In ‘The Couple Next Door’, Anne and Marco Conti have a beautiful daughter, Cora, who is now six months old and utterly stunning. They have been invited to dinner by the neighbors who share a wall with them and whose home is right next to theirs. Despite the babysitter canceling their services, they decide to go and take turns checking up on baby Cora every half hour using the baby monitor.
Even though they only left to check on Cora for the last time 45 minutes before they returned for the night, the house was strangely quiet. Anne and Marco rush to her room, and upon arrival, their worst fears are realized.
There’s no one on her cot right now. As you know, Cora has left us.
It has been decided to contact law enforcement, and Detective Rasbach has been tasked with conducting a thorough investigation. Anne and Marco had been trying hard to keep the tension out of their marriage, but when his suspicions fell on them, things seemed bleak.
Soon, long-kept secrets will be uncovered through no fault of their own, and that will forever change the way they see one another. Anne and Marco’s relationship isn’t the only thing that seems to be on the point of collapse right now; another problem is also hanging over their heads.
When and where did Cora get kidnapped?
In their search for their daughter, will they be able to solve their own problems in time?
Is young Cora still alive, or has she passed away?
A novel with a startling narrative and an engaging enough storyline to keep the reader interested, but also with some really annoying characters and a grating writing style.
I recently finished Joseph Souza’s “The Neighbor.” My full review of The Neighbor may be found here, but suffice it to say that it was not a novel I enjoyed reading. The Couple Next Door and The Neighbor evoke similar emotions, albeit they aren’t identical.
The novel features a complex plot that twists and turns in ways that are both predictable and surprising. The book’s strength lies in this area. The element of mystery and suspense is what makes this so interesting. Furthermore, the process is rapid enough.
But a big chunk of it is pointless since you don’t care about any of the people involved or have any sort of connection to them. You want to know what happened, but it’s more out of a fascination with the mysteries than any desire for a good ending for the characters.
Most of the characters spend a considerable amount of time doing nothing but moaning. I have no doubt that if anything as terrible as your child being kidnapped ever happened to you, you would experience a great deal of distress. And with good cause.
However, their plight is not presented in a way that inspires sympathy or compassion from the reader.
The Couple Next Door has tenses that are difficult to follow is also very frustrating. Although I was first resistant to the first-person point of view (POV), I’ve come to enjoy it, especially since so many authors favor it.
But there’s this weird present continuous thing happening here, and the past tense is just thrown in at random; it made reading this quite difficult for me. Even within the same chapter, Lapena frequently shifts perspectives among several protagonists. There aren’t many authors who can pull this off successfully, and Lapena isn’t one of them.
The only reason this book isn’t a total bust is because of its captivating story. But is that really enough to recommend picking up the book? Even though I haven’t read The Wife Between Us myself, I am familiar with the plot and think readers who enjoyed The Neighbor would enjoy The Couple Next Door.
You should put down The Couple Next Door and pick up something else if you’re looking for an exciting thriller. Although the plot is strong, the writing, the characters, and the reader’s involvement are all severely lacking. As a result, it serves its purpose as a mystery without being particularly engaging or thrilling.
You won’t be thinking about it for days, weeks, or months after finishing it.
If you like reading Shari Lapena, discover her books in order.
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About the Author
Sarah Patel is an ardent reader and a lover of diverse narratives. Her curiosity drives her to explore books across multiple genres, from fantasy and science fiction to contemporary fiction and memoirs.
With a degree in Creative Writing, Sarah has a profound appreciation for storytelling and character development.