I think I’m going to have to take a break from contemporary domestic thrillers as soon as I finish reading the ones that are already in my TBR stacks. Lately, they all read the same to me. With familiar plots and twists, they don’t wow me anymore like they once did, and I had been hoping that Shari Lapena would be the author to break this trend.
I don’t even know why I put so much stock in Lapena’s writing when I hadn’t read any of her books before, other than having heard so many great things about her debut thriller The Couple Next Door. In hindsight, this was my mistake – when you hope for unicorns and miracles, you are mostly tempting fate to roll you downhill. 😛
Anyway enough ranting for now.
A Stranger in the House follows Karen and Tom Krupp, a young married couple, who are still in their honeymoon phase. Close to their second wedding anniversary, Tom returns to their upstate New York home one night to find both Karen and her car missing. The state of their kitchen tells him that Karen had been in the middle of making dinner, but he can’t figure out why his wife, who is such a stickler for safety, would leave home without locking the front door, or taking her phone and purse.
While Tom frantically calls Karen’s friends to find out her whereabouts, the police come to inform him that Karen had been in an accident in the shady part of town. Witnesses have said that Karen was speeding, running red lights, before finally hitting a pole, but Tom’s initial reaction to all this is disbelief. The Karen he knows, is a law-abiding citizen who had never even got much as a parking ticket. So what could have led her to be so reckless that night? It looks like neither Tom or the cops are going to get a satisfactory answer to this from Karen anytime soon as she is suffering from amnesia due to the trauma. But when the police find a dead body not far from Karen’s crash site, they find her amnesia way too convenient for their liking.
Like most domestic thrillers, A Stranger in the House centers around a seemingly perfect marriage that has its own fissures – both spouses are hiding secrets they should have told each other a long time ago. So as these secrets get revealed, the novel hits the right amount of suspense and fun. However, I have read way too many similar-ish thrillers to rave about this. 3-stars.
Note: Many thanks to Penguin for sending me a review copy of A Stranger in the House.