home, the pretty new baby, the happy marriage, the successful start-up business. Or is all of that just the visible façade, masking the deep unhappiness that lies beneath?