Recently, I read what I believed to be one of the best mysteries I'd read in years. Until the last few pages.
I was disappointed in the ending only because the rest of the book was so good, a twist of ginormous proportions was needed. The writing, the setup, the twists before the end, demanded a different end, one that didn't leave me saying "What? No!"
This is only my personal opinion. I gave the book 5 stars on Amazon because it was that good but I needed to rewrite the ending for my own satisfaction.
Reading a mystery is like playing a game. The reader plays along, guessing, working every angle to determine what the writer might end up with in the final pages to bring the whole puzzle together. It's a difficult process and I'm constantly working on how to make my writing better so that one day I'll be able to write a novel as good as The Couple Next Door.
Because I was thinking the book would end differently and I came to think my ending was pretty damn good, I decided to presumptuously pen out what I thought would happen. Lapena's ending to the story was very good, but not satisfying to me, as a reader. Hundreds (possibly thousands) of people loved the book, including many NY Times Bestselling authors. This is just my lowly opinion.
Given that the novel's title draws attention to the people who live next door, I was expecting a bigger/different tie in to the neighbors. My next words will only make sense to someone who's read The Couple Next Door, a New York Times Bestseller
Here is the outline of what I thought would happen in the last few pages:
The father takes the duffel bag of 2 million dollars to the ravine in the middle of the night and Ann follows and sees that the bag is given to a stranger. Marco has been watching the house and ends up sneaking along behind Ann and gets the car's license number. He tracks the license to Graham's secretary.
It's revealed that Cynthia was having an affair with the father, with Graham's knowledge, all as part of the plan. Cynthia and Graham were plotting this crime all along with the idea of taking the money and leaving the Father high and dry. With all 7 million dollars in their secret bank account, Cynthia leaves Ann's father with nothing. Ann's mother divorces him, and leaves him penniless but they don't turn him in for the murder of the original kidnapper in the cabin.
The baby has been thriving with Graham's secretary who retires and moves away with her own cache of money and the couple next door gets away with the rest of the money.
OR the money is counterfeit and Cynthia, Graham and the secretary are left with nothing.
Marco and Ann decide to try to piece their marriage back together, agreeing to take it one day at a time with their precious baby.
That is the ending I envisioned, rather than the sad one that left me hanging and hopeless after developing a sympathetic relationship with Marco and Ann. Just one girl's opinion.
Phew! That made me feel better.
Kim Hornsby is the Author of Award-Winning The Dream Jumper's Promise available on Amazon Books. She is a Bestselling Supernatural Suspense Author who lives in the Seattle area where she writes during the rainy months.