commercial fiction · fiction · Penguin Random House UK · psychological thrillers

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena



‘Meticulously crafted and razor-sharp. THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR lingers long after you turn the final page’ HARLAN COBEN

Fast-paced and addictive, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR announces a major new talent in thriller writing.

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?

A fast-paced, page turning psychological thriller with a unique story centred around the kidnapping of a baby. There are many psychological thrillers out there that focus on a baby or a child being in some kind of danger, and while this is the case in this novel, you would never guess who could possibly take a baby.

Six month old Cora has been taken from her crib while she slept in her nursery of her parent’s upstate New York home. She has been taken in the middle of the night while her parents were attending a dinner party next door.

Cora’s parents, Anne and Marco, had not intended to leave their baby alone when they agreed to attend their next door neighbours’ birthday dinner. A sitter had been booked but then she cancelled. The childless couple next door had clearly stated that this was an adult only event. Marco, keen to enjoy an evening out, persuades Anne that they should attend the dinner party but take the baby monitor with them and take turns to check up on sleeping Cora every thirty minutes.

When they eventually returned late at night, drunk on wine and irritated by each other’s behaviour at the party, Marco and Anne find their front door ajar and their daughter gone.

The novel allows the readers to discern each of the main characters thought processes, which is really interesting. We have the mother, heaping guilt on herself for her port partum depression, for not appreciating the perfect baby, for allowing her husband to persuade her to go out without their child when she knew it was the wrong thing to do. We have the father, schooled and numbed, fearful of the impact this will have on his already fragile wife and their relationship, fully aware that the police investigation will bring to light financial troubles that he has kept secret from Anne. We also have the lead detective, meticulously carrying out his investigation, aware that in cases like these, the parents are most often to blame.

Anne has wealthy parents and hope that by offering money to the kidnappers, she’ll be able to get her baby back. But there is so much more than just a kidnapping that unfolds within this novel. The Couple Next Door also explores the delicate relationship between husband and in laws, deception, lies, heart ache and lastly appreciation.

This is definitely a good thriller. Why? Well, because I was hooked all the way through the novel. The plot had little to no holes, and it moved at a good pace. The events and layers of other issues were woven seamlessly and I couldn’t get through this novel quick enough. I could never also anticipate the twists that had me absolutely gripped.

The Couple Next Door was publishing by Transworld, Penguin Random House in April 2017.


2016 · fiction · Michael Joseph · new reads · Penguin Random House UK · psychological thrillers · Uncategorized

Dear Amy Review

Dear Amy was not the gripping read that I had expected it to be. It is psychological thrilled that turned out to be a passable read, though it failed to hold my interest a hundred pages in. Margot Lewis has an agony aunt column in the local paper, with a troubling personal history. She begins to receive letters from Bethan Avery, a girl who disappeared twenty years ago. The letters hold information that would not be known to the public and Margot’s interest is ignited. At the same time, Katie Browne, one of Margot’s student’s is missing. I was more interested in Katie’s narrative than I was Margot’s. The characters did not hold my interest, which was not helped by the slow moving plot with little twists and turns. Not good for a psychological thriller.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to the end. Though I will say Helen Callaghan wrote very well, the lack of suspense, twists and urgency in the plot let this novel down.

Dear Amy was published by Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin Random House in 2016.

2016 · commercial fiction · fiction · new reads · October · Penguin Random House UK · psychological thrillers · Sphere · Uncategorized

October’s 2016 reading list: Thrillers are lots of great new books out this month, which I will get around to reading at some point. But for now, I’m catching up on some previous 2016 psychological thriller releases that I’ve been dying to get my hands on. There’s nothing like being completely consumed by a good read and I desire nothing more. A big amazon parcel was delivered this morning and nothing makes my heart skip a beat than hearing the postman ring the doorbell. Knowing my books have arrived, it’s a race with myself (without tripping) to the front door.

This month, I’ll be reading Helen Callaghan’s psychological thriller, Dear Amy. This is Callaghan’s debut novel, which was published Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin Random House. A very to-the-point-blurb, which attracted me to reading this title.


Dear Amy,

Please help me.


I’ve been kidnapped by a strange man.

He says I can never go home.

I don’t know where I am.

I don’t even know how long I’ve been gone.

I’m afraid people will stop looking for me.

I’m afraid that he’ll kill me.

There isn’t must time left.

Please find me.

Up next is Clare Mackintosh’s psychological thriller, I SEE YOU, which was published by Sphere, an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group that belongs to Hachette. Due to the many five star ratings, I wanted to experience reading the story for myself. Blurb below.

You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you’re going.

You’re not alone.


When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation; just a grainy image, a website and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

Up third, I’ve got my copy of suspense thriller, The Primrose Path by Rebecca Griffiths, which is also published by Sphere, an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group.


Haunted by her past. In danger from her present.

Isolated, alone, vulnerable.

Sometimes the danger is closer than you think.

As a teenager, Sarah D’Villez famously escaped a man who abducted and held her hostage for eleven days. The case became notorious, with Sarah’s face splashed across the front of every newspaper in the country.

Now, seventeen years later, that man is about to be released from prison. Fearful of the media storm that is sure to follow, Sarah decides to flee to rural Wales under a new identity, telling nobody where she’s gone.

Settling into the small community she is now part of, Sarah soon realises that someone is watching her. Someone who seems to know everything about her . . .

Ohhh, can’t wait to get reading. Reviews coming soon!


2015 · commercial fiction · fiction · Penguin Random House UK · psychological thrillers · Uncategorized

The Girl On The Train review


I have finally read this baby and now I know what all the hype is all about. Devoured within three days reading this going to and from work on the tube, The Girl On The Train will be one of those books that will happily join my never ending collection of books.

The Girl On The Train is about an alcoholic woman named Rachel who travels the same train journey every morning in to London. Like every morning, the train waits at the same signal upon where Rachel has a moment or two to look out at the houses. She notices the same house with the same couple living there, but one day, when Rachel sees something inconceivable she can’t help but get involved in the mystery.

I really liked the narrative structure, which switches from Rachel and Megan allowing us to understand the plot from the two women’s perspectives. The protagonist Rachel is a flawed character who is not particularly likeable, however, possessing a strong moral sense of doing the right thing, her perseverance and willingness to help is admirable, despite the ways in which she does so.

All the main characters were well developed and felt very much real to me. They would prance around in my mind and I’d often think about them when I was not reading – only a gripping book like Girl On The Train will have this affect on you.

The plot had lots of twists and turns, which inevitably kept me wanting to read more and more as I, like Rachel, also wanted to understand what had happened to Megan and how this had affected the other characters.


My favourite part of the book is when we first hear of Megan’s voice through the narrative, where she explains the reasons why certain actions in her past were taken. Having not adjusted to the fact that Megan’s narrative is the lady that Rachel allocates a different name and life to is extremely satisfying when we finally understand what Paula Hawkins does there.

The ending was great too, Rachel telling us she has to get up early in the morning to catch the train, to me, was the perfect way to end.

I also think the idea behind the book was simple yet interesting. Paula Hawkins was once on a train when her train stopped at a signal and she looked out of her window to the houses nearby the tracks. She wondered what it would be like to write about every day situations and people, and voila, the idea was born.


This was without a doubt a page-turner – a fantastic read and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is in to psychological thrillers.