Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Perfect Stranger - Megan Miranda

Summary: 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? (Summary and pic from

My Review: There’s just something really fun about a good mystery. There are different types of mysteries, of course. You’ve got the fun and light mysteries, the low commitment mysteries, the gory mysteries, the hard core mysteries, the thriller mysteries…I could go on but you get my drift. I do enjoy mysteries, actually, and I’ve read quite a few of them from many various persuasions over the years. I have a sister-in-law who is a mystery junkie, but she really enjoys the Scandinavian thriller types, as well a lot of classics from heavyweights in the field. She also enjoys trying to solve the mystery beforehand. She’s one of those who watches lots of mystery shows as well (favoring the British variety) and knows whodunit despite even the best red herrings coming into play.

I am not like this.

Oh, I’m sure I could solve the mystery if I really put my mind to it. However, I try consciously not to. I like to be taken for a ride by the author, and I feel like that’s half the fun. They guide you, they show you, they manipulate you, and all the while you know it’s happening and I just like to let it happen. In fact, I don’t like it when it’s super obvious what happens. There should always be a little bit of a surprise or a little bit of a twist. That makes it fun. There’s a certain skill to this, though. The author can’t be clunky lest I figure out their game.

The Perfect Stranger is not a super serious mystery. It is mysterious all right, and it’s got a really interesting human factor in it with interesting characters, but I wouldn’t say that it would take Sherlock Holmes an entire Netflix episode to puzzle it out. And probably not even one of those blips when he’s going through a hundred cases in an hour. I tried hard to stay neutral in the whole novel, even though I could see what the author wanted me to think. I don’t consider this a good thing, really, if it’s completely obvious how the author is trying to manipulate you. Contrary to my previous paragraph, I like to be led along by the author, but I don’t like to see it coming a mile away where I’m following Captain Obvious in a conga line. I mean, come on. Give me some credit. So I felt like this was manipulative in that way—like Miranda wasn’t quite able to pull off the nuances needed to make you think one thing when it’s actually another. However, I find this to be a fault in many super popular books, i.e. Girl on a Train. I didn’t love it like everyone else did for this very same reason. (Read my review here).

There are some fun little twists and turns and the writing makes for quick reading. There are some compelling characters, although some didn’t live up to their full potential, I think. They fizzled out for one reason or another. It’s not the best of the genre nor the worst, but if you’re into super popular mysteries that barely skirt the genre, this would be a great airplane book or one for something to just cleanse your palate. I used it for that and it fit my needs quite satisfactorily.

My Rating: 3 Stars

For the sensitive reader: There is language, and some minor sex and violence. I would say it rates on the lighter scale for the popular mystery genre.

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