Book Reviews

The Perfect Stranger

Author: Megan Miranda
Published Date: April 2017
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Hardcover: 337 pages
Stars: 3

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 have mixed feelings about this book. I wanted to like it. I feel like I should have liked it. It has a lot of the elements that I’m usually drawn to – a mystery to solve, and an intriguing plot – but it fell short for me. I think there was too much going on. You have two women who look a lot alike (one turns up dead), a teacher, a detective, a woman who may or may not have existed, a college professor from 8 years ago, his girlfriend, another woman named Melissa, who may or may not be a new character in the book, and a couple of high school kids. You also have a stolen identity, a suicide, a romance, deception, a little stalking… it’s enough to make my head spin! There were times when I was so confused!

That being said, I think there will be plenty of people who really like this book. The author has a seamless way of interweaving the past with the present. The story being told in first person really allows us to get inside Leah Stevens’ head and experience things right along with her. It’s a great puzzle to solve and you’ll get satisfaction when the pieces finally click into place, but for me I felt there were too many pieces to the puzzle.

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