The Couple Next Door By Lapena Shari
LaPena sets the scene and gets the action quickly: Anne and Marco Conti have accepted an invitation from their neighbors Cynthia and Graham, leaving their 6-month-old, Cora, asleep. Anne clutches a baby monitor as if it's a lifeline. "She wonders what the other mothers in her moms' group would think if she ever told them. We left our six-month-old baby home alone and went to a party next door. She imagines all their jaws dropping in shock, the uncomfortable silence."
The Couple Next Door by Lapena Shari
What's that, you said? Parents who love their little girls wouldn't leave her alone in the house while they spend time swilling wine with "the couple next door"? It may not be front-page news, but LaPena does make you understand exactly how and why parents might make that decision: They want to relax and feel like grown-ups again. Anne has experienced postpartum depression and is exhausted from breast-feeding. And so forth.
She glances at the baby monitor sitting at the end of the table, its small red light glowing like the tip of a cigarette. The video screen is smashed-she'd dropped it a couple of days ago and Marco hadn't gotten around to replacing it yet-but the audio is still working. Suddenly she has doubts, feels the wrongness of it all. Who goes to a dinner party next door and leaves her baby alone in the house? What kind of mother does such a thing? She feels the familiar agony set in-she is not a good mother.
So what if the sitter canceled? They should have brought Cora with them, put her in her portable playpen. But Cynthia had said no children. It was to be an adult evening, for Graham's birthday. Which is another reason Anne has come to dislike Cynthia, who was once a good friend-Cynthia is not baby-friendly. Who says that a six-month-old baby isn't welcome at a dinner party? How had Anne ever let Marco persuade her that it was okay? It was irresponsible. She wonders what the other mothers in her moms' group would think if she ever told them. We left our six-month-old baby home alone and went to a party next door. She imagines all their jaws dropping in shock, the uncomfortable silence. But she will never tell them. She'd be shunned.
All night long she's been trying to decide whether that last comment was mean-spirited or self-interested or whether he was simply trying to help. Finally she'd given in. Marco persuaded her that with the monitor on next door they could hear the baby anytime she stirred or woke. They would check on her every half hour. Nothing bad would happen.
While attending a small dinner party next door, the Conti's baby disappears into the hot summer night. What follows is a delicious mix of family secrets, unreliable narrators, and a hardened detective who's determined to find the truth--and the baby, fingers crossed. Another of those "oops, I read it in one night" books, The Couple Next Door's pacing is on point and exquisitely satisfying. A perfect summer read! - Rachel
Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all--a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.
You never know what's happening on the other side of the wall. Your neighbour told you that she didn't want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn't stand her crying. Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You'll have the baby monitor and you'll take it in turns to go back every half hour. Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She's gone. You've never had to call the police before. But now they're in your home, and who knows what they'll find there. What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit? "How well do we ever know those around us?
While author Shari Lapena's books have yet to be adapted, that could soon be set to change. The Canadian author 2016 novel The Couple Next Door saw parents Anne and Marco decide to leave their baby daughter Cora alone while they head next door for a dinner party with their neighbors. Despite taking a baby monitor and checking on Cora throughout the night, when they return home the baby is gone under mysterious circumstances.
I loved reading The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. It was a quick read and a definite page-turner! This murder mystery is about a couple who attended a dinner party next door and while they were away their infant daughter was kidnapped. There are two "couples next door" in this book - the couple who left their infant daughter at home alone while they attended a dinner party and the couple who hosted the dinner party and asked that the other couple not bring their baby, even though their babysitter cancelled at the last minute.
The parents chose to leave the baby at home alone while they attended the party. It was just the two couples, they were just next door, they had their baby monitor with them, and they alternated every 30 minutes on who would go next door and check on the baby in person. We can argue that they made a number of poor choices, I'm not a parent but I've read Big Little Lies and I've heard from my friends how parents like to argue best parenting practices. Let's not get into that.
Anne and Marco decide to go to their neighbors' party and leave their baby child, Cora, at home, alone, after her babysitter canceled. They decided they will check on her every half an hour. They check as planned, and when they finally return home, they find the front door open and their baby kidnapped. Detective Rasbach gets the case and at first, suspects the parents. He asks a lot of personal questions and tries to get any clue he can. Some clues are gathered: a hybrid car was driving slowly, headlights off, towards the Contis' backyard at 12:35 am, the motion detector is not working, and Anne is on medication from postpartum depression. Rasbach suspects the parents even more, especially that he hasn't found any footprints other than Marco's and Anne's in the house. As they look for further clues, it looks like they aren't going anywhere, even when they offered money to anyone who has information. They decide to publicize it and offer three million dollars to the kidnappers if they bring Cora.After a couple of days, they receive a letter with Cora's onesie asking for a five million dollar ransom. Anne's parents offer the money to Anne, and Marco decides to go alone without letting the police know. When he arrives, he is hit on the back of his head and goes unconscious. He wakes up to find his money stolen and his baby not back. Marco feels guilty that he has just lost five million dollars and he hasn't returned his baby. Anne is devastated and is slowly going through a mental breakdown. She is constantly blaming herself, Marco, and Cynthia, and especially blames herself. They decide to tell Rasbach about everything. Although he feels annoyed, he understands that the family might have been threatened.It is later known in Marco's point of view in the story that he was the kidnapper, or he was a part of it, to get money from Anne's parents to revive his business. He met an accomplice called Bruce Neeland in a bar one night. He trusted him and told him his problems, and one day Bruce suggested this whole kidnapping story after Richard denied helping Marco. Marco kept his business issues away from Anne the whole time. Their plan was to give Cora to Bruce at midnight when they were at the party and it was Marco's turn to check on Cora. He would come from the garage and Marco would disable the motion detector, enable it again, and open the front door slightly to mislead the officers. Unfortunately, Marco forgot to disable the detector, which turned things around. Later, while Marco was checking the newspaper, he finds Bruce, who is actually called Derek, murdered brutally in his cabin. Marco freezes but then decides to identify him as someone he has seen before somewhere to have the police check his story. Meanwhile, Anne discovers a secret phone Marco owns and hides in the AC, and she hypothesizes that he has it to have an affair with Cynthia. Also, meanwhile, Cynthia has a record on her backyard camera of Marco kidnapping his daughter at 12:35 am and decides to blackmail Marco.Now, Marco is in a major dilemma and he doesn't know what to do. While he was at work, Anne decides to go to Cynthia and confront her about their alleged affairs. Cynthia then shows her the video, and Anne runs back home. When Marco gets back, he finds Anne with a knife, scared to death from her own husband. She now knows what he is capable of. She now knows that her husband is a criminal. Marco then admits everything to Anne. She calms down and understands that Marco is a victim himself of a bigger act of stealing money. He tells her about her father's call to him and that he claims that the kidnappers have contacted him to ask for more money. Marco tells Anne about his suspicions on her father. She tells Marco that she recognized Derek as a friend of her father; this even makes more sense to Marco.Anne stays at her parents' house for a couple of days and one day, she wakes up to find her father carrying a gym bag and running to the woods. She follows him and when she arrives, he has Cora. The police suddenly come and congratulate the couple for the return of their baby. And then, they Richard for murder of Derek and for being the mastermind behind the whole kidnapping. He used Marco and his deep financial issue as a bait for him to kidnap his own daughter.At night, Anne goes to Cynthia and tells her that blackmailing Marco is useless now, and she knows that her father and Cynthia have been having a secret affair, so obviously Cynthia was a part of this. Cynthia puts Anne to her nerves, and suddenly, Anne goes to her state of unknown reality, and she kills Cynthia without being aware of it. When Marco asks her what happened, she tells him that she doesn't remember anything. 041b061a72