I’ve been looking for a quick mystery novel that isn’t too dark or gory; The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena was just the book I was in the mood for.
Marco and Anne Conti, new to parenthood, go to a dinner party at the house next door and leave their infant baby behind with a baby monitor. During the span of the party an awful crime is committed and as the story progresses, readers learn exactly what happened that night and what role everyone played, however unexpected.
What interested me the most in this book was the way that people can spiral out of control and dig themselves into a deeper and deeper hole in an effort to save their own skin. Situations in this story drive people to commit acts they never thought they were capable of.
Each chapter flowed smoothly into the next, the whole story only spanning a week or so. The book is told in third person from the perspectives of many different characters. The narrator seemed very removed from the characters and I noticed that each of the characters’ names were used a lot, almost so much so that it started to distract me. This style of writing isn’t a favorite of mine, but I thought it worked for this book.
For me, The Couple Next Door is a plot driven novel, rather than character driven, and a quick one-time read.
Here’s a quote I marked from the book:
“She knows how judgmental mothers are, how good it feels to sit in judgment of someone else.”