Book Title: The Perfect Stranger
Author: Megan Miranda
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Genres: Mystery, Suspense Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Date Read: 05/01/17
Pub Date: 04/11/17
Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.
Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.
Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?
Last year I was blown away by Miranda’s adult fiction debut ALL THE MISSING GIRLS. The story being told in reverse, the memorable characters, the building suspense that caused me to hold my breath until the gut wrenching conclusion were all reasons it was one of my top reads of 2016. I say all this as a reminder to myself, since I tend to judge successful authors’ latest work against their uber successful previous books (unfairly), that I need to base my review of this book on simply that, THIS book. I think the general consensus seems to be that this one was nothing like ATMG, and while I was a part of that group, I also felt this had many strengths on it’s own if the reader can go about being unbiased.
I’ll admit, I did have a hard time connecting with the characters initially. Nothing they did seemed to make any sense and there wasn’t a realistic aspect to this wholly contemporary thriller. I don’t expect to like all the characters in any book, but here I didn’t have anyone I could root for; each character ranged from mildly obnoxious to widely unsavory. Alongside a really despicable cast, this story seemed much shorter than any of her previous novels and a little rushed. Whether you enjoy her books or not, Megan Miranda is a master at creating the type of suspense that causes you to park your rear and finish her books as quickly as possible. I’ve always felt that I can pick up one of her books when I’m in a dreaded slump because it’ll kick my brain into gear, and this book was no exception. She also really had me hooked on the relationship between Kyle and Leah; I could have read about them for much longer and felt that plot angle was really well done.
I hate writing reviews like this, because anything less than glowing has the potential to hurt the author when that isn’t the intention. I did end up bumping this to a 3.5 star because the tension and suspense completely surrounded me, I really loved Kyle/Leah, and I 100% respect the amount of work she put into writing this book. I think there are loads of people this book will be perfect for and will enjoy to it’s maximum potential; while those looking for deeper characterization and a fleshed out plot might be slightly disappointed, I think those readers who are looking for a lightning quick read full of exciting plot turns and suspense to keep you up late at night will be extremely satisfied. Megan Miranda is one of my favorite authors and I’ll continue to snag her books as soon as they come out. PS-prettiest cover of 2017? I think so!
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing a finished copy; it was my pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here.
Megan Miranda is the New York Times bestselling author of ALL THE MISSING GIRLS. She has also written several books for young adults, including FRACTURE, HYSTERIA, VENGEANCE, SOULPRINT, and THE SAFEST LIES. She grew up in New Jersey, graduated from MIT, and lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children. THE PERFECT STRANGER is her second novel of psychological suspense.
Follow @MeganLMiranda on Twitter and Instagram, or @AuthorMeganMiranda on Facebook. www.meganmiranda.com