Review: The Couple Next Door

The Couple Next Door
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ve read a lot of terrible books in my day, and this is one of the better ones. My wife listened to the audio version, and this is how she described it: “The woman reading it sounded like every word coming out of her mouth was a curse word.”

We’ve got multiple points of view, which is fine, and lots of introspection, which is fine too. But these individuals characters, thinking to themselves, hide things from us, the reader, until it’s convenient to add a little twist to the plot. That, in my opinion, is not fine. I’m okay if it’s a book about people dealing with deep, hidden emotions, struggling to reconcile with some terrible truth or deep trauma in their pasts… but the shenanigans that were pulled literally hours before the events of the novel even began? No. That’s just sneaky.

And then there’s the simple inconsistency between what people say they want, and what they do. I’m being vague because I don’t want to give it away. My point is: not believable. Not for a second. I guess that’s the problem with these heavily plotted novels where all of the plot happens before the book begins. All we have left is characters mooning about “reacting.”

All of it narrated in a terse prose, which, I’ll allow, was at least tight, and reads very quickly. Like I said, a pretty well crafted novel for how awful it was.

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