Someone We Know starts off with a murder- a pretty horrific one- and from there we segue to a teen named Raleigh who has been breaking into people's houses for fun and hacking their computers. What is he seeing on those computers? Well, apparently all kinds of things. The story from there becomes a bubbling ferment of lies, rumors and secrets, playing out against the backdrop of a ritzy neighborhood. No one here is necessarily likable- well, I take that back, there are a few who aren't too bad- but by and large everyone here has something to hide, or at least has the usual human foibles. I mean, how well do you really know your neighbors? Or for that matter, your spouse? Your kids?
That's the truly fascinating premise at the heart of this story. Growing older, watching marriages change and kids grow up, things not always happening like you thought they would- lots of people can relate to that. What happens when a murder rocks this neighborhood however? It turns out that a woman living in one of the houses Raleigh broke into is murdered, and pretty soon there are lots of suspects, and everything comes out into the open. Lots of secrets, affairs, and misdirection in this one.
I wasn't sure I was going to like this book at first. The perspective shifts rapidly, often multiple times per chapter, but the chapters are short and punchy. And the story flows. I just thought that I wasn't getting to really know any of these characters, other than at a surface level. We get their thoughts as events spiral out of control, but with the constant POV shifts we don't really get a deep dive into anyone. It's more like just reading a narrative of event after event. Over time, however, I changed my mind and by the midway point I was hooked. And to be fair we do learn a lot about these characters- but there are so many twists and zigzags I can see why the author structured it this way.
I had no idea who the murderer would be- some of the suspects seem obvious, you know? And even though I felt a little bit like the eventual revelation was a little out of left field, it's a great twist. You can relate and sympathize with a lot of these people, even if you occasionally hate what they do, but they're all (mostly) trying to do the right things. I changed my mind about several of them several times! Raleigh, for example. Seems like a nice kid, feels bad that he's putting his parents through a hard time, but just when I thought maybe he wasn't so bad he does something dumb. You never can tell what people will do, and the author reflects that in this story.
So I came away impressed with this book. I've read one other book by Shari Lapena and liked it a lot, but I think this one was more gripping. And that end- wow.