I stumbled on ‘The Couple Next Door’ by Shari Lapena when I was flying to Madrid in September. I didn’t buy it (I picked ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ by Heather Morris instead) but I did take a picture to add it to my to read-list on Goodreads.
I ordered it only two weeks later when I ordered a stack of books (all thrillers, coincidentally) for my holiday to Gran Canaria.
That’s where I read it, in a couple of hours next to the pool. I only put it down once, to take a quick swim and hurry back to finish it after.
Although maybe that had more to do with the fact that I wanted to prove my mother wrong and show I could definitely read five books during a six-day holiday and I had a little catching up to do.
Everyone is faking it, all of them pretending to be something they’re not. The whole world is built on lies and deceit.
‘The Couple Next Door’ is about Anne and Marco, who left their six-month-old daughter at home, while they went to the next-door neighbors for a dinner party. They brought their baby monitor and they went back to check on her every half hour.
But when they come home, their daughter is gone.
The police come in to try and make sense of a web of lies, affairs, money, family issues, and non-existent traces to bring back the baby girl.
Rasbach has learned in his years on the job, it is that people are capable of almost anything.
After only a couple pages, I experienced a flashback. I remembered reading a book about a couple who was on holiday with another couple, left their baby upstairs but checked every half hour, and their baby was still kidnapped. For a second, I wondered if I read the book already, but then I realized that couple went on holiday and this couple was home.
Turns out, both stories had the same perpetrator, although Shari Lapena did add an unforeseen twist to the end.
The writing is ok. It’s not spectacular, but it’s easy to read and flows nicely. There are some layers to some of the characters, but not all of them.
I wouldn’t say the plot of ‘The Couple Next Door’ is original, but the twist at the end is. I mean, there probably are dozens of books that have been somewhat inspired by Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.
And the end? Well, I don’t want to spoil anything, but there certainly is an ending. You’re not left wondering what happened to some of the characters.
So all in all, ‘The Couple Next Door’ by Shari Lapena is good to kill time, but don’t expect an original page-turner.