cover image The Couple Next Door

The Couple Next Door

Shari Lapena. Viking/Dorman, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2108-6

At the start of Lapena’s suspenseful, heart-wrenching debut, set in upstate New York, Anne and Marco Conti come home from a party at their neighbors’ house to find their front door open and their infant daughter Cora’s crib empty. They left Cora alone after the sitter cancelled at the last minute. Not a shred of evidence indicates that anyone entered the house after the Contis left for the party, though the police detectives on the case, Rasbach and Jennings, discover that the motion detector on the back door was disabled, the Contis’ garage door was left open, and tire tracks, not from the Contis’ car, were in the garage. Could the couple be covering up a kidnapping? Rasbach and Jennings suspect that they’re withholding something, but they sense the Contis’ anguish is legitimate. The tension grows as the united front that Anne and Marco have presented crumbles. After numerous twists and turns, just when everything appears to be resolved, Lapena delivers one final, deftly crafted surprise. Agent: Helen Heller, Helen Heller Agency (Canada). (Aug.)