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A Stranger in the House: From the author of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR Paperback – 14 Jun 2018
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"So many dizzying twists you'd better not drive after reading" (Linwood Barclay)
"The plot twists in Shari Lapena's A Stranger in the House made me shout "No!" out loud. Shari expertly traps you, confounds you and leaves you gasping at the end. More, please . . ." (Fiona Barton)
"Smart, twisty and compulsive. Suspense and suspicion accumulate relentlessly, toying with your expectations and your emotions right up until the packs-a-punch ending. Don’t miss it, and don’t expect to be able to put it down" (Gilly Macmillan)
"Hard to put down." (Woman & Home)
"A smart and twisty thriller . . . It's taut, intelligent and compelling." (Heat)
About the Author
Shari Lapena worked as a lawyer and as an English teacher before writing fiction. Her debut thriller, The Couple Next Door, was a global bestseller, the bestselling fiction title in the UK in 2017 and has been optioned for television. Her second thriller, A Stranger in the House and third, An Unwanted Guest, were both Sunday Times and New York Times bestsellers. Her fourth thriller is out in 2019.
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A Stranger in the House has a slightly different tone than The Couple Next Door. This is mostly because Lapena makes use of the various narrators a lot more. Because the narrative jumps around from character to character so much, the reader is kept in the dark until the author wants them to know something. This was an interesting way of dealing with the mystery, and it worked well enough. It’s not my favourite style of writing, but in this case I didn’t mind it and it kept me intrigued.
That said, this book wasn’t as intense as The Couple Next Door, possibly because of the way the story was told. I was just as invested in the mystery, but I think it focussed on a few too many characters for my liking. I did like reading the detective’s chapters, though. It added an interesting element as I got to read about both sides of the investigation.
I think Lapena was going with a Gone Girl vibe here, and it didn’t really work. Not as well as I would have liked, anyway. I liked the female characters individually as they were interesting and had good backstories, but at the same time I hated their relationship with each other. It wasn’t portrayed very well at all. There was a lot of jealousy there, amongst other things (I’m avoiding spoilers! Gah!), and I didn’t like it all that much.
A Stranger in the House is a good thriller, and I would recommend reading it if you’re looking for something to get sucked into. I would start with The Couple Next Door, though, if you’re looking to read something by Shari Lapena. It’s a much stronger novel.
This should have been a page turner but I struggled to get into this book. For me, Karen was a bit of a wet lettuce and Tom - well Tom can only be described a massive misogynistic pig! Starting from his anger not concern that his wife was missing! Then neighbour Brigid is thrown into the mix, with clear mental health issues.
I have to say, I thought I knew where it was going but I did not expect the ending! Overall this book was enjoyable, it just didn't grab me from the outset.
The premise of the book is very good. The characters are well written but not very likeable! I found Karen quite a week character and Tom a bit of an idiot. Bridgid came across as a bit unbelievable.
The story develops well and has a few interesting twists along the way.
It isn’t as good as “The Couple Next Door” but still worth a read in my opinion.
I found this an easy read - Lapena's writing is not the most sophisticated.
Overall I general enjoyed the story and was intrigued to discover the truth behind the crime. However I agree with a lot of the reviews that say they don't care about the characters. I did not find any of the characters likeable whatsoever and didn't really care about their outcome. Also another element about the writing that bothered me is the repetitiveness - I found a lot of phrases and actions of the characters were repeated, as though the author wanted to stretch the plot out over as many pages as possible.
Overall, an OK read. But nothing to write home about.