The Couple Next Door

the couple next door

 

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: books@urmston-bookshop.co.uk

 

 

 

Daisy In Chains

daisy in chains

 

Daisy In Chains

by Sharon Bolton

 

Famous killers have fan clubs.

Hamish Wolfe is no different. Locked up for the rest of his life for the abduction and murder of three young women, he gets countless adoring letters every day. He’s handsome, charismatic and very persuasive. His admirers are convinced he’s innocent, and that he’s the man of their dreams.

Who would join such a club?

Maggie Rose is different. Reclusive and enigmatic; a successful lawyer and bestselling true-crime writer, she only takes on cases that she can win.

Hamish wants her as his lawyer, he wants her to change his fate. She thinks she’s immune to the charms of a man like this. But maybe not this time . . .

Would you?

 

This book delves into the phenomenon of men serving life in prison and the inexplicable adoration they command from ordinary women.

Hamish is a serial killer who claims he is innocent. Women profess undying love to him, but the only one he is interested in is Maggie Rose, a formidable lawyer, who he hopes will be able to cast doubt on his sentence. Maggie, however, does not believe him to be innocent and is not prepared to risk her reputation.

D.I. Pete Weston is the detective who put Hamish behind bars and he has no intention of the conviction being overturned. He is troubled that Maggie’s interest could be piqued, so he visits her to warn her against taking on the case, and thus begins a very interesting relationship between the two, both dancing around each other to avoid being the one caught out.

Sharon Bolton’s forte is to create deeply engaging, if not always likeable, characters and embed them in superb plots that twist and turn effortlessly.

This book is no exception.

As well as the narrative, police reports, letters, emails, etc are used to drip feed information and drive the plot on.

The three central characters are brilliant. You never really know if Hamish is guilty or not and the way he draws Maggie in slowly, charming her and placing doubts in her head, is riveting.

This is hard to review without giving the plot away but I loved every page-turning moment of it and the ending is just superb.

Highly recommended.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy via Netgalley