By: Helen Cooper
Narrator: Naomi Frederick
Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP Putnam
G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: 12/05/2023
My Rating: 4.5 Stars (ARC)
From the author of The Downstairs Neighbor and The Other Guest comes a propulsive suspense novel that asks how far you would go to keep a friend’s secret.
Lucy and her husband, Adam, have been best friends with another couple, Cora and Scott for years. The four are practically family at this point—they vacation together, co-own a beach cottage, and their young children are inseparable. So Lucy is devastated when, while looking at a colleague’s photos of a trip to the Malives, she spots a picture of Scott, apparently on a luxurious holiday with another woman.
Lucy is determined to protect her best friend from her husband’s seeming infidelity, but when she learns that the woman in the photo has gone missing, she can’t help but fear that Scott was involved. As she searches for answers, she uncovers secrets about her friends and her own husband that could destroy the wonderful lives they have built…and she suspects that everybody around her knows much more about the missing woman than they are letting on. Is Lucy actually the one most in the dark? If so, what are the consequences of discovering the truth?
Helen Cooper returns following The Downstairs Neighbor and The Other Guest, with her latest gripping domestic suspense, THE COUPLE IN THE PHOTO. —When a woman sees her best friend's husband in a photo with another woman, she has to decide how far she will go to keep this secret; however, she has no clue how far this web of deceit and lies will go that may impact her own family.
Lucy is married to Adam and has two daughters, Tilly and Fran. They are best friends with Cora and Scott. They (Taylors and the Waughs) co-own a beach Norfolk cottage, and their children are friends. Scott, Adam, and Cora went to the same university.
Lucy is at work and sees honeymoon photos from Ruth, her co-worker, and in one of the photos, she spots their friend Scott with another woman. She questioned her friend, and Ruth said they were a lovely couple, Jason and Anne, and they spent time together.
What was Scott doing in Maldives with another woman?
She comes home and tells her husband, Adam, but Adam says it cannot be him since he is in Japan. Cora and their children, Ivy and Joe, would be devastated. The Waughs were like family to her. They had been best friends for fifteen years.
She is determined to protect her best friend from possible infidelity, but when she learns that the woman in the photo has gone missing, she fears Scott was involved.
A chill washes over her when she sees the news of a British woman missing from an island resort in Maldives. Her name was Juliet Noor (not Anna), and she failed to return home. She apparently was staying alone and working on a novel. She was later found murdered.
Lucy is obsessed with searching for answers while it escalates, pouring over social media and this woman's past. Who is keeping secrets? She suspects Adam, Cora, and Scott know more than they are saying. Is she the only one in the dark? How deep does this go?
There is also a mysterious POV in italics that adds mystery and intrigue.
The plot thickens between the three regarding a cover-up from the past. What appears as a close friendship is anything but when the secrets and lies are unraveled.
When the truth comes out, how far this web of lies goes is explosive, starting from the past and its aftermath. There is something more sinister than an affair, and someone else winds up dead.
Wow! THE COUPLE IN THE PHOTO is my first book by Helen Cooper, and I look forward to reading more! Lucy was a great character and highly relatable. This story was realistic and could be ripped from today's headlines. What happens when you learn the truth? Two picture-perfect families with cracks that run deep below the surface.
The author cleverly builds suspense and tension as we follow Lucy, trying to make sense of everything and unravel the secrets. Lucy does not know the level of deception, lies, and manipulation from her husband and friends. No one is as they appear, except for Lucy—many pieces of the puzzle make for a great mystery with adults misbehaving.
Thought-provoking, an exploration of marriages, friendships, and secret pasts. A page-turning domestic suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
How well do you know those closest to you? From well-developed characters to a clever plot with unreliable narrators, for a twisty, engrossing domestic suspense of lies, deceit, manipulation, betrayal, and secrets—how many people and its aftermath ultimately affects marriages, friendship, and motherhood.
THE COUPLE IN THE PHOTO is for fans of Kimberly Belle, Robin Harding, Sally Hepworth, B.A. Paris, and Mary Kubica. I look forward to reading more from this author!
Thanks to PENGUIN GROUP Putnam and NetGalley for a digital advanced reading copy for an honest review.
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
My Rating: 4.5 Stars, rounded to 5
Pub Date: Dec 5, 2023
"A clever plot, richly characterized, that explores how choices can cascade to unravel a seemingly happy life." —Kirkus Reviews
"Readers will be sucked into this well-written, fast-paced, twisty tale."
"So many secrets . . . Another twisty, psychological thriller from author Helen Cooper. Fans of these types of novels will be happy with this one."
—Red Carpet Crash
"A sharply constructed puzzle of a mystery, full of surprising twists and turns about marriage, friendship, motherhood and how the truth really can be in the eye of the beholder."
—Kimberly McCreight, author of Reconstructing Amelia
"The Couple in the Photo had me hooked from the first page and I positively devoured this masterfully constructed tale of lies and deceit. An absolute must-read for all thriller fans."
― Sarah Bonner, author of Her Perfect Twin
About the Author
Photo credit: Photography by Gem (2020)
Helen Cooper is a writer of psychological thrillers from Derby, England.
She has taught English and Academic Writing in both Further and Higher Education and was Head of Learning Enhancement at the University of Birmingham. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University and has been published in Woman, Writers’ Forum, Mslexia, the Lincolnshire Echo, Derbyshire Life, and on the Crime Readers' Association website. She was shortlisted for the Bath Short Story Prize in 2014 and came third in the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize in 2018.
Her first novel, The Downstairs Neighbour, was published in February 2021 and her second, The Other Guest, came out in June 2022.
Helen has also co-authored two books on academic writing for university students, published by Bloomsbury Academic.
She loves reading, walking, pasta, and wine. WEBSITE