Kimber Hannon’s belief that she has complete control over her life is shattered the night that she comes home from a trip to find her key no longer opens her front door. There is a stranger living in her house. A stranger who claims he has every right to be there, with the paperwork to prove it. When she confronts the man, he lets her get close enough to whisper, “I was there. I saw what you did.”
She doesn’t know how he knows her, but with those words Kimber knows this stranger isn’t after anything as simple as her money or artwork or charming Craftsman bungalow. She has to find out exactly what he wants and get him out of her carefully orchestrated life before he ruins it.
There are plenty of people in her life who might help, but should Kimber trust any of them? Her lawyer, Gabriel, is also her ex-lover; Diana, her best friend, doesn’t know Kimber slept with her husband; her ex-husband has a new, happier life since leaving her; and her co-workers know she’ll do anything to get her next sale. And no one can know the real reason this man is in her house. Without trust, everyone’s a stranger….
Kimber Hannon comes from to find the locks on her doors have been changed. A stranger has moved into her house, claiming he lawfully lives there. Except, the house belongs to Kimber and she most certainly did not give him permission to move in. From here, Kimber’s life spirals into a mystery as her past and present collide, and her paranoia makes her question almost everything and everyone around her. Why does someone want to ruin Kimber’s life?
There was a lot going on in this story. Two time period narrations, a handful of characters, and a number of events that kept this book pulpy, twist and juicy. The book really hit the ground running – it was tense, gripping. Really, there’s so much happening in this book, it made it a real page-turner; some bits were made obvious to the reader, but that only made me need to know how it plays out. This burning need to know what was happening continued throughout reading the book, but admittedly, the pace did slow down after that hard-hitting beginning.
The strengths and weaknesses of this story lies with its characters. The sense of injustice of what happened to Kimber made me automatically take her side. It was easy to empathise with her, because the situation she found herself in, would be a living nightmare. I actually asked my friends “hey, what would you do if you came home one night, and some creep changed the locks to your property, and claimed he lived there, lawfully?”. However, as the story progressed, I really began to dislike Kimber. Whether that’s what I was meant to feel, I don’t know. But sadly, it sort of made my interest in the story wither a little, and I wasn’t really as engaged as I had been, due to my growing dislike of Kimber. Toward the end of the story, there was an attempt to try and bring the reader round to like Kimber again, but the damage was done. I’d spent the novel progressively disliking her over hundreds of pages, so the closing pages were not going to repair the negative view of the character that was drawn. It was hard to empathise with any of the characters in the end, but whether this is the outcome the story intended, I’m not sure.
Regarding the other characters, something I liked was Kimber more or less began to suspect everybody in her life when paranoia took hold, and it seemed like they all had legitimate motives. And some motives were interconnected, which is all I can say without giving spoilers. It was impressive how intricate some parts of the mystery were. At times it became rather overwhelming and puzzling, so much so it affected my enjoyment of the story because the creation of some characters was writing overkill. I’m talking about you Don, and Mr. Tuttle.
Overall, The Stranger Inside was enjoyable. It was crazy, at times a bit much, but it was a tense and wild mystery that is easily devoured. I read the book over two days, and have decided to rate it 4 stars. This novel is for anyone that loves a tense mystery with an abundance of characters, and can get through a fluctuating pace. It really was a fun read.
The Stranger Inside by Laura
Published February 2019
*Thank you kindly to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an e-copy, in exchange for this honest review.