A Stranger in the House
Author: Shari Lapena
Length: 9 hours
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Original Publication Date: 2017
Genre(s): Mystery, Adult fiction, Contemporary
Tom is the kind of guy who lives in a happy little bubble—he never expects anything to go wrong. He has a great job, the perfect wife, and a nice home in a good neighborhood. But one night, Tom comes home to an empty house, the lights on and door unlocked. His wife is gone. She left her phone, her purse… Then a policeman shows up telling him his wife was in a car accident.
Karen can’t remember the events leading up to her accident, and the police find that a little too convenient under present circumstances. She desperately wants to move on, but the police won’t let her. When Karen finally goes home, something feels…wrong. Someone’s been in her house. Someone’s moved her things. Again.
Wow, two Shari Lapena novels in a row! After enjoying The Couple Next Door, I assumed I’d find equal enjoyment in A Stranger in the House. Like Lapena’s previous novel, A Stranger in the House is told in third-person omniscient POV, typically focusing on Karen, Tom, Brigid (Karen’s friend and neighbor), and Detective Rasbach (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). As with CND, you don’t know everything each character is thinking, keeping the mystery alive and your suspicions high.
If you couldn’t tell, I was SUPER PUMPED to find out Rasbach, from CND, was in this novel as well!!! I was shook. And sososo happy. Each chapter focusing on him was my favorite, yet again. Except he felt a little…different in this novel. I don’t know. I felt Lapena’s writing was stronger in her previous novel, and went a little downhill for this one. And, in doing so, her recurring character suffered a bit from that. But he was mostly the same Rasbach I grew to love in CND, so that kept me happy. Didn’t really care for any of the other characters in the story, though. I wish I could say more about them, but that would ruin the story…
Honestly, I don’t have much to say other than it was an interesting story. I wasn’t as on the edge of my seat to find the answers as I was with CND, but I was still interested enough to blow through the audiobook over the course of 2 work days. Again, not a thriller/suspense novel—just a mystery. And as always with mysteries, expect the unexpected.
In short, I’ll say that I recommend you read The Couple Next Door rather than this novel, and if you are adamant about reading both, maybe start with this one first, so you only go up from here.