Book Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

“You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.”

Published in 2016, The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena follows a couple who leave their six-month-old daughter at home to attend a dinner party next door. They go to check on her every half an hour. She was sleeping the last time they checked. But when they return home, their worst fears are realised. She’s gone.

Now the police are in their home, and who knows what they’ll find there. What are this couple capable of, when pushed past their limit?


The reason why I’m always excited to pick up a book by Shari Lapena is that you always know that you’re in for a classic thriller – easy to read, a quick pace, and a great twist thrown in somewhere along the way.

But at the same time, it’s the “classic thriller” tropes that I feel let down her books at the same time. Every read so far has been around the four-star mark for me because there’s always a lot to enjoy about them. But they never break the mould, for me.

The Couple Next Door is much of the same. With a gripping opening, strong characters to keep you engaged, and some great unexpected twists, it was definitely an entertaining read. But there were a few niggles that let me down.

My worst thriller pet peeve is when an author uses a character’s narrative to lie to the audience. I don’t mind unreliable narrators. They can lie to their family, they can lie to the police. That’s tricking the audience, convincing them otherwise. But to have a character outright say they didn’t do something to the reader, for you to later find out they did it, I just think that’s cheating and that there could have been more clever ways to deceive you.

And while the title and synopsis suggest this story is largely about the couple next door, they’re not included nearly enough. I thought their secret was a brilliant twist, but nothing really comes of it. So overall, the couple next door are largely underused, when they could have been what made this book stand out.


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