The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Couple Next Door

Title: The Couple Next Door
Author: Shari Lapena
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books; 1st Edition (August 23, 2016)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Audiobook: Published by Penguin Audio; Unabridged Edition (August 23, 2016)

(This post contains affiliate links)

To purchase “The Couple Next Door” from The Couple Next Door 

                                                           Synopsis from

An instant New York Times bestseller. Look out for Shari Lapena’s next thriller, A STRANGER IN THE HOUSE, coming August 2017.
“The twists come as fast [as] you can turn the pages.” —People
“Provocative and shocking.” —Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of Find Her
“I read this novel at one sitting, absolutely riveted by the storyline. The suspense was beautifully rendered and unrelenting!” —Sue Grafton, New York Times bestselling author of X

It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors—a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .
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 focuses 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.

Trigger Warnings: Crimes involving children; postpartum depression

                                                                   Initial Musings
I just finished listening to the audiobook version of “The Couple Next Door” this morning and my mind is still reeling. I REALLY wanted to be surprised by this one, but I felt like I was one step ahead when all of the twists came around. BUT! The twists were still satisfying and led to more questions to build suspense. I still REALLY enjoyed the story, and the characters. This story challenged your loyalty in regards to the characters actions and the parts they played in the main event. The story is told through multiple perspectives: Marco Conti, Anne Conti, Anne’s parents, and the lead detective on the case. A crime is committed and it isn’t until the last chapters that the truth comes out. Like I said, I had high expectations for this book as a suspense novel with multiple twists, but I think I connected with it more on a character driven level than a plot driven/twisty turny “Gone Girl” type novel. I felt sympathy for characters that I kept telling myself could really be the actual antagonists in the story, but I couldn’t help it—the author wrote them in a way where you could feel comfortable asking yourself what you would do in that situation.

                                     Character Driven: What are they capable of?
Anne and Marco’s marriage is filled with relatable up’s and down’s like finances, insecurities as new parents, and trouble with the in-laws. An additional element that adds to the fog of uncertainty is Anne’s postpartum depression. The level of mystery surrounding the severity of Anne’s postpartum depression is nurtured through Marco and Detective Rasbach’s perspectives–what is she capable of, what did she tell her psychiatrist who is treating her postpartum depression, did Marco cover up a terrible crime for her?

Marco has his own set of problems–mainly financial–that make him a suspect. He needs money for his business, what will he do to get it? This is answered midway through the story but then other circumstances arise that you may not see coming. Regardless of the suspiciousness of Marco’s actions, I sympathized with him and I just wanted someone else to be in his corner. In a sense he is the main character of the story because he holds the most knowledge from beginning to end.

                                                                   For the Mamas
Anne’s character might challenge your ideals as a Mama. But then you set those ideals aside for a second and realize women are struggling as Mamas everyday. Postpartum Depression is very real and so is the guilt that Anne feels constantly for significant things, but also for things that are necessary for her own self-care. The conclusion of the story weighed heavily on me as a Mama because….well you’ll just have to see for yourself!

I give “The Couple Next Door” 4 shots of Espresso out of 5. I definitely recommend it as a satisfying suspense novel. Just when you think its over…well, its not.

To purchase “The Couple Next Door” for your own suspenseful reading pleasure, follow this super convenient Amazon link (an affiliate link) which is also available at the top of the page! The Couple Next Door: Amazon Link

The Review Mama

“If you’re good at it, and you love it, and it helps you navigate the river of the world, then it can’t be wrong.”

                             —The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie

There is an “My Story” section on this site, but it just gives a run down of the basics. I started this blog to feed my need to creativity–for writing and for reading. I work in higher education part-time (but do full-time work) as a coordinator and an academic coach, and with the rest of my time, I am a Mama and a wife. At my job I make a difference, and I am able to help students when they think no one on campus cares about their particular situation (and we encounter ALL situations). But it does not feed my creative side as much as I want it to soooo I’m looking for an outlet.

Confession #1: I don’t know how to blog.

I freakin’ don’t know how to blog. As a kind of writer or creative soul I have to feel a certain way to feel inspired or to feel “right” about what or how I’m writing. I can’t just sit down and write about a book or a film if it doesn’t give me some sort of spark. So I’m worried that my posts will be inconsistent, but being “worried” is what I’m done with. I’m going to be 30 this year, I’m going to have my second kid this year, and you know what–I’m going to start writing without worry this year too.

Confession #2: I don’t have a confession #2 but I felt like I needed more than one. Well maybe I confess that I also am blogging out of necessity.

I’m 6 months pregnant–due in August–and I just found out that I may lose my job at the end of June due to cutbacks. This is terrifying for many reasons. #1 financially obviously because we will have to start selling stuff (like our house) and my husband may have to work even longer hours, #2 because I LOVE my job and the amazing women and men I work with. We have a common goal–to support our students. But we also lift each other up, pray together and we laugh together every day. It’s an amazing thing to find a place to work where you feel the freedom to grow and have an impact on a community.

I said I was blogging partially out of necessity, but really I just need to write. In my senior year of college a guest writer came to our Poetry Workshop class and invited questions. So I asked, “When the real world hits, and you are doing things far from your writing, how do you keep writing?” She answered, “At some point, the writing will call you back.” It was that simple then, and it is that simple now. I hear the call and I’m going to answer. Here I am–now let’s get down to business.

Hearts & Coffee,

Julie -aka- The Review Mama