Read and Rank

READ & RANK: The Books of Shari Lapena

Welcome to a new feature on the blog that I have been wanting to do for quite a while: READing all of an author’s books and RANKing them in order of my most favorite to least favorite. Today, we’ll be discussing the works of Shari Lapena!

Before I jump into my opinion, I thought I would start with the order in which the books were published along with the most recent overall rating on Goodreads and Amazon since we all love bookish data!

2016

It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors–a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all–a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family–a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

Goodreads: 3.81 out of 453,124 ratings

Amazon: 4.3 out of 28,279 ratings


2017

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. 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 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.

Goodreads: 3.67 out of 108,280 ratings

Amazon: 4.4 out of 7,347 ratings


2018

A weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway . . . but when the storm hits, no one is getting away.

It’s winter in the Catskills and Mitchell’s Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing–maybe even romantic–weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity–and all contact with the outside world–the guests settle in and try to make the best of it.

Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead–it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic.

Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one. And there’s nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm–and one another.

Goodreads: 3.79 out of 91,132 ratings

Amazon: 4.3 out of 8,629 ratings


2019

Maybe you don’t know your neighbors as well as you thought you did . . .

In a quiet, leafy suburb in upstate New York, a teenager has been sneaking into houses–and into the owners’ computers as well–learning their secrets, and maybe sharing some of them, too.

Who is he, and what might he have uncovered? After two anonymous letters are received, whispers start to circulate, and suspicion mounts. And when a woman down the street is found murdered, the tension reaches the breaking point. Who killed her? Who knows more than they’re telling? And how far will all these very nice people go to protect their own secrets?

In this neighborhood, it’s not just the husbands and wives who play games. Here, everyone in the family has something to hide . . .

Goodreads: 3.94 out of 82,223 ratings

Amazon: 4.5 out of 9,057 ratings


2020

It starts with a shocking accusation…

Stephanie and Patrick are recently married, with new-born twins. While Stephanie struggles with the disorienting effects of sleep deprivation, there’s one thing she knows for certain – she has everything she ever wanted.

Then a woman from his past arrives and makes a shocking accusation about his first wife. He always claimed her death was an accident – but she says it was murder.

He insists he’s innocent, that this is nothing but a blackmail attempt. But is Patrick telling the truth? Or has Stephanie made a terrible mistake?

How will it end?

Goodreads: 3.80 out of 56,190 ratings

Amazon: 4.3 out of 9,977 ratings


2021

In this family, everyone is keeping secrets–especially the dead.

Brecken Hill in upstate New York is an expensive place to live. You have to be rich to have a house there. And they don’t come much richer than Fred and Sheila Merton. But even all their money can’t protect them when a killer comes to call. The Mertons are brutally murdered the night after an Easter Dinner with their three adult kids. Who, of course, are devastated.

Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their capricious father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did one of them snap after that dreadful evening? Or was it someone else that night who crept in with the worst of intentions? It must be. After all, if one of your siblings was a psychopath, you’d know.

Wouldn’t you?

Goodreads: 3.82 out of 92,997 ratings

Amazon: 4.2 out of 12,643 ratings


Lapena’s most popular book is overwhelmingly her debut, The Couple Next Door, which was one of the first books I reviewed when I started this blog almost six years ago! While these types of domestic thriller books inundate the market now, you have to remember that around that time in 2016, everyone was riding the high of Gone Girl, both the book and its film adaptation. Books like this didn’t exist before that. Shocking twists that you never saw coming and dark character studies wrapped in psychological thrills. It was new and exciting and totally absorbing! I couldn’t put The Couple Next Door down, and in fact, there hasn’t been one of hers that I haven’t devoured in days! I said in that review, and I’ll say it again, if you find yourself in a reading slump, pick up any of these books, and you will quickly be out of it!

Here is my ranking of Shari Lapena’s books:

I am a HUGE sucker for the love triangle trope especially when it involves a fatal attraction element, and I was in a literal book hangover for weeks after finishing The End of Her. I know some people don’t like how chaotic the ending becomes as thingsquickly wrap up, but I loved it. It completed the whole messy vibe that the story entails. I turned the internet upside down trying to find more books like this one, but every list included books I had already read. A true bookish problem! If you know of anything else out there like this one, comment your recommendation!

The Couple Next Door and Not a Happy Family are so close in my ranking, but I thought it only fair to give the upper hand to The Couple Next Door because this is the book that started it all. I knew Lapena’s potential for talent was there from my first reading of her debut, and it only continues to get better. Not a Happy Family is her release from last year, and that ending was the absolute best! I gasped and truly wanted more. I eagerly anticipate her next book release, and because I can’t find any information about a new book, I hope this post puts out the energy needed to make it happen soon!

An Unwanted Guest is a fantastic Agatha Christie call back, and with the winter setting, it is a fantastic choice for an atmospheric and immersive read. It might even be a good choice right now to feel some chills given the intense heat of this summer that so many of us are currently facing!

While I don’t remember all the ins and outs of Someone We Know, this fast-paced thriller was entertaining and made me so glad I didn’t have any bad neighbors near me! And I’ll just leave a link to my review of A Stranger in the House for more info. I wasn’t a fan of the memory loss as a plot device, so while definitely recommended, get to it after you’ve read all of her other books first.


Shari Lapena is the internationally bestselling author of The Couple Next DoorShe was a lawyer and an English teacher before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in Toronto.


I hope you enjoyed this feature! I look forward to presenting more as I finish a few remaining books in other author’s back lists. I also hope that if you haven’t checked out Shari Lapena before, you are now inspired to do so. She is absolutely the queen of the one sit read! If you have read her books, let me know in the comments which one was your favorite!

2 thoughts on “READ & RANK: The Books of Shari Lapena”

  1. This is a fun feature. Maybe I need to give her books another try. I was kinda underwhelmed by her first book. Maybe all the hype made me have unrealistic expectations? I will try again. Mostly, I hope this means you are out of your reading slump!

    Like

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