Author: Shari Lapena
Published: August 15, 2017
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 8-19, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars
In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A domestic thriller packed full of secrets, and a twisty story that never stops—from the bestselling author of The Couple Next Door
He looks at her, concerned. “How do you feel?” She wants to say, Terrified. Instead, she says, with a faint smile, “Glad to be home.”
Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.
There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.
The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.
Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions.
Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.
I was getting nervous that I was in a ‘thriller slump’ as the last few I have read have been less than thrilling for me. A Stranger in the House definitely had me wondering what was going on throughout. Is Karen faking her amnesia or is it real? Is someone coming in the house? And if so, why?
And what about the murder that happened close by to where Karen’s accident occurred? The two stories intermingle with each other. The police detectives involved seemed to be enjoying figuring out the mystery as they come to conclusions along with the reader.
Everything added up to where you knew what was going on in the second part of the novel, but were not sure how it was going to end. It did become a bit too much like a soap opera for me, but the last few pages wound up the book nicely and we FINALLY find out everything. The ending had a bit of a mouth dropping moment for me.
You never really know who the stranger in the house may be…..
The Stranger in the House is recommended.
Author: Alex North
Published: August 20, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 5-14, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars
In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.
After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.
But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.
Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.
And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…
Did I just read the same book as all the others who have reviewed this one so far? The Whisper Man has been listed as “The Most Anticipated Read of Fall 2019”. Well, not so much for me as I am in the minority in my opinion of this novel.
I was expecting something along the lines of the movie The Mothman Prophecies. We have so many ideas of the boogey man (IE Slender Man) and then you add a serial killer of children who may or may not be ‘back’ 20 years later it sounds like a book that I would not want to put down, yet it was the total opposite. I was not attached to the characters and honestly did not really care what happened. I kept hoping there was going to be something that would click and pull me in. There were a couple of instances where that almost happened but the book just did not work for me. The only time where I was a little ‘freaked out’ was when the whisper man jingle was said and I heard it in the voice of the card that came along with my arc copy of the book.
The idea of this serial killer is frightening: a killer whispering in kids windows. The boogey man really does exist! It was just predictable as you knew what was going to happen with the main character. There is also a twist involving one of the police detectives and his past that was so extreme that it did not work for me. And if this had been ‘real life’ he would have had to recuse himself from the case. But did he???? No, and look at what happened.
Though The Whisper Man was not for me, if you like serial killer novels and/ or thrillers it may be for you as most reviews are glowing.
Many thanks to the publisher Celadon Press for sending me an arc copy to review. I wish my review had been a positive one.
Today Kim and I bring you a double review of The Perfect Son by Lauren North. One of us enjoyed it, the other not so much. This is what is great about reviews, we all have different experiences and opinions and even though we read the same book, we can have varying opinions of it.
The Perfect Son
Author: Lauren North
To Be Published: August 13, 2019
A disturbing and shocking debut novel of psychological suspense about a recently widowed mother, her young son, and the lengths she’ll go to in order to keep him safe.
When Tess Clarke wakes up in the hospital the day after her son Jamie’s eighth birthday, she’s sure of these things: She’s been stabbed, her son is missing, her brother-in-law and her grief counselor are involved. But no one is listening to her.
After her husband, Mark, died suddenly in a terrible accident a few months earlier, the only thing keeping Tess together is Jamie. As they struggle to make sense of their new life without Mark, they find joy in brief moments of normalcy like walking to school and watching television together. Life is hard without Mark, but Tess has Jamie, and that’s what matters.
But there in the hospital, confused and surrounded by people who won’t listen, Tess’s world falls apart. To save her son, she must piece together what happened between Mark’s death and Jamie’s birthday, but the truth might just be too much for her to bear.
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway and the cover really intrigued me, so I read it. What surprised me most was how easy to read it was. I finished it in less than 48 hours and I read huge chunks at once. Before I knew it, I was almost finished and I felt like I couldn’t put it down. The emotions were also very overwhelming. I know that many people will react to Tess they way they did with Rachel in The Girl on the Train; that she’s too weak and she’s a set back to women’s independence, and so on. For the record, I also really enjoyed The Girl on the Train.
Tess’s reaction to losing her husband sounds pretty reasonable to me. In fact, I experienced some pretty crazy anxiety while reading the first half of this book. All I could think about was how horrible my life would be if I lost Ivan. I will admit that I didn’t guess the ending of this book. I should have and I feel a little dumb that I didn’t, but in my defense, I had a million theories scrolling in my head through the whole book. I’d get one little detail and then I’d run with it and expand it into the most unlikely scenarios that weren’t even close to reality. Overall, I was happy with the ending.
Obviously, I can’t get into any details, but considering how predictable it actually was, I did enjoy it and was satisfied. I would recommend it to those who enjoy psychological thrillers, just be prepared for that predictability. Thankfully, there were other good things I got from the story other than just solving the mystery. A very good book!
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars
With an intriguing premise and a “pull you in from the first few lines” introduction, The Perfect Son had promise, but sadly it fell victim to “I read too many thrillers” as I had the big twist figured out from the first few chapters. It was also very slow moving and I was not attached to Tess. I felt for her with the grief she is experiencing, but is she just grieving, is she crazy, or is someone ‘after’ her and her son Jamie?
Tess is yet another unreliable narrator, and by now you know those are mainly a miss for me. Occasionally, the unreliable narrator works for me (see my review for The Woman in Cabin 10 here), but for the most part they miss the mark.
Even the ending had no conclusion; It was as if nothing was learned from the situation. This is North’s debut novel and even though it was not for me, I would give her writing another try.
Kim won two arc copies via Goodreads and she sent me one so we could do a double review.