Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Release date: August 23, 2016

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books

Genre: Psychological Thriller/Mystery

Goodreads blurb: 

How well do you know the couple next door? Or your husband? Or even—yourself?  

People are capable of almost anything. . . 

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.


This blurb is the thing my reading dreams are made of. A missing baby? Unreliable characters? Deceit, lies and blackmail? More twists and turns than a rollercoaster? Yes please! 

Anne and Marco decide to leave their infant daughter at home while they attend a neighbors dinner party. Yes, you read that right. I was immediately judging the two of them for even considering doing this, much less actually going through with it. It’s like the very definition of bad parenting, so from the start I didn’t care about them at all, what kept me reading initially was my interest in their baby daughter, Cora.

That changed rather quickly as I began to see that there is much more to this story than meets the eye. I did find myself sympathizing with Anne as she was living one of my worst nightmares. I had a pit in my stomach at the simple thought of one of my children going missing. Shudder. All of the characters have hidden secrets; the neighbors, Anne’s parents, Anne and Marco themselves. The reader is always trying to figure out who to trust, just as the characters are trying to figure out who to trust. There are so many complicated relationships going on, which I love. How well does anyone really know another person? 

Most of the characters are pretty unlikable, (neglectful parenting anyone?!) but I really liked the local detective investigating the disappearance, Rashbach. He is sharp, determined, and relentless, unwilling to stop until he uncovers the truth. Wow, does he have his work cut out for him as these characters have tangled themselves in a dark and twisted web of deception, lies and betrayal. 

I read this book at a frenetic pace, absolutely dying to find out what happened to Baby Cora. Is she alive? Murdered? Missing? As things began to spiral out of control, it all leads to an ending that left me breathless and delivers a final shocking twist in the very last page, the last few sentences even.

I have to add that when I received my copy in the mail I was delighted by the packaging. The book was wrapped in a newspaper with headlines from the case, so clever! 

Huge thanks to Shari Lapena and Pamela Dorman Books for my copy to review. 

Overall rating: 5/5

14 thoughts on “Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

  1. Annie says:

    Haha I thought the same thing about Rashbach, I wrote it in my review. Everyone was so unlikeable here! Didn’t you think that the neighbors would be more important in the story?

    Liked by 1 person

    • novelgossip says:

      I totally understand! Fortunately, there isn’t very much violence which helps me. It also focuses more on the relationships between the characters and their secrets rather than on the baby herself. So while it upset me to think about a tiny baby going missing, it wasn’t too graphic or anything!

      Liked by 1 person

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