Debut thriller The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena (Transworld) has been named as W H Smith's Book of the Year for 2016.
Praised by the retailer as "a real page turner" and "one of the most talked about thrillers of the year", The Couple Next Door was selected from a line-up of this year’s bestsellers that have "taken the market by storm". It will now be featured as the 2016 Book of the Year in all high street stores across the country and be available online at www.whsmith.co.uk. There will also be a special gift edition of the book available in store from today (1st December).
The book chronicles what happens after a young couple leave their six-month-old daughter at home to attend "a boozy dinner party" next door, after their babysitter cancels at the last minute. They return home to discover the baby is nowhere to be found and the mystery begins.
It was won by Frankie Gray, senior commissioning editor at Transworld, in a "hotly contested" auction last year.
Sandra Bradley, WH Smith head of fiction, said: “I am absolutely delighted that The Couple Next Door is the W H Smith ‘Book of the Year’ for 2016. It’s such a thrilling read – and our customers have loved it too.”
Lapena, who first worked as a lawyer and an English teacher before her writing career took off, added: "I am thrilled that The Couple Next Door has been chosen as Book of the Year 2016 by W H Smith. It is such an honour."
Waterstones has also named its Book of The Year today (1st December) - Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent (Profile Books) - while Foyles selected the Man Booker prizewinning title The Sellout by Paul Beatty (Oneworld) as its pick of 2016.