Sunday, 21 January 2018

A Stranger in the House

Finished January 14
A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

I had read the author's earlier book, The Couple Next Door, and so picked up this one from the New Book shelf at work. Once again we have unreliable narrators. As the book opens Tom Krupp gets home one evening, a bit later than normal with unknown issues on his mind. His front door is unlocked, and dinner preparations are underway, but there is no sign of his wife Karen. He is at first annoyed, and then increasingly worried as he finds first her cellphone and then her purse still in the house. He calls the friends he knows of, and only when he doesn't know what else to do, the police.
Meanwhile, the reader is aware of a woman driving wildly through an unfamiliar part of town, panicking to get away from someone or something, before crashing into a tree.
And so, a police officer arrives at Tom's house to let him know his wife's car was in an accident and to have him come see if the driver was her.
Karen has no memory of the accident or anything else that evening. She doesn't remember why she left the house, or what happened afterward. The doctor says her memory will likely return, but it may not. The police are suspicious of her amnesia, especially after they find an unidentified dead man shot near where her car came from.
Tom begins to wonder a bit about Karen as well, realizing he knows little of her life before he met her. He feels uneasy. He knows that he's hidden things about his life from her, and so is aware she may have done the same.
Their across the street neighbours, Brigid and Tom, have been friendly. Brigid has made a special effort to be friends with Karen. But Tom and Brigid have a history that neither of their spouses is aware of. Brigid sits at home crocheting most of the time, watching their house from her front window. We wonder what has she really seen? This book has more questions like this, as the plot progresses. We gradually learn little bits of information, but even those may be unreliable. Bob is barely a character, really just a prop for Brigid.
To me, the characters in this book seemed either creepily evil or stupidly gullible. I didn't like any of them really. But the plot is a page-turner.

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