THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR by Shari Lapena

THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A questionable decision leaves a couple in a situation no parent wants to face: it’s the middle of the night and their baby is gone.

Anne and Marco Conti seem like the perfect upstate New York family. He runs a successful software development company while she stays home with 6-month-old Cora; maybe soon she’ll go back to work at the art gallery she loved. Yet looks are deceiving: his company is floundering, and she’s struggling with postpartum depression. A nice night out at a neighbor’s birthday party might be just the thing everyone needs. But when the babysitter cancels, Anne and Marco decide to leave Cora alone, taking the baby monitor with them and checking on her every half hour. This ends predictably badly. When they return, drunk, after 1:00 a.m., Cora is gone. What ensues is a paint-by-numbers police investigation, led by the personality-free Detective Rasbach, who seems to cycle through potential theories as to Cora’s whereabouts the same way Lapena must have in her early plotting stages, except it all ended up on the page. When it’s clear, or at least partially clear, what happened to the child, any remaining tension hisses out like a pricked balloon. Anne’s wealthy mother and stepfather seem a too-obvious plot device, and they are, while her issues with the very real problem of postpartum depression are merely glossed over or trotted out during faux-fiery monologues.

It’s difficult to drum up sympathy for this missing child, swaddled as she is in such a dull and harmless plot.

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-7352-2108-6
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2016




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