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.
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
Publication Date: August 23, 2016 by Pamela Dorman Books
Despicable characters, unreliable internal dialogues, and a missing baby – what’s not to like?
Although in some ways the plot was a bit predictable (as seems to be the case with this type of standard psychological thriller), I found myself thoroughly enjoying this book. It’s a fast read and Lapena is talented when it comes to the type of slow unravelling that involves quite a few hints along the way for those paying close enough attention.
Despite behaving terribly, my feelings toward Marco and Anne dipped between disgust and sadness throughout the book. Even though they both clearly have issues to work on (and blaming each other is definitely one of those issues), I found there were moments of clarity where the reader is left questioning how someone else would behave in the couple’s shoes – enough to make me think twice about damning their every choice.
There are plenty of twists and turns throughout the book to keep the reader on their toes and doubting their every opinion regarding a character’s guilt, but what I enjoyed the most were the small moments of character development that made me realize there was a lot more to the story than the missing baby Cora.
She has had a lot of practice feeling anger without showing it. She dissembles. Isn’t that what everyone does? Everyone is faking it, all of them pretending to be something they’re not. The whole world is built on lies and deceit.
Each of the characters in this book is hiding something and it’s the heightened anxiety from knowing how much is not being said that makes this such an enjoyable read!