I’ve tried to expand my BookTube viewing of late, beyond Climbing the Stacks (a wonderfully intellectual channel). It turns out I’m rather picky when it comes to YouTube viewing, which has proved rather annoying – if you have any recommendations let me know (no YA channels thank you please).
To begin my mission to broaden my BookTube world I began watching Simon of Savidge Reads’s channel, which is how I came across The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. I was in the mood for something easy and immersive, and this was it.
“Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.
Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.” GoodReads.
The Couple Next Door is a very entertaining crime novel, it travels in interesting directions some obvious and some not. Most of the characters are fairly two-dimensional, which was a shame, yet luckily didn’t affect the storytelling. I consider it entry-level crime, which is no insult (I find heavy crime rather difficult).
Anne and Marco are a strange couple, whose private life does not match the veneer they present to the world. Without spoiling too much, Anne has PTSD and Marco is a failed businessman. When their baby disappeared during an evening let alone while the couple dines with their neighbours, it sets them on a journey that will completely unravel their lives. A clear line of good and bad characters is drawn that quickly gets questioned and rewritten.
My only disappointment is that I found the novel tried to pack a lot of back story into not much space, and there were elements of characters that could have been drawn out or better explained. It meant that I never really felt sympathetic or the weight of the crime. A kidnapped child is horrific, and the likelihood that children will survive kidnapping reduces with every minute they are missing, but I didn’t feel that fear from the novel.
Nevertheless, I was completely absorbed by the novel and if you want a quick, entertaining read The Couple Next Door is it.