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This book was awful. The story was so predictable and characters were only superficially developed. The plot was clichÃ© and content felt sprinkled in just to make this book seem risquÃ©. The description of the book was the best part. That last line killed me. I could just hear the cheesy "DUN DUN DUN" they would use in the lifetime movie version.
The most dangerous person in the world could be sleeping in the bed next to you for years and you'd never know their secrets until your "perfect" world decides to collapse one day. That, friends, is the real danger.
Once we discover that Richard is the mastermind behind Cora's abduction, Marco's part in giving her to Derek Honig isn't a big deal. Marco's part in his daughter's abduction quickly becomes unimportant considering the great lengths Richard went to ensure he'd receive millions of Alice's money and frame Marco, and slip away with Cynthia unnoticed. If Detective Rasbach hadn't tapped Richard's phone lines and found the private detective's GPS tracking device on Richard's car, or believed Marco's side of the story, Richard may have gotten away with it. But he didn't. HA!
Another real danger is Anne's unknown psychological disorder. I write "unknown" because even though the blackouts and violent rampages with memory loss is mentioned in the story by Alice, the disorder has essentially gone undiagnosed and no one, including the reader, knows anything about the disorder. Anne's disorder is so significant that it deserves its own book or a lengthy section in a second book, if there is one. It would've been interesting to know more about her disorder and how/if it correlates to postpartum depression.
I loved this book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and look forward to another book from this author, whether or not its related to The Couple Next Door!
I knew that bastard was involved from the get go! Richard's maliciousness towards Marco was outrageous, considering how much Richard adored Anne and her happiness. Maybe his obsession with Anne's happiness is why Richard and Alice allowed Anne and Marco to marry in the first place. The real question here is, what triggered Richard's animosity???? I would've liked to have received more information on that part of the story.
This was a great book! Seems like there might be a second book. Does anyone know?
The couple next-door was a very fast read for me. I was reading that one and another book, and it still took me about three days to read. I feel like during every chapter, the reader uncovered more secrets from the characters. And it was interesting watching the plan unfold. I did not see the ending coming at all. There were plenty of twists, expected and otherwise. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I got this book as an addition to my BOTM and read after reading Marlena and Exit West. Those two books were more thought-provoking, emotional reads, and so The Couple Next Door was a nice break from that kind of book. It was a refreshing and quick read. From the first page I was hooked and read this page-turner within just a few days ( I work full-time, so that is quick for me.) The story was really well written, suspenseful and just so entertaining. It wasn't the absolute best book I've ever read, but it didn't bore me or leave me feeling like I had wasted my time. I'm a sucker for a good, quick mystery/thriller, and this did not disappoint.
While this book was a quick read, I just felt like the author put every possible plot twist and turn into the book. I didn't like how some of the plot points had no reason for being and didn't tie back into anything at all. For example the couple next door and their "freaky" tendencies,,, ok great, and then that was never revisited or had any reason to be in there. Like i said, it was still a quick read I just felt like I was constantly saying, "oh come on" as I read. Not as advanced as other thriller/murder mysteries i've read recently.
I felt very engaged while reading this book, the plot was interesting, somewhat predictable - but I felt the authors writing pulled me in and I wanted to figure who was behind this. Although I did enjoy this book for the most part, I was annoyed with how the characters developed. It seemed as if pieces were missing, the parents and the couple next door could have used more depth. And spoiler alert. I hated the ending, too much, the author seemed to just give up, just threw in the towel and decided hey, I'm just going to make her a murderer now too...
So the moment I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. I literally was stressing out the whole entire time trying to figure out who did what. I liked the book it was intriguing, mysterious and it was a fast read. If you like mystery this is your book. Although my only complaint was that the ending could have been better.
This was my first BoTM pick. I flew through this book. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop - I had to know what happened! It was nice to pick up a book that was such a quick and enjoyable read.
I wasn't overly impressed. Being a mom the book caught my attention right away but there should have been some build up so we knew who the characters were. I felt like you just jumped into the middle of the book. There was a point were the plot twist got to be too much and I didn't know where it was all going. The cliff hanger ending made me kind of mad. If the writer was setting it up for another book he should have put more work into developing the characters. You want your readers to fall in love with the characters especially the detective because he will be your main point to grow from and I feel like he was very under developed. If there is a book to follow up on this one I think I would skip it... I was more bothered by the proof reading errors that should have been caught before this book went to print. I wanted to read it with a red pen in hand so I could send it to the publisher and let them know they missed some stuff... All in all it was an ok book...
I enjoyed this book. I am new to BOTM and like the variety of books that they provide to their audience/readers. I was surprised to read negative comments on this book. I took it as a fun, quick and perfect summer read.
The book got really interesting to me when they talked about the hidden camera that Cynthia and Graham had - and it never developed past that. It was like I almost wanted a bit of history on them. I wanted to know why Graham was only in the beginning and that was it.
I also wished they gave a bit more background on Anne's past mental state. But overall, the book was fun to read. There were points where I found my self unable to put it down, and there were some points I was eager to just see what was going to happen.
I have mixed feelings about this book. I think it had great potential, but I feel it lacked overall. There were too many twists and turns that werenâ€™t fully developed. Much like the characters. Typically we are introduced to characters in the beginning and start learning who they are. I think it was over halfway through the book before we realized Anne had a serious mental health issue, and personally I feel like that was thrown in there to tie up a plot hole. The detectiveâ€™s perspective drove me nuts. He was very poorly developed. He came off as a hard ass but we never really learned why he came off that way. A hardened cop with no trust left in humanity â€“ WHY?? If you are going to have a character in the story and have him be one of the main ones, let us get to know them! And what was with that ending?! There were way too many things going on in this book. I feel if the author had planned it out better, or even lengthened to book to give time to develop some of the plot twist a little more it would have been much more enjoyable. This was my first book from BOTM. I am a little disappointed at the quality of the writing but am going to give it another shot and hope that this next months books are better quality.
This book was a fast read...because I just wanted the torture to end. I know I'm in the minority, but this book SUCKED!!! There is next to no character development whatsoever. The plot is all over the place, and though some liked the twists and turns, I felt it was insanely disorganized and just thrown together here and there to make it all come together at the end. I do not feel this writer is very talented and would never consider reading another of her novels. Her writing style, to me, just felt like someone telling me: so this happened, and this happened, and then this happened...and so on and so forth. No real skill or effort to draw the reader deep into the story or fall in love with the characters, or hell even be able to relate to them or sympathize with them. The story and the sequence of events is just so illogical and impractical. It was annoying how you would kinda know what some of the characters were thinking, but then they changed there mind and revealed that's not what they thought all along. Example: the detective. All along the writer indicates that he thinks it's the parents and then zooms in on the husband. And then, in the last 20-30 pages he just miraculously reveals he's suspected the step father all along? Really? At any given point in time, I wanted to slap all of these characters and tell them to get their shit together. Especially Anne. I don't even know how many times I thought "your child is missing and you're still focusing this much on a possible affair your husband may be having?" Really? It became somewhat apparent by the thrown together end why Anne was focusing on that so much, but just made the story seem even more outlandish to me until the neighbors role was revealed at the end. Did anyone else ever wonder where the husband's family was in all of this? They mention that they're close and stuff at the beginning, but they never show up or contact them when their kid goes missing? Pretty unlikely and a huge gap in a kidnapping plot. The only reason I finished this book was because I wanted to know if Cora was alive. That's it. The only thing I semi liked about this book was the wife killing the neighbor in a fugue state at the end. That's it. But then I still hate it because it's been done before, the black outs were another part of the story randomly thrown in somewhere around the middle to pull things together, and I feel a story about her blackouts would probably have been a better one to tell altogether than the all over the place kidnapping. Throughly disappointed. This was my first month with BOTM. Luckily, I also purchased All This Cease To Appear at the same time and read that first. Much better story. Maybe not as intense with plot twists, but it actually has depth and substance to it. Give that one a try instead of this if you can.
The Couple Next Door is a basic 'who-done-it?' novel. This low-tide story is easy to digest, provides enough intrigue to move the reader to finish, and points to unanswered questions about what comes next for the characters.
For an intermediate to advanced reader I submit that this story will land one of two ways upon completion:
I lean toward the second analysis. I hadn't read a non-fiction book in quite a while so it was refreshing in that way. I was able to paint the picture through the telling. And while The Couple Next Door wasn't a story I held my breath for, or ravenously turned pages over, that isn't what I needed it to be.
We need a variety of intensity to value the masterpiece that is the world of literature. Every book shouldn't keep us on our toes just as every person we meet shouldn't become our best friend.
The Couple Next Door was somewhere in between. I look forward to seeing how Shari LapeÃ±a develops and grows in her craft.
Although I have considered "The Couple Next Door" as a personal favorite (I am a junkie for suspense novels), I feel as though this book had a rather shitty ending. I was almost... ALMOST satisfied with the ending of this novel. I understand that is significantly hard to come by. I was extremely content with what I thought would be the ending. However, I feel as if a bit more thought could have been put into it. Suspense novels always seem to leave me with a shitty ending. It's almost as if they leave you with information or a statement that is baffling. Something that leaves you craving more. Unfortunately, this spectacular novel has to compare with most others I have read. We all know that there is not going to be a sequel to this novel... if there were, it would be extremely amateur for Lapena. This is the reason I feel as though Chapter 37 alone, could have. even disregarded. At first, I was over-the-top excited about Anne heading over to the Stilwell's to uncover the truth. Keep in mind that the author had many options as far as the ending of this novel goes. Unfortunately, she chose to end it with another crime that none of us will ever uncover. Although this is all fiction, I am quite disappointed with the question and wonder this novel has left me with. I feel as though we simply could have left it as a happy ending; Cynthia being found out and all. But they always have to leave us with more uncertainty. In this sitauation, that uncertainty is more than unnecessary. Keep in mind that I am not a novelist nor author. I am going off of my own rational opinions and I hope that Lapena keeps this next thought in mind: You almost had it. You almost exceeded my expectations for this novel. However, the ending has simply left me feeling the same drag I feel after every suspense novel... Over-doing it. Overall, "The Couple Next Door" was absolutely enchanting and I could not put the book down. I simply felt the familiar feeling of the endings I always come across which neutrally leaves me with "ugh". I truly hope that this statement urges authors to not do the same. It's almost a waste to the art of writing and creativity.
Even through the few irks I felt while reading this book, one must agree it's a wild ride, and one that captures you from beginning to end.. at least for me! I do agree with opinions in discussion below but I always appreciate and LOVE to find books that envelop me, intrigue me, and make me want to read them. So thanks BOTM and Author Shari for this. All At Sea was actually my choice for September and I picked up The Couple Next Door at Barnes and am happy to read thoughts for both here.
Overall the book was good. It wasn't great but it wasn't bad. I feel like it was easily predictable because by the fist few chapters I immediately knew who took Cora out of the home. I feel like the author did her best to add twists and turns to keep you interested but I felt the details and the desire to figure out those twists and turns were lacking. I wish the author would have spent more time weaving her web so I could be more involved. It was a little lack luster as I was expecting something a little more sinister and haunting. The ending was by far the worst part of the book for me. I don't even know why it was included, unless, perhaps she hopes to make another book out of it.
I felt the story was extremely underdeveloped. There was no character development at all. It did not even focus on the important things. The ending was the worst of all. The story just dragged on. I forces myself to finish. I agree that it was a quick read. I finished it in 3 hours or so, but I definitely will not be reading it again. I was not pleased overall. The writing was just not there.
I was left with some unanswered questions about Cynthia. Did she know about the kid napping from the beginning? Was it a coincidence that she tried to seduce Marco or was that really for her husbandâ€™s enjoyment? She seemed surprised when she saw Marco on the tape but then again she was just trying to get more money out of him. I think that more time should have been spent on her rather just the last few chapters finally showing her true colors.
Let me start off by saying that I did enjoy this book overall. It was a wild ride from the very beginning. The amount of shocking revelations blew my mind; there is definitely no getting bored reading this book! Towards the end, however, it got a little outlandish and..well, predictable. It seemed too easy for me that Anne just "happened" to see her father walking off into the woods, on the same night that her and her husband had accused him of being in on the plot to kidnap her daughter. All of the dialogue from that moment on seemed very forced to me. The story had been flowing really organically up until that point, for the most part, but the dialogue and characters from that point until the end of the book seemed really forced. Also, the ending! Ugh! How more cliche can you get?! Anne's illness was written in a way that made it seem like the author needed a loophole to kind of pull more attention to her. There wasn't really much hinting at the illness until about halfway through the book, and at that point I just got the feeling that it was hastily thrown in. So the wife just so happens to have temporary amnesia and has a history of violence when losing time..how convenient! I feel that the author should have brought more attention to the illness earlier on and made it a bigger piece of the overall storyline than she did. It wouldn't have made it seem like she was using it as a loophole that way. The worst part of the book to me was the very end. I actually cringed reading the last 2 pages. The cliches! That said, overall I give the book about a 3.5 out of 5 stars, because the author did such a good job with all the twists and turns while still making sure the storyline didn't get too jumbled to keep up with.
For this being my first book with BOTM, I was pleasantly surprised! I really did enjoy all the ups/downs of this book. I very rarely audibly gasp when reading a book (mostly in my mind!) and this book forced a few "Oh my goodnesses!" unprompted by me when reading. I was also a little thrown off by the ending though, however.
Did anyone think that Anne's father just had the baby outside the entire time? When he retrieved her that final time-where had she been? How long was she gone from the cabin? Was she ever there?
I thought the book was great & I love when books are very character trait heavy (how can we enjoy a book filled with such terrible people?)
Looking forward to next month's read!
I love a good thrilling book but for some reason this felt like it was drug out longer than it should have been. It also probably didn't help that I had just finished "The Girl on the Train". Two very similar story lines. I would have liked to have known more about who was helping with the kidnapping as well as the couple next door. After all, the book is named after them.
Did anyone want to learn more about this couple? I feel like bits and pieces of some of their lives were shared, but I wanted to learn more about them.
Do you think Cynthia knew about the kidnapping without seeing the tape since she was having an affair with Anne's father?
This was my first book that I read as part of the Book of the Month club. Overall I am happy I joined but this wasn't the best book I have ever read.
In the beginning I was in love with it. The set up of the dinner party and the beginning of the investigation were written really well. I was in love all the way up until you find out who kidnapped the baby (no spoilers here :) ). After this point in the book for me it all started to go down hill, not because I didn't like who the author choose to write into that part but because of the pace that the rest of the book took.
In the beginning it was slow going and the author really took time to tell us a background story that kept me, and many others, happily reading the find out what happened next. After that breaking point though I feel as though the book started to feel rushed, the conversations between characters changed from normal investigation / interview questions to seeming very scripted. Especially in the conversations between Richard and Marco. My other issue was how fast the second half of the book moved. This book could've been longer with more content and more explanation in the second half and I would've been a lot happier.
Overall the book was okay, I would give it 3 1/2 stars. I did pass it along to a co-worker to read so we will see what she thinks of it.
I enjoyed the book with all it's twists and turns. The only thing that really threw me was the ending. But despite the ending I still loved the book. Every character had major flaws. I was really thrown when Anne admitted to slapping her baby. Wow. That is really out there.
This was my first book as a Book of the Month member and I have to admit, I was pretty disappointed with it. I understand some of this is my fault and I will have to choose more wisely next time, but this book was filled with so many literary 101s that I was frankly a bit bored. I expected more out of an author that used to be an English teacher (even if it was her debut novel). This was like a dumbed down version of Girl on the Train, which was a dumbed down version of Gone Girl. Everyone is trying to copy that fire again instead of striving for something more unique.
For me, the biggest issue was that there was a lot of unnecessary repetition throughout the book- there was a lot of 'let's have a conversation between two characters and then have that exact same conversation with one of those characters and another character AND THEN have it again with two more'. We're not idiots- we get it. It felt like it was becoming a space filler at a certain point just to make the book longer.
I also don't like books (or movies or TV shows) that use dissociative identity disorders as an explanation for a character's behavior. It's an easy scapegoat and a tired cliche at this point and about as lazy as 'it was all a dream' type of writing. I also didn't really care about any of these characters and I think a good writer, regardless of genre, does a better job at really connecting you to them and making you invested in knowing more about them. The ending was perhaps the best part- where the author actually ventured away from stereotypical guidelines and left us without a perfect ending.
In the end, I would probably never read anything by this author again, nor would I really recommend this to anyone. But that's my opinion. To each their own.
So I have noticed two things in reading the comments shared about this book.
First, many people seem to not like the very end. I personally loved it. It makes for a good think on whether she really didn't remember or if she knew she could say that and be believed. Are there others out there that liked it too?
Second, some people were saying that the title was misleading/didn't fit because it didn't focus overly much on Cynthia/Graham. I saw the title as a reflection of what the whole book drove home - you don't really know anyone the way you think you might. You don't know what "the couple next door" to you right now is capable of or what they are going through or what secrets they hold. This book showed that this applies to immediate family, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, even YOURSELF sometimes, as Anne unfortunately discovered. Seeing it like this can be dark - don't trust anyone because you never know...or it can be healthy - don't assume you know what someone is going through/dealing with and be too quick to jump to conclusions/judge, because we all have secrets and things we deal with in life.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. The beginning really hooked me in learning the dynamics of the couples and trying to predict the end. I immediately was thinking about all the press about Madeleine McCann who disappeared years ago when her parents left her in a hotel room while they enjoyed dinner with friends. So, in the beginning I was wondering if there was going to be some interesting twist related to that, but then it became clear that it was the husband who was involved which is highly predictable. I've seen it done in numerous books where there is the parent who is financially distressed and stages a fake kidnapping (i.e. man on fire). I felt like there were so many little aspects where it seemed like the author was about to go in a very interesting direction and then it wasn't fully explored or it just stopped..
The final ending was a twist that I didn't see and while I applaud it for being interesting and you wonder what next? I also felt a little sad for the family, even though highly dysfunctional, that once it seemed like things would work out for the core characters that then that happened.
In the end, it kept me reading as I tried to read it as quick as I could to see how it would resolve itself.
From the beginning I wasn't too sure where this story was going. Learning a bit about each character made me suspicious and thinking for moment that each person had something to do with Cora's kidnapping. I love the twist at the end but at the same time I felt like I was left hanging. Too much happend at once and left me wanting more.
The book was a great read, it kept me on my toes from beginning. Both Anne and Marco shouldn't be together, its not a healthy relationship. To be completely honest I am not 100% sure Anne had nothing to do with the disappearance of Cora. For crying out loud the women don't remember half the things she does. I felt no empathy for her character especially since her parents help her out way too much and are constantly involved in her life.
From the beginning, this book had me hooked. I read it in just a few days. I thought it was well-written and I loved that the author let the characters tell their own stories throughout the book. The only thing that threw me off was toward the middle where everyone was making their own hypotheses on what happened to Cora because I felt like I already knew how it would end (I was wrong). Great book though!
Generally I liked the book, but I felt like towards the end the author realized that she had a lot of plots to close and she just bunched some conclusions into a few pages. I thought the story was still pretty good, but the end was lackluster.
Who did you first suspect committed the crime as you started the novel? How did your initial theories change as you continued to read?
Most of the characters in The Couple Next Door are horrible people. Do you feel bad for Anne at all? What do you think becomes of Anne?
Do you have any â€œcouple next doorâ€-type horror stories of bad neighbors?
I wanted so bad to love this book. I felt like it really had potential and it really did have some suspense. However, I did not find myself caring about the characters at all. The character development was very poor. I feel like with better character development I would feel differently about this book. This ending also seemed very awkward. It appeared to just be thrown in there at the last minute without any thought put into it.
I do not hate it but I do wish I would have chosen a different book.
I really enjoyed it especially the fact that as a reader you knew info that some characters did not know. It was interesting to see the reaction to it. The story jumped right into the action so there wasn't as much connection to the characters. I did not have much sympathy. I found the ending hurt the story more than benefited. I will give it to her for keeping suspense and the reader guessing. It would be a good story to make for a second book but more focued on the characters than events.
Even though this is a very cliched story of money making people crazy, especially your loved ones, I did enjoy it. It was a quick read, mainly because I wanted to see who was behind it all. It was fun playing detective with all the information provided. Yes the characters did lack some growth but they all grew some in a certain way, especially Marco and Anne. Again, it wasn't much development but there was some. The ending left me a little disappointed, while the main questions received some closure there was still so many unanswered questions. Open endings are torture!
I finished this book in two days- at first because I was hooked on the tension and suspense that Lapena built up and then because I was skimming to get to the end. It was dull; the characters were underdeveloped and the plot surface level. The twist ending that gets thrown in out of nowhere (with no context) at the end feels like a last ditch recovery effort.