A Perfect Stranger
A Perfect Stranger is a slow evolving storyline that has several different threads, woven together during the course of the book.
It is quite easy to connect to make the first two connections, but the third connection makes little sense until the very last chapter of the book, one I never suspected, and also thought was unnecessary as the book was almost flawless. This one piece, I felt, changed the entire course of the story.
Emily and Dani (Danielle) are two women from unique backgrounds, who are connected through their husbands. Marcus, Dani’s husband, owns a dealership of exotic expensive vehicles and makes good money. Aidan, Emily’s husband, is Marcus’ employee and their lives collide, as Aidan struggles financially. Emily and Aidan have a young son, Josh, and she is pregnant with their second child. Dani has been trying to get pregnant for a long time with no success, and she is initially resentful of Emily. When Aidan starts to behave strangely, always on his computer and phone, ignoring his family, there is a big reveal that changes the course of their lives. The three of them will need to move far away, change their name and completely disappear.
At the same time, Dani also senses changes in her perfect life. Marcus has become friends with a bunch of people who seem like thugs and don’t fit into their socio-economic background. She is continually coming home to strange people in her kitchen and backyard and when she confronts Marcus; he says they are his friends, though none of it makes sense. When he promises to scale back their visits and doesn’t, he starts to treat her differently. When Dani hires a private investigator to see what her husband is up to, she is shocked and realizes the course of her life is about to change.
Each character in A Perfect Stranger is a liar, hiding dangerous secrets. They are all complex, unreliable narrators and duplicitous. The actual plot is well thought out and suspenseful, which had me thinking of all the possible scenarios that could play out. Except, the one that actually plays out. However, the one character that I thought was actually reliable was holding the biggest secret. This is an excellent psychological thriller and keeps the reader on their toes. I had a hard time putting it down, and I loved the sense of dread throughout the entire book. I have not read Shalini Boland in the past but I am determined to go back and read her library.
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