The Couple Next Door- Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door had been on my reading list for ages. I had seen all over social media that it was one of the best books people had read, and I was desperate to give it a try. As ever, life got in the way and I only ended up reading it more than a year (nearly two?) after it was released. I anticipated that it would be worth the wait, but I was, unfortunately, wholly disappointed.

I was entirely on board with the concept behind the narrative, but I just wasn’t engaged by it. I think it had potential, but I just don’t think it was convincing enough and, if I’m honest, I found all characters irritating before anything else. This is mostly down to their lack of depth and the fact that everything felt very two-dimensional. Of course, I understand that in such a limited time frame it would be difficult to build character depth, but I don’t think any valuable insight came through in the characters’ behaviour or– as I would have expected– in their conversations with the police. This meant that I just wasn’t invested in how the story panned out for them, even though I wanted to be.

While I can’t pretend that I had guessed exactly how the narrative would unravel, I never believed any of the twists along the way, and not in the same what that one suspects a red herring. In fact, even when the reality was revealed, it still felt a little too decided and organised to be realistic. Now, I know that a story doesn’t have to be realistic to be noteworthy or enjoyable, but The Couple Next Door felt really mediocre at best.

I can’t quite put my finger on what made this book such a disappointment, but it just didn’t tick the boxes that I had hoped so badly it would. Just like The Girl On The TrainI can’t quite get on board with the hype surrounding this book. I am intrigued by a number of Lapena’s other titles, so here’s hoping they’re a little more satisfying.