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Just the Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica: FAQs + Books Like It

I've read my fair share of domestic thrillers lately and as I do here, I've found books like those to recommend to you all. One of the books that pops up time and time again when I do that is Just the Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica. (Kindle | Kobo | Paperback)


Given how much it's come across my radar in such a short period of time, it seemed like now was the perfect time to give it a go myself. Now that I have, I'm glad I did. Is it the absolute best domestic thriller out there? I wouldn't say so. Is it enjoyable enough? Most definitely.


With all that said, let's answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the book and provide you with a few recommendations for books like Just the Nicest Couple to read next. (Warning: This article contains spoilers)

Just the Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica

What is the Book Just the Nicest Couple About?

Mary Kubica's domestic thriller, Just the Nicest Couple, is about two seemingly perfect couples and what happens after one of them goes missing. Here is the official description:


"Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first, his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found. Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and coworker, thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered."


How Long Does It Take to Read Just the Nicest Couple?

According to How Long to Read, it will take the average reader approximately 5 and a half hours to read Just the Nicest Couple.


Who Narrates Just the Nicest Couple?

Just the Nicest Couple is narrated by two characters - Christian (Lily's husband) and Nina (Jake's wife).


Who Are the Main Characters in Just the Nicest Couple?

As with many domestic thriller novels, Just the Nicest Couple, has a small cast of main characters. Those characters include:

  • Lily Scott - High school algebra teacher, Christian's wife, Nina's coworker

  • Christian Scott - Market research analyst, Lily's husband

  • Nina Hayes - High school teacher, Jake's wife, Lily’s coworker

  • Jake Hayes - Surgeon, Nina's husband

  • Nina's sick mother


Does Jake Hayes Die In Just the Nicest Couple?

Yes - Jake dies in Just the Nicest Couple. After going missing, his body is found in Langely Woods and it is confirmed he died from a gunshot wound.


Who Is the Killer In Just the Nicest Couple?

The killer in Just the Nicest Couple is Nina's mother. After finding out that Jake was cheating on her daughter, Nina's mother follows him into the woods and hides while he meets with Lily. After Lily leaves, Nina's mother reveals herself and uses Jake's gun that she brought to force him deeper into the woods, where she shoots and kills him. She did it to get revenge for her daughter and to ensure her daughter got something out of the marriage, since if Jake had just left her for another woman, she would have likely walked away with almost nothing.


How Does Just the Nicest Couple End?

If you're reading Just the Nicest Couple, you should know it's not until the last 20 pages of the book that we finally get some answers. Here's how it ends exactly: After Nina finds Lily's missing earring in Jake's car and confronts her, Lily goes home and confesses to Christian that she was having an affair with Jake. The real reason she was in Langley Woods that day was to meet Jake and end the affair. Jake didn't take it well though and attacked her. Lily swears to Christian she fought him off with a rock, but never shot him. A few days later, she is arrested for Jake's murder.


It doesn't end there though. Around the time Lily is arrested, Nina receives a ticket in the mail that states her mother's car ran a red light on the day of Jake's death. Nina gets her mother to admit that her eyesight is not as bad as she made it seem and that it was her driving that day. Nina then learns her mother found out about the affair, took the gun out of the safe, followed Jake into the woods, and shot him after Lily left. Her mother did this because she believed if Jake didn't leave Nina for Lily, he would have left her eventually for another woman and would have left Nina with nothing. At the time Nina learns all this, she decides not to turn in her mother since the doctors confirmed her mother is dying from breast cancer. Eight months later though, we learn Nina's mother was released from prison given her "rapidly declining" health, so something must have changed.


Finally, we learn that Lily and Christian had their baby, are separated, and co-parenting. A paternity test was conducted and confirmed the child was Christian's. Meanwhile, Lily moved to another city and started teaching again.


5 Books Like Just the Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica

Are you hoping to find more domestic thriller books like Just the Nicest Couple to add to your to-be-read list? If so, here are five of the most similar books that seem the most worth looking into.


The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose

1. The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose

If there's one book that immediately came to mind when I was thinking of books like Just the Nicest Couple, it was The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose. Mainly, I recommend it because both books are about what a couple does when one of them is accused of murder. Here's what it's about exactly though: "Sarah Morgan is a successful defense attorney in Washington. Her husband, on the other hand, is a struggling writer who has had little success in his career. It doesn't help that he's frustrated by Sarah's ruthless work schedule. In fact, it's one of the reasons he engaged in a secret affair with Kelly Summers. Then, one morning everything changes. Adam is arrested for Kelly’s murder. She had been found stabbed to death in Adam and Sarah’s second home. Sarah soon finds herself playing the defender for her own husband, a man accused of murdering his mistress. But is Adam guilty or is he innocent?"


The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

2. The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

If there's one author (or in this case one team of authors) who I know you can always count on for a great domestic thriller, it's Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. While their book, The Wife Between Us, would also make a great follow-up, it's actually The Golden Couple that I think is more like Just the Nicest Couple. Here's what it's about: "Wealthy Washington suburbanites Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem to have it all - until Marissa is unfaithful. Beneath their veneer of perfection is a relationship driven by work and a lack of intimacy. Now, she wants to repair things and she's hoping Avery Chambers can help with that. Avery is a therapist who lost her professional license. Still, it doesn’t stop her from counseling those in crisis, though they have to adhere to her unorthodox methods. And the Bishops are desperate. When they glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger."


The Villa by Rachel Hawkins

3. The Villa by Rachel Hawkins

What I love about recommending you The Villa by Rachel Hawkins as a follow-up to Just the Nicest Couple is that it's not your run-of-the-mill domestic thriller. In fact, it's more like two domestic thrillers in one given that it's told as a dual-timeline. Here's the description for it: "Emily and Chess have arrived at Villa Aestas in hopes of reconnecting. Now it's a high-end holiday home, but in 1974, it was rented for the summer by a notorious rock star, Noel Gordon. In an attempt to reignite his creative spark, Noel invites up-and-coming musician, Pierce Sheldon to join him, as well as Pierce’s girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. In doing so, he sets in motion a chain of events that leads to Mari writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, Lara composing a platinum album - and ends in Pierce’s brutal murder. As Emily digs into the story in the present, she begins to think there might be more to it. Yet the closer she gets, the more tension she feels developing between her and Chess. As secrets from the past come to light, equally dangerous betrayals from the present also emerge - and it begins to look like the villa will claim another victim before the summer ends."


Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

4. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Easily the most popular book on this list, Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris not only has 500,000+ ratings and 40,000+ reviews on GoodReads, but it comes highly acclaimed and awarded. Like Just the Nicest Couple, it's a domestic thriller that will keep you guessing right up until the very end. Here is the description: "Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He’s a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker who dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’d like to get to know Grace better, but it’s difficult because Jack and Grace are inseparable. Some might call this true love. Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone or why she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows. Some might wonder what’s really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed."


The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager

5. The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager

If you're interested in another book like Just the Nicest Couple that doesn't just focus on a single couple but is still very much a domestic thriller, then The House Across the Lake is the book for you. Here's what it's about: "Casey Fletcher, a recently widowed actress trying to escape a streak of bad press, has retreated to her family’s lake house in Vermont. Armed with a pair of binoculars and several bottles of liquor, she passes the time watching Tom and Katherine Royce, the glamorous couple who live in the house across the lake. They make for good viewing—a tech innovator, Tom is rich; and a former model, Katherine is gorgeous. One day on the lake, Casey saves Katherine from drowning, and the two become fast friends. But the more they get to know each other—and the longer Casey watches—it becomes clear that Katherine and Tom’s marriage is not as perfect as it appears. When Katherine suddenly vanishes, Casey becomes consumed with finding out what happened to her. In the process, she uncovers eerie, darker truths that turn a tale of voyeurism and suspicion into a story of guilt, obsession, and how looks can be very deceiving."

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