Review Room

Book reviews and miscellanous thoughts

Audiobook Review : The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Written By: amodini - May• 17•17

Title : The Couple Next Door
Author : Shari Lapena
Narrators : Kirsten Potter
Genre : Mystery
Publisher : Penguin Audio
Listening Length : 8 hours 40 minutes
Rating : 3.3/5
Narrator Rating : 4/5

Babysitter having bailed last minute, Anne and Marco leave baby daughter Cora at home alone while stepping out for dinner at the neighbor’s house. They take the baby monitor with them and come home to check on her every half an hour. However, when they return home from the party the front door is ajar and Cora is not in her crib. When Detective Rasbach makes an entrance he finds the couple wan, bereft and apparently grief-stricken. He considers them prime suspects in Cora’s kidnapping.

This mystery begins very well, and keeps up the pace and the quality around about halfway. There are a couple of suspects and enough reasons to motivate them to do the deed – financial hardship, class disparities, a mental aberration, headstrong characters out to prove a point etc. In short plenty of red herrings, and juicy characterizations to liven up the proceedings. However a few hours into the book the narration devolves into too much telling and not much showing – we, the readers get handed “knowledge”. The construction of events in the latter half of the book is sloppy, and not very well thought through. The real criminal is easy to guess. The ending is hackneyed.

The characters were unlikeable but that didn’t bother me. But they were also inconsistent and THAT did bother me. Its like the book couldn’t keep its own story straight. I picked up this book after rave reviews, and mentions on bestseller lists, but post-read I have to say it doesn’t deserve the hype.

Narrator Potter doesn’t have the best material to work with, but she does well. I would listen to her again.

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