The new novel by Shari Lapena, author of The Couple Next Door, has gotten a lot of buzz, and I’m a big fan of psychological suspense, so I was happy to get an advance copy of A Stranger In the House (thanks to Penguin Group/Viking and NetGalley) in exchange for my honest review.
In the prologue, a woman named Karen is rushing to escape something, driving wildly across town, and runs headlong into a light pole. Her husband, Tom, comes home and finds the door unlocked, Karen’s car gone, but her purse and cell phone in the house. It doesn’t make sense to him, but he soon finds out Karen is in the hospital, suffering from amnesia.
They love in a comfy neighborhood: “People who live here are successful and settled; everyone’s a little bit smug.” There is a nosy neighbor who seems way too interested in everyone else’s business, and she is only too happy to talk to the two detectives who come around looking into a murder that happened right where Karen’s accident happened – in a part of town where people like her just don’t go.
There are lots of twists and turns to keep the reader glued to the story until the unexpected ending – but it might not be unexpected for everyone; I am notoriously bad at seeing these “unexpected” endings coming.
I wasn’t wild about Karen or Tom, but the plot kept me happy. It’s a clever, suspenseful thriller of the woman in peril genre, and will be appreciated by fans of Gone Girl, Girl on a Train, etc. I think I may not remember much about it in a few weeks, other than the “oh yeah, I liked that one” memory. I will recommend it to people, though, so it’s a solid four stars.