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The Couple Next Door

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
Paperback
May 30, 2017 | 336 Pages
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  • Paperback $16.00

    May 30, 2017 | 336 Pages

  • Hardcover $26.00

    Aug 23, 2016 | 320 Pages

  • Ebook $11.99

    Aug 23, 2016 | 336 Pages

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Praise

“Meticulously crafted and razor-sharp.  The Couple Next Door lingers long after you turn the final page.” —Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Fool Me Once

“The twists come as fast [as] you can turn the pages.” People

“Provocative and shocking.  One crime, an entire neighborhood of suspects, secrets and lies.  How well do we ever know those around us?  The Couple Next Door will keep you glued the pages in search of the answer.  Even then, you’ll never guess the truth…until it’s too late.” –Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Find Her

“I read this novel at one sitting, absolutely riveted by the storyline.  The suspense was beautifully rendered and unrelenting!” —Sue Grafton, New York Times bestselling author of X

“Real men read women writers–because of books like this. Trust me.” —Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Make Me

“Shari Lapena has written a stunning debut thriller.  Turn on the night lights and lock all your doors and windows.  The Couple Next Door grabs you with each twist and shocks you with every betrayal.” —Linda Fairstein, New York Times bestselling author of Killer Look

“A twisty, utterly riveting tale that will send readers on a wild rollercoaster ride of emotions. Shocking revelations kept me turning the pages like a madwoman.” —Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of Playing with Fire

“Expertly paced and finely crafted, The Couple Next Door is a gripping thriller of the highest order. I couldn’t put it down.”  —A. J. Banner, bestselling author of The Good Neighbor

“Gripped me from the very beginning to the very end!” --Becky Masterman, author of Rage Against The Dying

“Brilliant! This utterly riveting psychological thriller hurtles along at breakneck speed, never giving you the opportunity to catch your breath. Twisty, turny, and unputdownable.” —C. L. Taylor, bestselling  author of The Lie

“Exquisitely torturous tension.” —NPR.org

“Where did that baby go! It’s hard not to read to the end to find out, and the twists waiting there are gratifyingly clever.”USA Today

“The many never-saw-them-coming twists and questionable characters. . . will keep you on the edge of your seat. First-time novelist Lapena’s writing is spare and tense, and it makes The Couple Next Door a compulsive read. The last line is absolutely killer.” –Good Housekeeping

“[A] well-sculpted domestic thriller . . . highly suspenseful . . . Twists are subtly revealed with aplomb, taking the story to increasingly unpredictable levels.” Associated Press

“[A] suspenseful, heart-wrenching debut. . . After numerous twists and turns, Lapena delivers one final, deftly crafted surprise.” Publishers Weekly

“Brisk prose style and character development are almost beside the point in Lapena’s suspense-fiction debut; this is a plot-driven page-turner, and even the most character-focused readers will find it hard to put down.”Booklist 


Author Q&A

1. For all their flaws, it is hard not to initially sympathize with Anne and Marco. A kidnapped child is every parent’s greatest fear and the Contis’ anxiety leaps off the page. What inspired you to write this story? Did your own experience as a parent feed into your writing?

The idea just occurred to me one day—of a couple that gets left in the lurch at the last minute by their baby sitter, and they decide to leave the baby home and go to the party on the other side of the wall, taking the monitor with them and checking on her every half hour.  Of course, when they get home, the baby is gone. My own experience as a nervous parent probably informs the story. My own son went missing at an outdoor festival once when he was very young, and the police found him at an ice cream truck within a few minutes, but not before my mind went to some very dark places.

2. You’ve had great success with the novel—the story is clearly resonating with people. What type of feedback do you get from your readers?

Quite often people tell me about the time they, or someone they know, left their child alone to do something, for just a minute—or sometimes for much longer. Or they tell me about the time they thought about it. Everybody knows of an incident like this. Of course, usually no harm comes of it. But once in a while, something awful happens. Obviously it has struck a nerve.
Other than that, the feedback I get most often is “I couldn’t put it down”, which is very gratifying, because above all, I set out to write a page turner.

3. We assume that if we have an emotionally intimate relationship with someone—spouse, parent, or child—we know them well, yet we all we have our own secrets. Do you believe that you can ever really know someone? How would Anne and Marco’s relationship be different had they been honest with each other?

I don’t think you can ever really totally know someone. Everyone has thoughts they don’t share. But to a certain degree that is entirely appropriate and normal. It’s when it isn’t appropriate and normal that there’s a problem. I certainly believe you can trust someone, and be justified in that trust. But not in the case of characters in a thriller, obviously. If Anne and Marco had been entirely honest with each other, as they should have been if they were real people, then Marco would have told Anne about his financial problems, she would have told him about her own struggles, and they would have come up with some solutions. But then I wouldn’t have had a story.

4. Did you know who took Cora before you began the novel or did you work that out while writing?

No, I didn’t know. All I knew in the beginning was that I wanted everyone to be a suspect. I did know that Anne would have postpartum depression from the outset, but the rest developed as I wrote.

5. Anne struggles with postpartum depression and feels like a failure for not coping well with motherhood. Although this is a very common experience, many women feel ashamed that they are not responding to motherhood the “right” way. Why is this? What expectations does society have for new mothers?

I think society puts mothers and motherhood on a bit of an idealized pedestal, and I don’t think that’s helpful. There should be more honesty, or more information out there on what it’s really like to be home with an infant for the first time. I think part of the problem is that we often don’t have the help of extended families available, and we often don’t have the experience of seeing first-hand what raising babies is like anymore. So to many new mothers, it’s a bit of a shock. And I think there is a lot of pressure on parents to be perfect, and do everything right, and also, many parents see their children’s success or failure as a direct reflection of their own efforts. They think if they just try harder and if they’re better parents, their kids will “turn out” better. I’m all for good parenting, but the older I get the more I realize that people are who they are. You can only hope to guide them, really.

6. Without giving away too much, why did you choose to end the novel the way that you did?

That is a hard question to answer without a spoiler! But I wanted there to be a bit of ambiguity about the ending because life is like that. There are so seldom clear answers.

7. Which books are currently on your bedside table? Are there any suspense novels that you would recommend to your readers while they wait for your next book?

Right now, I’ve got new books by Liane Moriarty, Ruth Ware, and Gilly Macmillan on my to-be-read pile. Books I’ve read recently that I’d really recommend, in no particular order, are The Child, by Fiona Barton, Gone Without a Trace, by Mary Torjussen, Into the Water, by Paula Hawkins, Fierce Kingdom, by Gin Phillips, and What Alice Knew by T. A. Cotterell. These were all stand out reads.

8. Do you have plans for another novel about Anne and Marco? If not, what are you currently working on?

I have no plans for another book on Anne and Marco. I have just finished my next book, A Stranger in the House, which is also a domestic suspense. I hope readers find it just as twisty and compelling as The Couple Next Door!

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