Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind. There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town. The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good. Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.
A Stranger in the House isn’t the first of Lapena’s books I’ve read (the first being The Couple Next Door-which I highly recommend!) and I really did enjoy it! Lapena has earned herself the Queen of The One-Sit Read and it’s not hard to see why; the way she writes is pure gold and the plot twists are so insane-yet-believable that it just keeps you enthralled even past the final page!
Karen and Tom are written so well; I wanted to dislike them but actually for a really long time I loved this couple! Brigid always came across as that nosey neighbour we all try to avoid and who loves to hear the sound of their own voice-and as the plot progresses she becomes a really nasty piece of work; granted still not entirely sure if it’s down to her wanting something she can’t have and manipulating the situation to get it or if she’s just been pushed over the edge by her obsession-quite probably both now I continue to think about. Karen was just fantastic! Without giving away the major plot twist, I was left craving more and hoping for a sequel!
If A Stranger in the House we’re ever to be made in to a TV adaptation, I would expect more of a follow up at the end, but I think it would make for easy viewing as there’s no complicated time hops or character changes and the plot twist was intense but without being confusing-like some plot twists can be, and I didn’t have to read that chapter twice to grasp it either. A perfect ending for a reader who likes loose ends tied up but also likes a bit of a “well I know the drama that’s coming next! Get popcorn!” moment.
I highly recommend Lapena’s books all round-despite having only read half of the available titles to date, the characters are written in such a way that you can relate to them somehow on a certain level or relate to a circumstance that surrounds them. Lapena writes so that you always try to find a level of empathy and then likes to rip the carpet out from under you with the most satisfying and delicious dog-leg turn that’s so sharp you end up coming around the corner and bumping in to your own back!
Prior to being an incredible novelist, Shari Lapena was a Canadian born lawyer then English teacher. Her first novel Things Go Flying was published in 2008 and she isn’t looked back since and gone on to produce a torrent of incredible thriller novels including The Couple Next Door, An Unwanted Guest, Someone We Know and The End Of Her. The latest title of Lapena’s is Not A Happy Family and is available to buy now.