Book Review: A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

Synopsis of A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena:  Tom and Karen Krupp have an idyllic life . . . a nice home in upstate New York, good jobs, and a loving relationship. One evening, Tom returns home to find the front door unlocked and dinner started but no Karen. Frantic to find his wife, he calls friends before calling 911. Within minutes of placing the 911 call, Tom hears a knock on the door. The police have found Karen. She's been in a car accident in a bad part of town and has been rushed to the hospital. She has no recollection of the past several hours. After being released from the hospital, Karen returns home with Tom, only to find things in her home keep being moved around and suddenly becomes a suspect in a murder. Is Karen really who she says she is? Is Tom hiding something? Karen and Tom become A Stranger in the House.

While shopping at Barnes & Noble, I found a copy of A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena that someone had randomly put down on a shelf. Intrigued by the cover, I picked the book up and read the synopsis. I had to have the book and was excited to see that it was on sale. After purchasing the book and taking it home, I forgot about it. That is until the book club I belong to decided to read the book, and I got excited about it all over again.

A Stranger in the House was action packed from the get go, and I had trouble putting it down. However, with that being said, some of the writing wasn't that great because Lapena used a ton of simple sentences throughout the book and at times repeated some of the same information a couple of times within the same paragraph. It makes me wonder if she was pressured by the publishers to churn out a second book quickly. I still haven't read her book The Couple Next Door so I wonder if her writing style was the same in that book.

When I read the epilogue of the book, it made me agitated and gave me mixed emotions about the entire book. It had a huge twist that was reminiscent of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, and I disliked the ending of Gone Girl so much that I threw the book across the room. However, I didn't do that with A Stranger in the House, but it did kind of ruin the whole book for me, which is why I had such mixed emotions . . . I had loved the book up to that point. There is a small cliffhanger that will enable Lapena to write a sequel if she so chooses, but if she does, I'm not sure I'll read it.

Shari Lapena does a fabulous job of creating likable and unlikable characters. I loved the character of Tom and Officer Fleming, who is the cop that came to tell him that his wife Karen had been in a car accident and was in the hospital. For most of the book, I liked Karen . . . that is until I got to the twist at the end of the book. The most annoying and unlikeable character was Tom and Karen's neighbor Brigid who lives across the street from them. Why? She is obsessed with Tom and Karen and constantly watches everything they do. As the book progresses, you see that Brigid is a psycho.


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