THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door
THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR by Shari Lapena
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve read some amazing thrillers this year, and I’ll definitely be adding THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR to the list. The story begins at a dinner party between neighbors, two couples whose townhouses share a common wall. So, no big deal that Anne and Marco leave their baby alone, right? Wrong! Even with regular check-ins and a monitor, Baby Cora’s crib is empty when they finally get home that night. Who could have taken her? How? The parents are frantic.

This was a darn good, twisty, suspenseful mystery. Even though the characters’ personalities weren’t that appealing to me in the beginning, I was pulled in by their gripping and puzzling situation. I ended up flying through this book, couldn’t put it down until I found out what happened to little Cora. Even when I thought I had things figured out, the author surprised me with another twist. I had a sick pleasure watching the culprit sink deeper and deeper.

This was a dark yet fun and enjoyable read, sure to be a hit with suspense lovers.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin’s First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.

THE GIRL BEFORE by Rena Olsen

The Girl Before
THE GIRL BEFORE by Rena Olsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ugh, so disturbing! THE GIRL BEFORE is a great read though, hard to put down. It’s not a typical suspense novel, as it’s clear up front what’s going on. However, the story flipping between “Now” and “Then” creates some amazing tension, fear almost, about what horror will be revealed next.

Clara is a frustratingly naive character, refusing to believe the obvious when it was right in front of her. As Clara tells her story, it’s up to the reader to decide if she was a victim, perpetrator, or a bit of both. And, of course, Clara has to decide how she sees herself after all the evidence is presented.

I enjoyed how the story was constructed, alternating between the past and present, though you need to pay attention – the past is not told chronologically. This book was difficult to read with its dark subject matter, but at the same time I was glued to the pages. I’d definitely recommend it to readers who enjoy a different kind of suspense.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin’s First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.

ARROWOOD by Laura McHugh

Arrowood
ARROWOOD by Laura McHugh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Memories can be tricky things, especially those that form when you’re a child. Arden Arrowood is sure of what she saw that day in 1994, when her younger twin sisters went missing outside their house in Keokuk, Iowa, never to be seen again. After many years away, Arden has returned to the family home after inheriting it from her grandparents, and it’s not long before things happen that make her question her sisters’ disappearance.

ARROWOOD is a haunting modern Gothic with an unsettling mystery at its core. My heart went out to Arden, emotionally stuck in the past, in limbo, just waiting for her baby sisters to come home. She had a bit of an obsession with nostalgia, which I can relate to. I was on pins and needles with Arden, waiting to find out what happened to little Violet and Tabitha.

This was a well-written novel, dark and suspenseful, with a hint of the paranormal. Definitely a couple of creepy moments! I was somewhat frustrated by the ending, though after thinking about it, it seemed to fit the overall vibe of the book. ARROWOOD is a great follow-up to Laura McHugh’s first novel, THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD, and I’m looking forward to her next book.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

WATCHING EDIE by Camilla Way

Watching Edie
WATCHING EDIE by Camilla Way
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Before and after. Heather and Edie. High school best friends, one awkward and lonely, the other beautiful and rebellious. Then something terrible happens, and they go their separate ways. But what happened? Fast-forward 17 years, and Edie is a new mother, alone, and unable to care for her new baby. Suddenly, Heather is there, ready to help. But after so many years apart, how did she know?

WATCHING EDIE was amazing psychological suspense. I did not want to put this book down! The story is about a friendship gone terribly wrong between Edie and Heather. An incident occurred that tore them apart, but what happened isn’t revealed until the end. Heather tells the story before “it” happened, and Edie tells the after. Alternating between the two time periods and also the not knowing “it” part kept me glued to the pages.

This was a well-written novel, sad, dark, emotional. What character can be trusted? Some great twists in this book, and when it was all said and done, I felt like I’d been punched in the gut, seriously! Gah! A great read. Haunting.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Vintage Gothic Romance: THE MISTS OF MOURNING by Suzanne Somers

Mists of Mourning
THE MISTS OF MOURNING by Suzanne Somers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Set in New York City and New Orleans, 1878. Young bride Anita travels from New York to New Orleans to join her husband, Thad, at his plantation home called Moline. Unfortunately, when she gets there, he’s dead. Was it an accident? Foul play?

No one in Thad’s family or social circle is happy with his new Yankee wife inheriting everything, so much so that someone clearly wants her dead. Anita must decide if it’s worth risking her life to take over Moline, or should she hightail it back north before it’s too late.

I enjoyed this book. Anita was a strong heroine with a good head on her shoulders. Moline was a creepy place filled with several possible culprits. I especially loved that Moline was in the bayous of New Orleans, a perfect Gothic setting. Suspenseful, well-constructed mystery.

Note: According to Fantastic Fiction, Suzanne Somers is a pseudonym used by Dorothy Daniels.