Time for a book review. I feel like I haven’t done a review in a while. I’ll try to keep this spoiler free.
In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A domestic thriller packed full of secrets, and a twisty story that never stops—from the bestselling author of The Couple Next Door
He looks at her, concerned. “How do you feel?” She wants to say, Terrified. Instead, she says, with a faint smile, “Glad to be home.”
Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.
There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.
The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.
Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions.
Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.
I’ll start by saying that I haven’t read the previous book by Shari Lapena, so I can’t say anything about it, though I’ve heard good reviews. I have also heard a fair share of good reviews for this one and, in a way, I can see why, but I just can’t join in that positivity.
Perhaps I’ve read too many books in this genre and that tainted my enjoyment of this one. I can’t say it’s a bad book, but I can’t say that I enjoyed reading it either. The formula for this book has been done to death, which makes it feel predictable and even boring at times. Lapena does a good job of making the character mysterious enough to say they’re interesting, however the story is so typical of any crime book/movie/tv show, that even that doesn’t really matter. A perfect wife who had an accident in suspicious circumstances and now can’t remember anything about what happened, a best friend who is crazy manipulative and has secret ulterior motives for her actions, a husband who is the helpless victim of the events happening around him, an investigation that goes in all the obvious directions.
The only reason why I didn’t quit reading this book is that is not a long read and the chapters are short and pretty well paced. I think the book actually benefits from this format, otherwise it would have been a painful read, at least for me. However, there were so many points at which I was hoping to be surprised by an unexpected twist, so many opportunities to make the story go to new, more interesting places, and every time I hoped for a surprise twist, I was disappointed. The twists were underwhelming and unoriginal. I really felt like I had read this exact story many times before and I knew exactly what was coming. Lapena really missed some chances to explore new elements. Given the great reviews I’ve seen about her debut novel, I can’t help but wonder if this is her writing style and it just didn’t work for this story in particular. Like I said at the start, I can’t say this is a bad book, it’s a pretty good fit for the genre and if you haven’t read anything similar, then you will definitely enjoy it, but it’s definitely nothing new.
I’d recommend this to any hardcore fans of the genre, but beware you won’t find anything in this book that you haven’t already read or seen somewhere else. If you’re new to the genre or the description sounds like something new and exciting for you, by all means give it a go, chances are you’ll enjoy it a lot!