Book review: The Couple Next Door


I SO wanted this book, “The Couple Next Door,” written by Shari Lapena, to be a good one. I saw it on the “new paperbacks” table at Barnes & Noble a couple of months ago and made a note to order it from Amazon. I did order it from Amazon, but then I got a free download from Audible books on tape and took advantage of the opportunity during my Christmas commute to my parents’ home in Dallas.

The premise is a good one: A young couple with a new baby goes to a dinner party at the home of another young couple who live next door. The first couple – Marco and Anne – have some troubles. Marco’s business is failing, and Anne’s wealthy parents have never liked him. When their babysitter cancels on the night of the dinner party, they decide to go anyway and leave baby Cora in her crib, rotating shifts to check on her every half hour.

The writer throws in some red flags – Marco is flirting with the salacious party host Cynthia. Anne’s wealthy parents may have motive. Anne is taking medication for post-partum depression. Marco’s business is failing and he is in serious financial trouble.

If I’d been reading the actual book, I would have thrown it across the room and promptly attempted to resell it to Half-Price Books. Fortunately it was an audio book and it didn’t consume too much of my precious time since I was driving, making me a somewhat captive audience.

It lacked character development. It didn’t matter to me which person abducted the baby or who got in trouble for it. The ending was lazy, because there wasn’t really much of an ending. I absolutely hate it when an author forces the reader to reach their own conclusion. No, you get the royalties; you need to tell me what happened.

I give it two stars out of five.

I’m wrapping up Laura Lippman’s “What the Dead Know” and plan to start “The Hypnotist’s Love Story” by Liane Moriarty, a follow-up to “Big Little Lies,” a great book that became an HBO series starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley.

From reader Leah Carruthers:

I’ll have to add that Laura Lippman book to my list. It sounds interesting. I’m currently reading Jodi Picoult’s “Plain Truth.” I bought it some time back and have decided to read it now. I’ve read other books by her and have enjoyed them. Hopefully, this one isn’t any different. I recently finished the first book in “The Walk Series” by Richard Paul Evans. I liked it and will continue the series. It was a short and easy read.

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