The Couple Next Door: A Novel by Shari Lapena – #Audiobook Review – #psychologicalthrillers

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

(Amazon) Editors Pick 

Book Blurb:

An instant New York Times best seller

“I read this novel at one sitting, absolutely riveted by the storyline. The suspense was beautifully rendered and unrelenting!” (Sue Grafton, New York Times best-selling author of X)

It all started at a dinner party…

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors – a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives….

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 lands on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story. Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. 

Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years. What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family – a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

My Review:

Of course I’d heard of this author for some time but didn’t have an opportunity for a book. This time I saw an audiobook copy for this one, released in 2016. Mercy!

The Couple Next Door by Shari LapenaBeing an older book and armed with the blurb, this gripping tale doesn’t need a lot of introduction. A young couple with a new baby backed by rich parents (hers), they have the home, a business, and the appearance of “having it all.”

Maybe.

Behind closed doors, however, is a young husband worried about his business, a new mom who is having difficulty coping with a fussy infant, and parents with attitude. It is the tangled story of couples keeping secrets from each other, the new mom feeling unattractive, her husband neglected and attracted to Cynthia next door. It is during Cynthia’s dinner party that Anne and Marco’s baby is abducted. Marco had assured her that in the absence of the babysitter, a last-minute cancellation, they could use the baby monitor and check in on her every half hour. After all, they were only next door.

Anne is a fragile personality suffering postpartum depression. Marco wanted a few more drinks, time to flirt with Cynthia, and it was late when they returned home to find Cora missing from her crib.

Here is a case for unreliable narrator. The storyline spins a lot of effort justifying leaving the baby, Anne is crazy over the top with guilt, the parents are incensed. Then there is the police who are having a problem swallowing any of it.

Something doesn’t add up.

Not easy to cozy up with any of the characters. Marco is beside himself for another reason, as are her parents. There is a lot of deceiving, misconception, and tension that intensifies into the plot. It might be faster paced were it not for the same theme of guilt and justification repeated so many times, each time, however, adding an additional little wrinkle.

Not just one or two twists but then the bomb, the final well placed bulls eye in the conclusion that totally knocks the reader off their rocker. What? NO! I hated that one and couldn’t believe that was how it ended.

Well, phooey. I didn’t expect that. Definitely a slow burning thriller with a killer (get it?) ending.

Did you read this one? Disappointed in the ending as I was? Shocked? So was I.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Crime Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Penguin Audio
ASIN: B01IIABQYC
Listening Length: 8 hrs 40 mins
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Couple Next Door [Amazon]

 

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four Stars 4 stars

 

Shari Lapena - authorThe Author: Shari Lapena

 

Kirsten Potter - narratorThe Narrator:  Kirsten Potter, a graduate of the Boston University School for the Arts, has performed on stage, film, and television, including roles on MediumBones, and Judging Amy. An award-winning audiobook narrator.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Happy Thursday!

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Book Blurb:

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me: 

  1. I’m in a coma.
  2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
  3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. 

Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from 20 years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

My Review:

Confusion reigned supreme. Well, perhaps not until about 75% into the book. Then the narrative earned the unreliable narrator stripes and I got lost. I only thought I was following along and had formed opinions. So much for that!

Sometimes I lie by Alice FeeneyThis is a tale of the twins from hell. I think. Were they actually twins or not? The writer’s prose fills the pages, building empathy on the one hand, derision on the other. That nasty sister! I think.

Becoming more twisted all the time, I became to question everything I’d heard. Wait a minute! Didn’t it say…a while ago…or maybe not. Wasn’t I paying attention?

What happened to the best friend, Taylor? Was that a best friend? An imaginary friend?

A sister?

I’m thinking OCD isn’t the only problem this woman has, this sister. Amber? Clare?

ARGH! At this point, I’m totally lost. Was there an Edward? What happened to him? And Madeline—that horrible boss. Or was that another lie? Was Amber really an on-air personality? Is Amber a survivor?

No character to like in this novel of chaos and mayhem. The reader may only have a modicum of empathy for Paul.

A book that prays on a fear most harbor—that of being trapped in a body, aware, but unable to manifest even the slightest notice of responsiveness. No blinking, finger twitching, or communication of any kind. Isn’t that why people were buried with a bell? A dead ringer? But if you were immobile…

So much mayhem. Why was none ever traced back?

And the conclusion. As inconclusive as the last quarter of the novel. Nothing to settle all the questions. Gees, I’m so confused, but I don’t think I’m that thrilled. Did you read this one? Agree with my assessment?

Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B0771TZXW5Listening Length: 10 hrs 7 mins
Narrator: Stephanie Racine
Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Sometimes I Lie [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

Alice Feeney - authorThe Author: Alice Feeney is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist. Her debut novel, Sometimes I Lie, was an international bestseller, has been translated into over twenty languages, and is being made into a TV series by Warner Bros. starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. His & Hers is also being adapted for screen by Jessica Chastain’s Freckle Films. Alice was a BBC Journalist for fifteen years, and now lives in the British countryside with her family. Rock Paper Scissors is her fourth novel and is being made into a TV series for Netflix by the producer of The Crown. It will be published around the world in 2021.

Stephanie Racine - narratorThe Narrator: Stephanie Racine is an actress, known for Shakespeare’s Globe: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2014), Holby City (1999) and The Royals (2015).

 

 

 

 

 

©2021 V Williams V Williams

The Perfect Ending by Rob Kaufman–#BookReview – #psychologicalthriller

Rosepoint Rating: Five stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

The Perfect Ending by Rob KaufmanParalyzed by writer’s block, Scott Atwood’s career is over, and so, he’s decided, is his life. He just has to figure out the perfect ending befitting a popular, award-winning thriller-suspense author who always gives his fans a mind-blowing finale.

But just as Scott resolves to jump in front of a train, he conceives the ideal plot for his next bestseller — a writer of psychological thrillers who decides to wreak havoc in other people’s lives in order to help him come up with ideas for his next book.

Looking for inspiration, he exposes his neighbor’s affair with devastating and far-reaching repercussions, and his plan soon begins to spiral wildly out of control. But what is fiction? And what is reality? The lines blur in this twisted and masterful Hitchcockian thriller with the perfect ending. The question is… to what?

My Review:

Wow! I love it when I stumble on a psychological thriller totally unique in concept, twisty plot, amazing characters and then delivers on an equally delicious conclusion catching the reader in a stunning twist you’ll never see coming.

You think you get a good concept of the plot by the Prologue. You are sooo having the wool pulled over your eyes and then you get into the story.

The Perfect Ending by Rob KaufmanThen you are introduced to Scott Atwood, a famous award-winning author. He’s just short of loathsome. This is the main character? I didn’t like him from the beginning. He’s hit the wall with the famous writer’s block for months. His agent, his publisher is breathing down his neck. He’s promised them another bestseller and can’t figure out anything to write about and is missing deadlines. He needs something spectacular. What to do?

One last ditch effort: he’ll take his laptop to the train station.
Write his next book or jump in front of a train.

Perfect ending in view of those thrillers he’s written. Nothing mundane for him!

Then he sees something that sparks an idea. It’s brilliant! He’s thrilled. And with a little encouragement, a slight push, he can force the story from his neighbors and watch them as they literally unfold his new bestselling thriller in front of him.

This storyline fires the imagination from the get-go. Hook, line, and you must finish the book. Can he really create this much misery? This much havoc? His neighbors all have stories and he paints them in full color realism. My heart ached for Brad, weeped for Joel. They are so well-fleshed. You believe it all.

It’s dark, delightfully deceiving, and emotionally wringing. The author tweaks his main character with just a slight amount of humor and moral justification. It’s so wrong. Twisted mystery, suspense. I released more than one audible groan…omg. This one is a must read!

I received a complimentary review ARC of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and these are my honest thoughts. I loved this one. It’s short but powerful and highly recommended.

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Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Thrillers, Suspense Thrillers

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B097LVL54P

Print Length: 238 pages
Publication Date: June 19, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble 

 

Rob Kaufman - authorThe Author: Rob‘s Psychology degree has helped him create characters with whom people can relate, while at the same time bringing them on a journey from which most would crumble. Making sure he keeps his readers in suspense from the very start, Rob’s three books have made him a 5-star contender in the psychological thriller genre. His fourth book, “The Perfect Ending” will be released in July of 2021.

Catch Rob at http://AuthorRobKaufman.com/.

©2021 V Williams V Williams