Welcome to the new Read and Rank feature on Jen Ryland Reviews, in which I discuss all an author’s books and which one I (and you) think are the best? So…. What Is the Best Book by Shari Lapena? Let’s discuss!
Which Is The Best Book by Shari Lapena?
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Order of Books by Shari Lapena
Here’s a list of the books Shari Lapena has written in order of publication:
The Couple Next Door (2016)
Anne and Marco Conti have a loving relationship and a 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. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.
A Stranger in the House (2017)
Karen and Tom Krupp are happy newlyweds. 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. A car accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Also, 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.
An Unwanted Guest (2018)
It’s winter in the Catskills and Mitchell’s Inn is the perfect setting for a relaxing weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces 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.
Someone We Know (2019)
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?
The End of Her (2020)
Stephanie and Patrick are recently married, with newborn 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?
Not A Happy Family (2021)
In this family, everyone is keeping secrets. All their money can’t protect Fred and Sheila Merton 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.
Which Shari Lapena Book Has the Highest Goodreads Rating?
Shari Lapena’s books have pretty consistent Goodreads averaged scores, in the 3.8’s and 3.9’s. Here is the order, from highest to lowest:
Someone We Know 3.94 stars
Not A Happy Family 3.83 stars
The Couple Next Door 3.81 stars
The End of Her 3.80 stars
An Unwanted Guest 3.71 stars
A Stranger in the House 3.67 stars
Which Shari Lapena Book Did I Like Best?
I actually disagree with the Goodreads rankings. I’d rank Not a Happy Family as Lapena’s best (you can read my review of Not a Happy Family here), followed by The Couple Next Door. I wasn’t a huge fan of Someone We Know, which reminded me a lot of Hold Tight by Harlen Coben (I only realized this as I was watching the Hold Tight adaptation on Netflix.
Please come and discuss that book or the Hold Tight Netflix adaptation here. ) or of The End of Her, which started out strong but sort of descended into chaos at the end. I haven’t read Lapena’s lowest rated books, An Unwanted Guest or A Stranger in the House.
Which Shari Lapena Book Should You Read?
Shari Lapena reminds me a bit of Harlan Coben. Both are masters of plotting, juggling a lot of subplot balls in the air and including a lot of different POVs. Both write fast-paced, plot-driven books that won’t be for readers who like a lot of character development or atmosphere.
If you love authors like Liane Moriarty or Sally Hepworth, definitely read Not a Happy Family. Like Hepworth’s and Moriarty’s books, Not a Happy Family is rooted in family relationships and dysfunction.
If you are all about twisty domestic thrillers by authors like Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Shepherd or Liv Constantine, then I’d try The Couple Next Door.
Both of my favorite Lapenas also have a true crime feel. I’m working on a post of fiction inspired by true crime, and I will definitely have these two on that list. If that sounds like something you’d like, be sure to subscribe to either my weekly email or my monthly thriller and mystery newsletter. Or both! You can do that HERE or at the top of this post!
I want to know which Shari Lapena YOU think is the best, so please argue your case in comments. All opinions are welcome and I respond to all comments, so be sure to click the bell next to the comment box to be notified of replies!