Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

This book has been number one on my list of must-reads. Everywhere I’ve turned, I’ve read glowing recommendations about this book, and even the synopsis had me excited to give it a go. Finally, I was able to get my hands on it, and I finished it in record time today, even putting aside my school work to get it done. So let’s begin with the review:

Anne and Marco are at their neighbour’s house for a quiet dinner party. Since the neighbour wanted it to be an adult party, and the babysitter was unavailable that evening, Marco and Anne decide to leave their child alone at home. After all, they live right next door, and will be having the baby monitor on them at all times. They even arrange shifts every half an hour to check up on the baby. Surely, nothing bad could happen, right? At 1 am, when the party starts to wind down, Anne and Marco return home… only to find that their 6-month-old daughter is no longer sleeping in her crib. In fact, she isn’t anywhere in the house. As the police begin investigating into the kidnapping, Anne and Marco’s lives will be turned upside down – and all of their secrets are now out in the open.

I’m in shock. After reading this novel, I honestly have to wonder how this novel received such raving reviews. While it began with an interesting premise, it quickly became illogical and ridiculous. The twists and turns that the author added to make the story “interesting” made absolutely no sense, and were there simply to add some shock factor to the plot. If the author has to explain every character’s reasoning and behaviour at every step, then you know that the conclusions that are being made are not logical and don’t really work. The characters themselves are very one-dimensional and have no real personality. It’s like they were given a label so now they have to act like absolute robots with no real conscious thoughts or actions. The random side characters that were introduced was confusing and their connection to the overall story was weak. All I know is, I was completely unsatisfied by the explanations behind the kidnapping and the motivation for all of the characters to behave in the way that they did. I know the author wanted to depict the depravity that greed brings out in humans, but it was almost comical how crazy they all acted just for some cash. If you like reading thrillers just for the sake of gasping at twists and turn, then check this novel out because it will definitely take you down some unexpected avenues. But if you expect your novel to make some sense and have at least the minimum amount of logic to it, then don’t even bother reading this story. It makes no sense. And the ending sucked.

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