The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
when the spoilers part starts there will be bold letters stating "start spoilers" and "end spoilers"
I'm ashamed to say, I definitely judge a book by its cover. And by the first page/paragraph/sentence of chapter 1. I was debating between reading this or The Girls (which I received in my August book of the month box) and this book jumped out to me right away.
"Anne can feel the acid churning in her stomach and creeping up her throat; her head is swimming".
Yup, I definitely want to find out what happened to her (next sentence "she's had to much to drink"). I'm hooked!
First of all, I thought it was going to be a drama novel with a small bit of who-dunnit mystery involved. Also I thought there was going to be murder but you find out at the end of the first chapter that it's a kidnapping.
Now about the characters involved. No spoilers yet but we will be revisiting the characters in the the spoilers section.
Anne and Marco Conti - They are the parents of the missing child Cora.
Richard and Alice Dries - Rich parents of Anne. Richard is the step father.
Cynthia and Graham Stillwell - Anne and Marco's next door neighbors.
A short plot summary: Cora goes missing while Anne and Marco are over at Cynthia and Graham's apartment for a dinner party. The entire book is finding out what everyone is hiding, where the baby is (if she's even still alive), and who took the baby.
SPOILERS START HERE
I cannot reiterate enough that there will be SPOILERS below. The end of the spoilers will be marked with an "end spoilers"
Everyone wants to know who did it. Marco set up the kidnapping but Richard set Marco up. Cora is fine and alive.
The Conti family are over at the Stillwell apartment until after 1am. They go home and find their 6 month old daughter missing from her crib. They were checking on her every 30 minutes.
Anne - She has a dissociative condition where she sometimes blacks out and doesn't remember what she has done. Also has postpartum depression. She doesn't remember anything during the time she checked on her daughter at 11pm. She only remembers breast feeding, the baby being fussy, and slapping the baby. (She ends up killing Cynthia at the end for something else)
Marco - He set up the whole thing with his friend Bruce Neeland (whose real name was actually Derek Honig). Marco had planned to hand the baby over to Derek briefly after 12:30 and Derek would call asking for a 2 million dollar ransom about 12 hours later.
Something goes wrong and a package arrives a few days after asking for 5 millions. Marco goes alone because he knows the baby will be there nice and safe. When he gets there, there is an empty car seat and he gets hit over the head and blacks out. Marco and Derek had become friends over the (doesn't say how long) and after Marco asked Richard for money and was denied, Derek suggested fake kidnapping Cora so they can both get money from it.
Richard - Turns out he was having an affair with Cynthia (yes, Anna's neighbor). It's implied that he was the one who set Derek up with Marco because he ended up with all the money and the child. Richard's assistant was the one taking care of the child while it was missing.
Alice - She's pretty innocent throughout all this. She's the one who tells Anne that her stepfather was cheating with Cynthia.
Cynthia - Came onto Marco during the party at the beginning of the book. Turns out she and her husband Graham like to watch her having intercourse with other men and they film it. They have hidden cameras all around to record whenever she's with someone else. They end up having video footage of Marco taking the baby out to Derek in the garage.
Graham - Graham is against giving the video footage to the police because he would get into trouble for filming people without their consent.
Video footage: Showed Marco going into the house at 12:30 to "check on the baby" but then he comes out at 12:33 and brings Cora into the garage where Derek is parked in a Prius.
SPOILERS ARE OVER
NO MORE SPOILERS
END OF SPOILERS
YOU CAN READ AGAIN
I think that's everything anyone would want to know about the book. I finished reading it in four house. I could not put it down.