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Overview

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

"No-one does suburban paranoia like Shari Lapena—this slowly unfurling nightmare will have you biting your nails until the end."
—Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in Cabin 10

The new domestic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door, A Stranger in the House, and An Unwanted Guest, Shari Lapena


Maybe you don't know your neighbors as well as you thought you did . . .

"This is a very difficult letter to write. I hope you will not hate us too much. . . My son broke into your home recently while you were out."

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?

In this neighborhood, it's not just the husbands and wives who play games. Here, everyone in the family has something to hide . . .

You never really know what people are capable of.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525532279
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/30/2019
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 391,218
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 5.70(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

SHARI LAPENA is the internationally bestselling author of the thrillers The Couple Next Door, A Stranger in the House and An Unwanted Guest, which have all been both New York Times and UK Sunday Times bestsellers. Her books have been sold in 35 territories around the world. She lives in Toronto.

Read an Excerpt

 

Saturday, October 14

Olivia Sharpe sits in her kitchen drinking a cup of coffee, gazing blankly out the glass sliding doors to the backyard. It's mid-October, and the maple tree near the back fence is looking splendid in its reds and oranges and yellows. The grass is still green, but the rest of the garden has been prepared for winter; it won't be long before the first frost, she thinks. But for now, she enjoys the yellow sunlight filtering through her backyard and slanting across her spotless kitchen. Or she tries to. It's hard to enjoy anything when she is coming to a slow boil inside.

Her son, Raleigh, still isn't up. Yes, it's Saturday, and he's been in school all week, but it's two o'clock in the afternoon, and it drives her crazy that he's still asleep.

She puts down her coffee and trudges once again up the carpeted stairs to the second floor. She hesitates outside her son's bedroom door, reminds herself not to yell, and then knocks lightly and opens it. As she expected, he's sound asleep. His blanket is still over his head-he pulled it over his head the last time she came in, a half hour ago. She knows he hates it when she tells him to get up, but he doesn't do it on his own, and what is she supposed to do, let him sleep all day? On the weekends she likes to let him relax a little, but for Christ's sake, it's midafternoon.

"Raleigh, get up. It's after two o'clock." She hates the edge she hears in her voice, but she expends so much energy trying to get this boy out of bed every day, it's hard not to resent it.

He doesn't so much as twitch. She stands there looking down at him, feeling a complicated mix of love and frustration. He's a good boy. A smart but unmotivated student. Completely lovable. He's just lazy-not only will he not get out of bed on his own, but he doesn't do his homework, and he doesn't help with chores around the house without endless nagging. He tells her he hates her nagging. Well, she hates it, too. She tells him that if he did what she asked the first time, she wouldn't have to repeat herself, but he doesn't seem to get it. She puts it down to his being sixteen. Sixteen-year-old boys are murder. She hopes that by the time he's eighteen or nineteen, his prefrontal cortex will be more developed, and he will have better executive function and start being more responsible.

"Raleigh! Come on, get up." He still doesn't move, doesn't acknowledge her existence, not even with a grunt. She sees his cell phone lying faceup on his bedside table. If he won't get up, fine, she'll confiscate his cell phone. She imagines his hand flailing around, reaching for it before he even takes the covers off his head. She snatches the phone and leaves the room, slamming the door behind her. He'll be furious, but so is she.

She returns to the kitchen and puts his phone down on the counter. It pings. A text message has popped up. She has never snooped in her son's phone or computer. She doesn't know his passwords. And she completely trusts him. But this message is right there in front of her, and she looks at it.

Did you break in last night?

She freezes. What the hell does that mean?

Another ping. Get anything good?

Her stomach flips.

Text me when ur up

She picks up the phone and stares at it, waiting for another message, but nothing comes. She tries to open his phone, but, of course, it's password protected.

Her son was out last night. He said he'd gone to a movie. With a friend. He didn't say who.

She asks herself what she should do. Should she wait for his father to get back from the hardware store? Or should she confront her son first? She feels terribly uneasy. Is it possible Raleigh could be up to no good? She can't believe it. He's lazy, but he's not the kind of kid to get into trouble. He's never been in any trouble before. He has a good home, a comfortable life, and two parents who love him. He can't possibly . . .

If this is what it looks like, his father will be furious, too. Maybe she'd better talk to Raleigh first.

She climbs the stairs, the earlier love and frustration shoved abruptly aside by an even more complicated mix of rage and fear. She barges into his room with his phone in her fist and yanks the covers off his head. He opens his eyes blearily; he looks angry, like a wakened bear. But she's angry, too. She holds his cell phone in front of him.

"What were you up to last night, Raleigh? And don't say you were at the movies, because I'm not buying it. You'd better tell me everything before your father gets home." Her heart is pounding with anxiety. What has he done?

Raleigh looks up at his mom. She's standing over him with his cell phone in her hand. What the hell is she doing with his cell phone? What is she blathering on about? He's annoyed, but he's still half asleep. He doesn't wake up just like that; it's an adjustment.

"What?" he manages to say. He's pissed off at her for barging in here when he's asleep. She's always trying to wake him up. She always wants everyone on her schedule. Everyone knows his mom's a bit of a control freak. She should learn to chill. But now she looks really mad. She's glaring at him in a way he's never seen before. He suddenly wonders what time it is. He turns to look at his clock radio. It's two fifteen. Big deal. Nobody died.

"What the hell have you been up to?" she demands, holding his phone out like an accusation.

His heart seems to skip a beat, and he holds his breath. What does she know? Has she gotten into his phone? But then he remembers that she doesn't know the passcode, and he starts to breathe again.

"I just happened to be glancing at your phone when a text came in," his mom says.

Raleigh struggles to sit up, his mind going blank. Shit. What did she see?

"Have a look," she says, and tosses the phone at him.

He thumbs the phone and sees the damning texts from Mark. He sits there staring at them, wondering how to spin this. He's afraid to look his mother in the face.

"Raleigh, look at me," she says.

She always says that when she's mad. Slowly he looks up at her. He's wide awake now.

"What do those texts mean?"

"What texts?" he says stupidly, playing for time. But he knows he's busted. The texts are pretty fucking clear. How could Mark be so stupid? He looks back down at the phone again; it's easier than looking at his mother's face. Did you break in last night? Get anything good?

He starts to panic. His brain can't come up with anything fast enough to satisfy his mother. All he can think of is a desperate, "It's not what it looks like!"

"Oh, that's good to hear," his mom says in her most sarcastic voice. "Because it looks like you've been up to a bit of breaking and entering!"

He sees an opening. "It's not like that. I wasn't stealing."

She gives him an enraged look and says, "You'd better tell me everything, Raleigh. No bullshit."

He knows he can't get out of this by denying it. He's caught like a rat in a trap, and now all he can do is damage control. "I did sneak into somebody's house, but I wasn't stealing. It was more like-just looking around," he mutters.

"You actually broke into someone's house last night?" his mother says, aghast. "I can't believe this! Raleigh, what were you thinking?" She throws her hands up. "Why on earth would you even do that?"

He sits there on his bed, speechless, because he doesn't know how to explain. He does it because it's a kick, a thrill. He likes to get into other people's houses and hack into their computers. He doesn't dare tell her that. She should be glad he's not doing drugs.

"Whose house was it?" she demands now.

His mind seizes. He can't answer that. If he tells her whose house he was in last night, she'll completely lose it. He can't bear to think of what the consequences of that might be.

"I don't know," he lies.

"Well, where was it?"

"I can't remember. What difference does it make? I didn't take anything! They won't even know I was there."

His mom leans her face in toward him and says, "Oh, they'll know all right."

He looks at her in fear. "What do you mean?"

"You're going to get dressed, and then you're going to show me the house you broke into, and then you're going to knock on the door and apologize."

"I can't," he says desperately.

"You can, and you will," she says. "Whether you want to or not."

He starts to sweat. "Mom, I can't. Please don't make me."

She looks at him shrewdly. "What else aren't you telling me?" she asks.

But at that moment, he hears the front door opening and his dad whistling as he drops his keys on the table in the hall. Raleigh's heart starts to pound, and he feels slightly sick. His mother he can handle, but his dad-he can't bear to think of how his dad's going to react. He didn't anticipate this; he never thought he'd get caught. Fucking Mark.

"Get up, now," his mother commands, ripping the rest of the covers off him. "We're going to talk to your father."

As he makes his way down the stairs in his pajamas, he's sweating. When they enter the kitchen, his dad looks up in surprise. He can obviously tell from their expressions that something's up.

The whistling stops abruptly. "What's going on?" his dad asks.

"Maybe we'd better all sit down," his mother says, pulling out a chair at the kitchen table. "Raleigh has something to tell you, and you're not going to like it."

They all sit. The sound of the chairs scraping against the floor rips at Raleigh's raw nerves like nails on a chalkboard.

He has to confess. He knows that. But he doesn't have to tell them everything. He's more awake now, better able to think. "Dad, I'm really sorry, and I know it was wrong," he begins. His voice is trembling, and he thinks it's a good start. But his dad's brow has darkened already, and Raleigh's afraid. He hesitates.

"What the hell have you done, Raleigh?" his father asks.

He stares back at his dad, but the words don't come. For a moment, he feels completely paralyzed.

"He broke into somebody's house," his mother says finally.

"What?"

There's no mistaking the shock and fury in his father's voice. Raleigh quickly averts his eyes and looks at the floor. He says, "I didn't break in. I snuck in."

"Why the hell did you do that?" his father demands.

Raleigh shrugs his shoulders, but doesn't answer. He's still staring at the floor.

"When?"

His mother prods him with a hand on his shoulder. "Raleigh?"

He finally raises his head and looks at his dad. "Last night."

His father looks back at him, his mouth hanging open. "You mean, while we were here having friends over for dinner, and you were supposed to be at a movie, you were actually out sneaking into someone else's house?" His voice has grown in volume until, by the end of the sentence, his father is shouting. For a moment, there's silence. The air vibrates with tension. "Were you alone, or were you with someone else?"

"Alone," he mumbles.

"So we can't even console ourselves with the idea that someone else led you into this completely unacceptable, criminal, behavior?"

Raleigh wants to put his hands over his ears to block out his dad's shouting, but he knows this will only incense his dad further. He knows it looks worse that he acted alone.

"Whose house was it?"

"I don't know."

"So what happened?" His dad glances at his mom, and then back at him. "Did you get caught?"

Raleigh shakes his head, and his mom says, "No. I saw a text on his cell phone. Raleigh, show your dad the texts."

Raleigh unlocks and hands over the phone, and his dad looks at the screen in disbelief. "Jesus, Raleigh! How could you? Have you done this before?"

This is the thing about his father-he knows what questions to ask. Things his mother, rattled by shock, didn't think to ask. Raleigh has done it before, a few times. "Just one other time," he lies, avoiding his father's eyes.

"So you've broken into two houses."

He nods.

"Does anyone know?"

Raleigh shakes his head. "Of course not."

"Of course not," his dad repeats sarcastically. His dad's sarcasm is worse than his mom's. "Your friend knows. Who's he?"

"Mark. From school."

"Anyone else?"

Raleigh shakes his head reluctantly.

"Is there any way you might get caught? Security cameras?"

Raleigh shakes his head again, and looks up at his dad. "There weren't any security cameras. I checked."

"Jesus. I can't believe you. Is that supposed to make me feel better?"

"They don't even know I was there," Raleigh says defensively. "I was really careful. I told Mom-I never took anything. I didn't do any harm."

"Then what were you doing there?" his dad asks.

"I don't know. Just looking around, I guess."

"Just looking around, I guess," his dad repeats, and it makes Raleigh feel about six years old. "What were you looking at? Ladies' underwear?"

"No!" Raleigh shouts, flushing hotly with embarrassment. He's not some kind of a pervert. He mutters, "I was mostly looking in their computers."

"Dear God," his dad shouts, "you went into people's computers?"

Raleigh nods miserably.

His dad slams the table and gets up. He starts pacing around the kitchen, glaring back at Raleigh. "Don't people use passwords?"

"Sometimes I can get past them," he says, his voice quavering.

"And what did you do, when you were looking around in people's private computers?"

"Well . . ." and it all comes out in a rush. He feels his mouth twist as he tries not to cry. "All I did was write some prank emails from-from someone's email account." And then, uncharacteristically, he bursts into tears.

Reading Group Guide

1. Olivia is mortified by her son, Raleigh, breaking into neighbors’ houses. Do you think the apology letters were a bad or good idea? To what degree should parents feel accountable, or be held accountable, for the actions of their children? Discuss.

2. Both Glenda and Olivia want to protect their sons from the consequences of their actions. Do you see a theme here? Should parents step in or step back? Why?

3. Do you think the relationship between Olivia and Glenda is one of true friendship or something more layered? Can you be a true friend to someone who is hiding a big secret?

4. Suspicion and betrayal are a constant thread in Someone We Know. Is anyone in the book true to anyone else?

5. Olivia, Glenda, Raleigh, Becky, Carmine, Paul, Keith, and Larry are just some of the characters in the novel. Which character did you connect with the most? Whom did you sympathize with?

6. Psychological thrillers like to toy with characters’ and readers’ perceptions. Where did your sympathies lie as the story unfolded? How did they shift as the story progressed?

7. Thrillers love to ask the question, How well do we ever really know anybody? Do you think people in real life harbor as many secrets as they do in fiction? How far do you think fiction strays from real life? Do you think truth is actually stranger than fiction? Discuss.

Customer Reviews

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Someone We Know 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous 15 days ago
could not put it down! read it in one day. love her style of writing.
Anonymous 5 days ago
Good read - I couldn't put it down either.
Anonymous 8 days ago
Olivia Sharpe’s son has been breaking into homes. She tries to make it right as only a mother can do. But someone ends up dead. Did her son take his hobby too far? This great read will leave you guessing until the end!
Anonymous 8 days ago
couldn't put down
Anonymous 9 days ago
a shallow twisted tale
LeslieLindsay 10 days ago
Suburban noir, paranoia, and murder. No one does it better than Shari Lapena in her forth book, SOMEONE WE KNOW. Clear your calendar for about 18-24 hours, because this book will be wholly consuming. It could easily be read in one sitting, but those of us who feel obligated to sleep or let the dog out, go to work, or care for the children will still rush through in in no time, as I did. Shari Lapena is back with her forth book of domestic suspense, SOMEONE WE KNOW (July 30, Pamela Dorman Books/PRH) and it is not to be missed. I don't have a whole lot to say about this one, other than I LOVED it! Shari keeps you guessing right up to the last minute and even then, you still wonder... We start off with a gruesome murder. Someone is swinging a hammer and bludgeoning someone to death. But who? And why? We awaken to a sleepy, quiet middle-class neighborhood where the homes are well-tended, the neighbors seem 'nice and normal,' and then a text appears on a teenage son's phone. A mother looks. A glance, really. She's in his room because it's 2pm and he's still in bed. She learns her son has been breaking into houses. But not taking anything. Why? And then someone is murdered. On the same street. Everyone here has secrets--and they certainly aren't divulging all at once. Everyone becomes a suspect. There's great organic character depth and yet, SOMEONE WE KNOW is a simple, fast-paced read with plenty of twists and turns, which are all inevitable, mysterious, suspenseful, and smart. My only complaint...I finished reading too quickly. ; ) In terms of comps, there might be some similarities with Mary Kubica's work, and also Kelley Armstrong's WHEREVER SHE GOES and perhaps AN ANONYMOUS GIRL (Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks). But, really Shari Lapena in a class all on her own. Go get this book. You won't be sorry. L.Lindsay|Always with a Book
Anonymous 13 days ago
So many twists and turns. Definitely kept me guessing. Can’t wait for the next one.
SheTreadsSoftly 13 days ago
Someone We Know by Shari Lapena is a recommended domestic thriller. In Hudson Valley city of Aylesford, N.Y., we know a killer is in the neighborhood. Lawyer Robert Pierce reports his wife, Amanda, missing, but the police and neighbors think she left him. At Paul and Olivia Sharpe's house, they discover that their teenage son, Raleigh, has been breaking into neighborhood houses and hacking into their computers, learning their secrets. Olivia makes Raleigh show her the two houses he broke into and she secretly sends them anonymous letters apologizing for her son's actions. This sets off one of the recipients to start going house to house to discuss this home invasion and wanting to know who the teen is. Suddenly the information pipeline goes rampant and starts spilling over with all manner of personal secrets and promiscuous affairs. So, the plot does move along and suspects keep piling up as new information is uncovered. Lapena throws out all sorts of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. The characters, however, are not particularly well developed and there really isn't anyone you want to support. You might want to shake a few people and tell them to snap out of it, but they are all caricatures and don't feel like real people. While suspense keeps the novel rolling along, mainly because everyone is sleeping around - or with Amanda - and everyone is a suspect, none of the characters are memorable or interesting. Olivia is just plain stupid. What functioning adult would ever think it would be a good idea to send out anonymous letters telling people their house was broken into? Once she did that my interest and engagement in the plot plummeted. Basically, I didn't really care what happened to any of these people and kept reading for the big twist and final reveal. This is a novel to read for the suspense rather than the clever writing. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House
Renwarsreads 17 days ago
I heard some mixed reviews about this book, but I really enjoyed it. I liked the end and am hoping there is a sequel coming in the future. There were a lot of characters and couples that you had to get straight at the beginning but after that it was smooth sailing. I did guess out who was the murderer before we got to the end and that always disappoints me. This won't stop me from continuing to read books from Shari Lapena.