Published On: Fri, Jul 28th, 2017

A Stranger In The House review: A perfectly serviceable psychological thriller

A STRANGER IN THE HOUSE by Shari Lapena Bantam Press, £12.99 

A baby disappeared into thin air after her parents left her in the house to go to dinner next door and Lapena sticks to the same domestic scenario in her second novel. 

A Stranger In The House opens with Karen Krupp running out of an abandoned restaurant in a grim area of town, leaping into her car and promptly crashing it into a lamppost. There is a dead body in the restaurant and when Karen is asked what happened before the accident she cannot remember.

Her husband, accountant Tom, arrives home to find their home empty and realises that Karen left in a hurry. 

Does she have any connection to the killing? And can the Krupp’s neighbour, the ever-supportive Bridget, shed any light on what happened that night? I found it hard to care, frankly.

A Stranger In The House isn’t so much domestic noir as domestic beige. Karen and Tom are colourless characters and we are given so little detail about them that it is hard to care what happens to them. 

And amnesia as a plot device isn’t very original. A Stranger In The House is a perfectly serviceable psychological thriller if you’re looking for a fast, undemanding beach read with a surprising twist at the end.

Sadly, that twist doesn’t make up for the plodding tale that precedes it. 

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