A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

After seeing that this book was getting a lot of hype, I decided to give this one a go. I read The Couple Next Door and I recall not enjoying it. However, I wanted to give this author another shot. Here’s my review:

Synopsis (Goodreads): Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.

There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.

The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.

Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions.

Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.

Review: So…. it wasn’t terrible. But it was still bad.

The premise of this story kind of made me roll my eyes. We have a perfect housewife who drives recklessly, and then ends up getting into an accident that conveniently leads to memory loss. I mean, seriously, how many times has that been used? I’m really getting sick and tired of reading stories that have to do with amnesia. It’s overused and it’s a lazy way to add suspense. ANYWAYS, our perfect housewife returns home to her loving husband, only to find that the cops are coming after her because she may have been implicated in the murder of some person. Literally, nothing unique about this at all. What I did like was the idea that the Krupps had a stalker, especially once I realized (very quickly) who the stalker was. I just wish this one concept had been enough to make the story worth reading.

The writing was bland, with more telling than showing. Instead of getting the readers to understand some of the emotions that the characters are feeling, we are just told them. I also really hated Tom’s character. He was so one-dimensional, and it felt like the author was trying to paint him as the real victim in the whole situation. He’s supposed to be this perfect husband, and apparently everyone likes him. But to me, he was just pathetic. He couldn’t support his wife properly, wandered around in a confused sad daze, and tried to explain away his inability to keep it in his pants. I just couldn’t get on the “Tom is the best” train, no matter how many times the author tried to make me love him.

The story plodded on for the longest time until we finally reached the “thrilling” conclusion we had been promised. But at that point, I simply didn’t care. It also didn’t feel very well-developed so it just fell flat on its face.

Overall, my ratings for this novel are quite low. The writing was blah, the characters were blah, and the story was just not worth reading. I’m giving this a 1/5 stars.


0 thoughts on “A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

  1. Oh no, I actually loved this one! I know everyone is different, but I couldn’t stop reading it!

    1. I’ll admit, it was addicting to read. But the story was altogether too easy to guess. And I just wanted to be shown things instead of explained.

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