The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda
Publishing Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
The Premise from the Publisher: "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?" (SS).
My overall thoughts and review: Megan Miranda is also the author of All The Missing Girls, which I haven't read yet but I definitely plan to at some point. I knew a lot of my fellow co-workers were excited for this new book by her and so here we are! I decided to check it out. The premise sounded interesting enough and I really found the tag line "When your best friend becomes your worst nightmare" quite intriguing. You are immediately thrown into Leah's world in Pennsylvania where she just learns of a woman being attacked close by, and someone who kept calling her was picked up as a possible suspect. Leah escaped her previous life in Boston and you don't learn right away what exactly happened, but she escapes with an old friend and previous roommate, Emmy. The reader learns of Emmy from Leah's memories of her and it becomes clear that Emmy is quite a mystery. Leah only knows minor facts but not actual things you would need to tell a police officer when filing a missing persons report. With not seeing Emmy for a few days, it seems normal at first to Leah because of their divergent schedules. However, she quickly becomes worried for her roommate and does some investigation. What the reader untangles is two mysteries: what happened to Emmy and who was responsible for the woman that was assaulted. They seem to be separate cases, but soon they begin to come together. It was quite a good mystery and had me guessing at some main points. My biggest gripe with the book though and why it doesn't earn a full four stars from me is that I found the characters, even Leah, so unlikable. I've read books before where none of the characters were likable, but this was a different case entirely. I began to simply not care about Emmy or Leah, and the mystery of Emmy wasn't really something I was highly invested in. Towards the end, I found it quite predictable as well and the climax was.. well anti-climatic in my opinion. It didn't surprise me when it was done and I was anticipating an even bigger twist at the very end. There were moments of suspense but I found that was more in Leah's past and what happened that led to her leaving Boston. Where Leah's memories of Emmy would've built a stronger sense of betrayal for the reader, it simply left me not caring about her. I did like the character of Kyle quite a lot and I found Miranda's writing of some of the students down right creepy; so kuddos for that! Overall, it is a decent psychological suspense read. I think fans of The Widow by Fiona Barton and The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware will definitely enjoy this.
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮ (3.5/5 stars)
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Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions of the book are my own.