Monday, 26 December 2016

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lepena Book Review



‘2016’s most talked-about new thriller’ Stylist

‘A twisty, utterly riveting tale that will send readers on a wild rollercoaster ride of emotions. Shocking revelations kept me turning the pages like a madwoman’ TESS GERRITSEN

Fast-paced and addictive, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR announces a major new talent in thriller writing.


You never know what's happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn't want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn't stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You'll have the baby monitor and you'll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She's gone.

You've never had to call the police before. But now they're in your home, and who knows what they'll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?


The Couple Next Door is Shari Lepena’s debut novel. I was drawn in by the opening pages, in what seemed to be a hostile and tense atmosphere between two couples having dinner. After reading the opening pages on Amazon I was intrigued to know how the story developed and it didn't disappoint.

Anne, and her husband Marco, are celebrating their neighbours fortieth birthday. Their babysitter has cancelled on them at the last minute and they have left their six month old baby, Cora, alone, (a decision which Anne isn’t comfortable with.) They are checking on the baby every half an hour and when Anne makes the last check she finds that her baby daughter is missing, taken from her crib. We can all relate to making bad decisions, some people may not be able to even comprehend leaving their child alone, even if they are only a few feet away. But their are definitely people out there who see no harm in it without realising that they are living life on the edge.   

Detective Rasbach arrives on the scene and he immediately suspects the parents. I was put off a little by his accusations and ideas in the opening pages and I didn’t particularly like him as a detective, but his character grew on me as the novel progressed and by the end I was rooting for him to get to the truth.

Anne is definitely an unreliable narrator, a trend which appears to be taking the psychological thriller market by storm in recent years. I did feel though, that the idea of Anne's illness wasn't explored to its full potential. This idea had huge dramatic potential and it was a shame that the author didn't decide to explore this further, there are definitely a lot of exciting ideas here. 

About half way into the book I did guess the major plot twist, but that didn’t put me off reading further. Shari still had lots of surprises up her sleeve; I still can’t get the last few pages out of my head.

Although The Couple Next Door was not one of my favourite books this year, I did however find it enjoyable and I would recommend it if you are looking for an easy and satisfying read, perfect to take away on holiday. 

Publisher: Bantam Press

Print Length: 304 pages

Publication date: 14th July 2016

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