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A Stranger in the House, Lapena

A Stranger in the House will have you asking yourself who the stranger is. And then you’ll answer that question fairly quickly. Then the big plot twist isn’t that big. Then you’ll be sad. Probably. Sorry Lapena.

At least I was. There are so many books to read and not nearly enough time to read them all so I try to be kinda picky. I read the back of Lapena’s latest book and saw it had a very promising premise with intrigue and mystery. Which is why I bought it. It doesn’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel but I need drama and twists and a good ending. This one failed across the board.

Here’s the summery: Tom and Karen are a recently married couple. They live in a wealthy upstate New York suburb. They live a very regular life, Tom is an accountant, Karen does some temp work. Lots of order and routine. So when Tom comes home one night late from work and Karen is MIA he’s a little concerned. He’s more concerned when he finds her purse, cell phone, and wallet in the house.

Tom missing what’s literally right in front of him:

The police show up. Karen’s been in a car accident on the super shady side of town. She was driving like a crazy person, this news shocks Tom. When she wakes up, she can’t remember what happened.

Which is especially problematic because a dead body is found right near where she had her accident. Interesting right?

Yeah, for about 20 pages. Then it goes south very quickly.

I feel kinda bad for Tom in the beginning, but then you learn more about him and you’re like wait, he sucks. And Karen is the worst. The police detectives involved are so two demential, Lapena might as well have made them cardboard cutouts. Then you have the neighbor. Who honestly showed so much promise as an interesting character. The more we learned about her the more I was ready for a giant evil genius or crazy reveal. But no, she was basic levels of housewife crazy.

Unrelated meme I just laughed at for 5 minutes

Then you get to the ending and you’re like wut. Why did I even just read that. Then you go home and make some mac and cheese for lunch because you’re starving. Just me? Ok cool.

Honestly, I really wanted to like this one. I wanted to love Lapena and her work. But the characters sucked and the plot was predictable. And the part where the plot took a turn and I thought maybe it wasn’t going to be predictable, it became even more stereotypical.

So incase you missed it, I would not recommend reading this one. If you’re looking for an interesting plot twist there are so many better options out there. All the Missing Girls, any Sandra Brown, Where are the Children, Magpie Murders, Woman in the Window. But skip this one.

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