My first experience of reading a Shari Lapena thriller confused me. With it being a short one, I was able to get through it quickly and with the help of an audiobook (which I was not a fan of on this occasion).

Set in New York, we meet Anne and Marco Conti who have gone to their next-door neighbours (flirty) Cynthia and Graham, for a small gathering where Anne clutches the baby monitor having been persuaded to leave their baby Cora sleeping at home.

As predicted with a sad mirroring of real-life events of a well-covered catastrophe in Portugal, the Contis’ daughter goes missing.

I always feel awkward when reading or watching anything to do with children coming to harm, however I managed to continue with the read. I won’t lie, I found the pace a little slow at first, although I can see this will have added to the agonising suspense of how Anne and Marco will have reacted to their baby missing from her cot, whilst only being next door.

In come the detectives who suspect the parents, whilst trying to find any external suspects, making you dislikethem almost instantly. As the story progresses, they offer a healthy reward for the return of their baby £££ along with the unveiling of secrets of Anne’s past and forgetful episodes…

Surprisingly, it turns out Marco had a part in their daughter’s disappearance – but the twist is that it all goes wrong. From here, my interest peaked a little as I was not expecting that, as well as Anne’s submission that she is ‘responsible’ for Cora’s disappearance – at this point, one can think anything is possible with this couple.

More twists and turns emerge in the sense of family corruption, where Anne’s parents have thought little of Marco since he captured their daughter’s heart, whilst Cynthia and Graham have a secret of their own … 

I think I didn’t get on with this thriller as well as other fans might have because it isn’t the sort of genre I would normally pick. But it’s good to challenge ourselves, right? Nevertheless, I was gripped at certain points throughout, where Lapena would manage to capture my interest just in time as a chapter was ending.

An exciting read for thriller enthusiasts with an ending I wasn’t quite predicting, which is surely a sign of a recommendable book? 

Where is baby Cora? Is she safe?

Rating – 3/5
Genre – crime, thriller, domestic fiction, mystery


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