New parents, Anne and Marco Conti, attend a dinner party at the neighbour's house. Anne nervously watches the clock. She's not having a great time. Her husband is shamelessly flirting with with their host Cynthia, while their baby sleeps in her crib next door. Even though their babysitter cancelled, they decided to go to the party anyway. It would be rude to cancel. Instead, they take their baby monitor with them and check Cora every half hour.
When they finally return home for the night, they find Cora gone. Frantically, they call the police, but instead of finding help, they find themselves under suspicion.
Detective Rasbach knows how these things go. They won't find the baby alive, and more than likely the parents are her killer. All he has to do is wait. Before long he starts to unravel the Conti's secrets: their family, personal, and business secrets.
Between the media attention, and the detective's questioning, the Conti's perfect facade starts to crack. There are secrets and lies they've been keeping from each other for years.
The Couple Next Door is a crime thriller, but the mystery of who took Baby Cora is solved about halfway through. At this point, things become much more complicated. The question then becomes: is Cora still alive?
Although I thought The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena was an entertaining read, it requires some suspension of disbelief. The characters do some dumbfoundingly ridiculous things. At one point, I said aloud, "What a dumbass!" Like, come on!
The writing was also somewhat of an issue for me. It felt robotic. I had a hard time feeling any sympathy for anyone in this book. When I did, it was fleeting.
Still, there were enough twists and turns to keep me interested. Just when you think things are over, well, hold onto your butt, because that ending... well, that's an ending!
About the Audio: Kirsten Potter narrates The Couple Next Door. I don't think I've listened to her before. I never really warmed up to her, but that might have been a result of the writing.
Thanks to Penguin Audiobooks for the review copy, via Volumes. All opinions are my own.