With the last few hot days of the summer coming to an end, I took advantage of the weather and bank holiday weekend and sat outside to finish off The Couple Next Door, a psychological thriller I only started reading the week before, soon after my mother read it and raved about it.
If you know me at all, it’s not often I complete a whole book in one week, two weeks maybe, but never a week. I’ll admit, after the first chapter, I wasn’t quite hooked however my mother insisted I read a couple more chapters before tossing it to one side to catch up on when I can (meaning never really getting through it). She was right. By Chapter Three I was completely hooked!
To fill you in without dropping any spoilers, I’ll just tell you the gist of the story. Anne and Marco, a humble couple in their thirties leave their six month old baby girl at home whilst they attend a party at their next door neighbours’ house. Throughout the evening, they each take it in turns to go back to their home and check on their baby, whilst listening to the monitor they took to the party. Somehow, on returning back to their home in the middle of the night, they find that they’re little girl has been taken from her crib and removed from their home.
Lapena sends the story off into a whirlwind of twists and turns, keeping her readers’ hands gripped to the thrilling novel – well my hands definitely were anyway! We’re introduced to a Detective Rasbach, the leading detective on the couple’s case. If you’ve ever watched The Missing, which was a gripping, edge-of-your-seat drama shown on BBC1, then you’ll remember Julien Baptiste, the much loved detective of the show. Throughout the whole of The Couple Next Door, Detective Rasbach reminded me completely of Julien Baptiste; in fact the whole story reminded me of The Missing, my favourite ever psychological drama shown on TV. Detective Rasbach was the only character in the book who I felt like I really knew, as when I read further into the book I began to misjudge many of the other characters and the ones I thought I trusted began to deter.
With Lapena’s transfixing prose of spider webs of lies and deceit, she succeeds in torturing her readers into guessing which character stole the beloved baby, only for the plot to get twisted and turned on its side all over again.
If you are looking for a novel to completely lose yourself in, one that you refuse to put down, then this is definitely the novel for you.