Friday, April 14, 2017
THE PERFECT STRANGER by Megan Miranda
In the masterful follow-up to the runaway hit All the Missing Girls, a journalist sets out to find a missing friend, a friend who may never have existed at all.
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?
I'm fairly new to the genre of psychological fiction. I've only been reading it for about a year now, and somehow I managed to miss reading Megan Miranda's ALL THE MISSING GIRLS, a novel that I've heard that many have loved. I started reading THE PERFECT STRANGER with a fresh perspective. I didn't have any previous knowledge of the author or of her previous book to rely on.
That being said, there are a few things that I look for when reading a psychological thriller. The first thing that I'm looking for is an author that keeps me guessing. If there is a plot twist or an aspect of the story that keeps me in suspense, then I consider the novel to be a success. THE PERFECT STRANGER definitely kept me guessing. Leah Stevens, our protagonist with a less-than-perfect past, is determined to find her missing roommate Emmy, who has disappeared, seemingly without a trace. However, as the novel goes on, we the reader start to wonder if Emmy even exists outside of Leah's mind. That aspect alone, the "does she or doesn't she" aspect, kept me reading on.
Aside from that, I also seek out psychological thrillers that are well-written with well-developed characters. I enjoyed author Megan Miranda's writing style very much, and I also liked her main character Leah. The ending of the novel could have been stronger, more daring even, but it was still mildly satisfying. There was a lot going on throughout the novel- a missing roommate, a potential love interest, secrets hidden in the past, and perhaps those aspects could have been simplified to focus more on the missing roommate, which I assume was intended to be at the heart of this story, but I still enjoyed these forays in to various other aspects of Leah and her surrounding environment.
Overall this was a satisfying read with enough twists and turns to keep me on my toes. Since that is the single most important thing that I look for when reading a novel in this genre, I can say that it was a success in my eyes and I can recommend it to someone who is looking for a read that will keep them guessing.
I voluntarily reviewed this novel. My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.