The Couple Next Door
by Shari Lapena
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?
Marco and Anne are invited to the neighbours for drinks. When the babysitter cancels, Anne wants to stay at home, but Marco convinces her that taking the baby monitor next door and checking on Cora every 30 minutes will be fine. But when they get home at the end of a very long night; the baby is gone.
During the investigation that follows, the parents come under increasing suspician and have no way of proving their innocence – if they really are.
I found this book very different to the usual psychological thriller. The story is told from three main viewpoints; Marco’s, Anne’s and Detective Rasbach. It is totally focussed on the kidnapping and possible murder of baby Cora. There are no side stories and no great sense of place (I spent most of the book fighting the feeling that it was set in the UK). There is an almost documentary style feel to the storytelling and it makes for an incredibly tense book. Even a major disclosure halfway through, does nothing to lessen the tension.
There is only a small cast of suspects and the author cleverly draws out their traits of greed, selfishness, deceit and irresponsibility as well as suffering, heartbreak and remorse. You cannot be sure of anyone; even the title of the book gives the wrong impression.
This is a brilliant debut novel. To take a small cast of characters and create tension that lasts the duration of the book is something special.
Shari Lapena is one to watch.
Many thanks to the publishers Transworld for sending me a fabulously wrapped book.
Copies of The Couple Next Door are on sale at Urmston Bookshop tel:0161 747 7442 email: email@example.com