What would you do if you accidentally discovered your lazy but so loveable teenage son has a dangerous hobby of breaking into your neighbours ‘ houses and hacking into their computers?
Would you consider writing an anonymous letter to apologise for his wrongdoing? Just to make sure that his prank e-mails do not have serious consequences? Isn’t it a decent thing to do? and if we, parents, do not do what is moral and decent, how can we expect our children to learn what is right and wrong?
This is what Olivia Sharpe thinks. Her husband and son, and their family lawyer are of a completely different opinion. The anonymous letters she has secretly sent her neighbours have enormous repercussions on the life of everybody in this close-knit suburban neighbourhood, because everybody here has their own secrets.
We know from the very beginning of the book that a horrendous murder has taken place. We know the murder weapon used and the fact that the murderer was male. We also learn the identity of the victim: Amanda Pierce, a new neighbour, is reported missing by her husband Robert. Two weeks later her beaten to death body is discovered in the trunk of their car that was sunk in a nearby lake. The murderer is someone who lives in one of these houses. It is in all likelihood someone we know… But to discover who it was and why, we’ll have to doubt every single person, no matter how nice and friendly they appear to be.
Despite its relative simplicity (there is a limited number of people involved), the plot is complex and frighteningly realistic. A husband is cheating on his wife after twenty years of marriage and grown-up kids. A bored and lonely housewife gets infatuated with a much younger neighbour after he shows her a morsel of attention. A teenager who used to be so well-adjusted and ‘problem-free’ is suddenly showing signs of teenage alcoholism. Another teenager gets a thrill from snooping around and spying on other people’s secrets. A couple who have always taken trusting each other for granted, but do not seem to be able to speak to each other about things which are important. All these characters and their lives are interlocked and interconnected in this superbly-written mystery.
The police are there and they are doing excellent work by continually discovering new clues and putting pressure on the right people. They also know when the suspect (or rather the suspects, because there are several) they arrested appears to be innocent and is to be released, because new evidence and new leads keep appearing and need to be checked out.
This is my first book by Shari Lapena and now I can see why her previous titles became bestsellers. The writing is incredibly compelling. ‘Someone We Know’ is a clever fast-paced whodunnit that will keep you entertained and might even give you the satisfaction of guessing the identity of the murderer before anybody else.
When the mystery is finally resolved and it all makes sense, you will still be asking yourself questions about how far people are willing to go to cover a crime committed by someone they know and love.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Pamela Dorman Books for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
- Have you read ‘Someone We know’ or is it on your tbr list?
- Have you read any other books by Shari Lapena? Since this is my first book by this author I’d be grateful for recommendations.
- What do you think of Olivia Sharp’s decision to write anonymous letters and apologise for her son’s wrongdoing?