#Book review # Someone we know by Shari Lapena

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?

Join the Conversation


  1. Sounds like a good book! I read The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena earlier this year (at least I think it was the same author) and mostly enjoyed it. I thought it was a little predictable but it kept me turning pages.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This one was particularly interesting. One part was fairly straightforward, while the other one required more attention and even imagination. The combination seemed to work really well. Thank you for your kind words, I’m still new to blogging and your encouragement means a lot to me.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gianmarco,
      Everything’s fine, just a busy week. How are you? Are you enjoying the arrival of autumn?
      With poetry nobody can ever say they understand completely what the poet was saying, you just construct your own meaning, a vision or an impression…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i’m fine, so so
    anyway autumn has arrived it’s cold outside but autumn is beautiful anyway
    so, no i thinking about if you can read my leanguage (that’s all) so (if i can) are you english ? american ? i want tell you absolutely the truth ’cause I always say what I think
    so, when read your post i don’t understand to much but enough to understand the topic
    i know my leanguage is hard for many reasons and your leanguage for me the same but i went with my brother in U.S. in 1990-1999-2001-2000-2004-
    2008-2010-2012-2013 but i never learn to spoken in right way , owever all my books are “born” in U.S. (my second home) always

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Italian is a beautiful language, but it is so rich in subtle meanings and turns of phrase that I will probably never master it to the degree I’d love to. I’ve been learning it for about ten years, still, I can’t say I understand everything in your posts. I’ll try to get your book and hopefully it will become clearer.

      Liked by 1 person

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