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I admit, I started reading this about three times and just couldn’t get into it…the couple, Anne and Marcos, just didn’t interest me, with their perfect neighborhood and darling baby girl. And then, last week, I was in the mountains, miles from anywhere, with nothing to do but read and hike and look at/listen to the river. So, after a couple of days of hiking and listening to/looking at the river, I picked it up and started reading, and I was hooked pretty quickly.

Oh, and BTW, I am a big fan of what I guess you might call domestic psychological thrillers (Gone Girl, Girl on the Train, etc.) so I was happy to receive an advance copy of this title from?? And NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

The story is that Anne and Marco have been invited to a dinner party by their next-door neighbors, Cynthia and Graham Stilwell, to celebrate Graham’s birthday. Cynthia has made it clear it is to be an adults-only evening, so when the babysitter who was scheduled to sit with baby Cora cancels on Anne and Marco, they decide to leave Cora alone with a baby monitor, and agree to check on her every half hour, and off they go (you can see where this is going, right??). The residences are in a townhouse complex, they will be right on the other side of the wall – what could possibly go wrong?

Everything goes according along fine until the parents, who are by now tired and semi-drunk return home around 1:30a.m. to find the front door ajar and Baby Cora missing. Cora is only 6 months old, so obviously she didn’t leave on her own.

Anne falls apart, Marco is paralyzed, but finally Anne recovers and the police are called. Detective Rasbach then has to try to determine what actually happened: is the baby dead or alive? Is one of the supposedly distraught parents responsible? Or covering up somehow? Was there a kidnapping? Perhaps an opportunistic crime or something that was carefully planned? Most of the suspects are inconsistent as they tell their stories (that unreliable narrator again, common in this genre, and sometimes kind of clunky, but in this book, very well done, IMHO).
There are lots of twists and turns, lies, all leading up to the final twist.

Lapena’s writing is brisk, the plot moves quickly, and the character development is quite good. Overall, this was a fast, fun puzzle. I’m not usually good at figuring out mysteries, but I did figure out at least one of them fairly early on. Even so, I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy the genre, or anyone looking for entertainment and something to take your mind off the election for awhile.

Four plus stars.

 

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