Book Review: The Couple Next Door

Hey, everyone. Time for another Tuesday book review. I keep thinking my reading time will decrease as I spend more time writing, but that hasn’t happened yet. Matter of fact, I upped my Goodreads challenge from 35 books to 50 books for the year. (I really need to write but that’s another story.)

This week’s review is the second book I’ve read from author Shari Lapena.


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 lands 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.

My Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

After I read (and enjoyed) Shari Lapena’s An Unwanted Guest, I wanted to read some of her other works. This book seemed like a good choice.

Marco and Anne Conti are parents of a six-month-old baby girl. When their next-door neighbors invite them to an “adults only” dinner party, Marco is especially eager to go. Anne has suffered from some postpartum depression, and he thinks it would be good for her to get out of the house.

When their babysitter has to cancel at the last minute, Marco convinces Anne they could leave the baby alone (the houses share an adjoining wall), take the baby monitor, and check on her every half hour. But the dinner drags on and finally at almost 1:30 in the morning, Anne demands they leave. When they return to their own home, they find the front door open, the back door unlocked, and the baby is gone.

Who took her and why? Was it for ransom? Or was there something more sinister going on? The book had a lot of twists and turns. Both Marco and Anne are hiding secrets from one another. The kidnapper finally demands ransom money and insists upon them not involving the police, but the exchange goes awry.

Despite there being a lot of telling and not showing, this was a page-turner that kept me guessing. I couldn’t help but notice the detective in charge of the investigation “almost felt sorry” for Marco on several occasions. I did figure it out about three-fourths into the book, but I read on to see how things would play out.

The wrap-up was a little lackluster, with no real suspense. But then came the ending. I won’t give anything away, but the author had a good story going until that last page, which I hated. Maybe I just don’t understand all the ends and outs of psychological fiction, but I found the ending so unnecessary.

I’ll likely read more from Shari Lapena but after An Unwanted Guest, I found this book lacking.

26 thoughts on “Book Review: The Couple Next Door

  1. Wow, now I’m trying to remember the ending. This was the very first of Lapena’s books I read and it was several years ago, so I’m drawing a blank on the ending. I have a paperback copy of this. I need to grab it and see what I’m forgetting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a twist I probably should have expected, but didn’t. I’m not sure if she was going for the shock element, but I didn’t care for it at all. Lots of readers probably liked it, but I’m not one of them.

      Liked by 1 person

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