This summer, Doubleday Canada will publish A Stranger in the House, Shari Lapena’s hotly anticipated follow-up to her blockbuster 2016 thriller, The Couple Next Door. But, somewhat surprisingly, the Aug. 15 Canadian pub date does not represent the book’s world premiere. A Stranger in the House will be released in the U.K. several weeks earlier, on July 26.
The staggered dates reflect the way the publication of The Couple Next Door rolled out, according to Amy Black, publisher of Doubleday Canada Publishing Group. “As with Shari’s The Couple Next Door, the U.K. is pubbing a few weeks before us because, I believe, they prefer having a bit of distance from their fall books to make the most of retailer merchandizing,” Black says. “Waiting until late August runs the risk of colliding with fall promotions.”
Black also says that having the book available earlier in the U.K. gave The Couple Next Door an initial boost when it appeared in North America, because positive reviews, strong sales, and word of mouth were already in motion.
“The U.K. success seemed to start the North American momentum last year,” says Lapena about her experience publishing the previous novel, her first domestic thriller, following a pair of literary novels. The book went on to become the bestselling Canadian novel of 2016. “I’m really looking forward to working with the same teams that published The Couple Next Door; they’ve been so enthusiastic about both books.”
The U.K. edition of A Stranger in the House is being released by Penguin U.K. Doubleday is doing a simultaneous release of the book in Canada and the U.S.
The new novel tells the story of a husband who returns home to find that his wife has fled in a hurry; when she is discovered in a bad part of town and can’t remember the events of the evening, he begins to question whether she might be living a secret life.