The Couple Upstairs by Shalini Boland

4 Stars from me

The story follows young couple Nina Davenport and her boyfriend Zac Ainsworth and begins as they move into (beautifully named) 15a Mistletoe Lane.

It is Nina who has pushed for the move and Zac goes willingly but it always felt like he was only ever 75% as keen. For me, this added a little sprinkling of unease from the start.

This flat with a garden is just perfect as the two are self employed, Zac is a self-employed plumber and heating engineer, and Nina has created an online fashion store which she brands as ‘Mistletoe Lane’.

There are some weird family dynamics at play (aren’t there always!) and Nina’s sister in law runs a high street fashion boutique which seems to be the root of ongoing tensions.

When Zac and Nina meet their neighbours, ‘The Couple Upstairs’ they seem to be potential new friends… Chris is outgoing and charming and and although Vanessa is quiet she gifts them a handmade cake.

Nina has almost immediate doubts about Vanessa and Chris and an impromptu dinner party does little to allay her concerns – despite Vanessa’s assurances that her pregnancy is making her feel unwell, Nina has doubts that Chris is as nice as he seems.

The book promises to share a tale of a sweet and idyllic life for the central characters who appear to have it all – Nina has found an investor to help her get the business up and running and they live in a beautiful home near the sea.

It doesn’t take long however for a creeping feeling of uncertainty and an air of unease to waft from the the pages and seemingly inconsequential little ‘issues’ start to build up and take over Nina’s life.

I really enjoyed the way the drama built in innocuous waves as the story progressed and the climactic elements had added atmospheric triggers.

For me this was pure entertainment with an edge of peril and I greatly enjoyed it – towards the end of the book as the edges unravel around Zac and Nina you will need to brace yourself for a fast paced rocky ride! You were warned…

Blurb: Our new home was supposed to be a chance to leave our past behind. But was moving here the worst mistake of our lives?

All our friends and family were gathered, glasses raised to toast our fresh start. It should have been a night for happiness and celebration. Zac and I had worked so hard for this: our first home together, just minutes from the sea. But the dream quickly turned into a nightmare…

We’d invited our neighbours too. I wanted to make a good impression – to show them we’re exactly the sort of people they want living on their street.

I hadn’t thought about who they might be, the strangers I was letting in.

It was going so well. There was laughter in the air and the wine was flowing. But then I noticed the narrowed eyes, the whispers.

And then the lights went out.

As my heart thumped in my chest, all the little things that had been going wrong since we moved here flashed through my mind: the food poisoning, the arguments, the flood of nasty reviews shaking my business.

Am I going crazy? Or is someone trying to destroy us?

From the USA Today bestselling author Shalini Boland comes an absolutely heart-thumping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl and The Wife Between Us.

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