Labelled ‘most talked thriller of the year’ (2016) and with several good reviews. I felt it was finally time for me to read this famous book which I have heard so much about.

From the very beginning, ‘The Couple Next Door’ gripped me. Essentially, husband and wife, Marco and Anne are invited to a dinner party at their neighbours house, next door. They  leave their six month old baby alone in the house, since their neighbour wanted it ‘to be an adult evening’ and could not stand her crying. They were going to have the baby monitor on and take it in turns to check on the baby every half an hour. Upon returning, they realise the baby has disappeared. 

The couple are racked with guilt and as the investigation continues, more secrets and betrayals are revealed. 

Shari Lapena decides to write in  third person which is very effective as it allows us to follow the experiences of Anne, Marco, Detective Rasbach and Jennings, the couple’s next door neighbour Cynthia and Anne’s parents, Richard and Alice. This allows her to produce an in depth narrative in which the narrator helps us to decode the mystery.

Anne and Marco are the main protagonists and I feel they are both portrayed very well. Anne suffers from Postpartum depression after the birth of baby, Cora and suffers from deep anxiety and guilt after her disappearance. She struggles to cope emotionally. She does have a few secrets of her own from the past which adds a curveball to the story. Marco is a strong, determined character who tries to put a brave face to support his wife. But deep down is struggling to come to terms with his daughter’s disappearance. Throughout the novel, I shifted between disliking him and sympathising him. He makes a major mistake which ends up with him having to pay the price for. 

The other minor characters are also portrayed very convincingly. The detectives are excellent at attempting to solve the crime as more and more things are revealed.  Anne’s parents are extremely rich and although it seems they will do anything to get the baby back, there is more than meets the eye. And the neighbours are also incredibly interesting. 

I liked the final revelation as it definitely resolved all the problems and gave hope for the characters. Also, it was interesting how the book progressed and this was not something the reader could have fathomed from the start. However, I feel the final moment was a bit of a let down as I felt it was a bit unrealistic. I, personally, found it a bit unnecessary and slightly irrelevant to the book. 

Overall, I found the novel incredibly engaging and I could not put it down with all its twists and turns. I recommend it as it is highly unpredictable. The characters are constructed and developed exceptionally well.