My Rating: 3 / 5
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.8 / 5
The Perfect Stranger is sure to be a best seller this summer after the success of All The Missing Girls, Miranda’s hit of 2016. However, I fear some thriller readers may be disappointed. I’ve been a long time fan of thrillers but recently I feel like the genre has become overly saturated, and a lot of the stories are starting to fall flat for me. When I read a thriller I want it to fully capture my attention, take me on a twisty and wild ride, then shock me in the end. This book unfortunately failed to fully capture my attention or shock me in the end. In a genre that seems to be flooded with new releases weekly, this one fails to stand out for me, and I doubt it’s one I will remember much of months from now.
In The Perfect Stranger we are introduced to Leah Stevens, a former journalist trying to escape a dogged past. After a stranger shows up dead near her home, and her flighty roommate doesn’t come home for several days, Stevens wonders if the two may be connected. Meanwhile, she’s still dealing with the secrets of the past she’s worked so hard to keep hidden.
Miranda writes a fantastic unreliable narrator. I was never sure if Leah was completely sane, and often found myself questioning all of her memories and even if her roommate ever actually existed. The other characters are equally untrustworthy. I’ve read reviews that complained the characters were all unlikable or they couldn’t connect to the characters. I actually found this a strength. I enjoyed not knowing who to trust. Even her seemingly nice co-workers I found myself occasionally questioning. This added a real level of suspense and tension for me.
After a slow beginning, the middle to end really pick up. I read the second half of the book in one day, after spending three days trudging through the first half. I wished the pacing had been this fast throughout, but once it did pick up I was glued to the page.
In my opinion, the web she weaves is too tangled. There’s three different mysteries all playing a part in this book. I had a hard time keeping the details and names of each case straight. Also, many of the memories were just quick, incomplete, glimpses. This left me feeling confused throughout most of the book, and not in a good way.
The ending was unsatisfying. A thriller hinges on its ending. The book can be fantastic, but if the big reveal is a let down it leaves a sour taste in the readers mouth. There were elements of the reveal that were shocking, but the full picture felt like the easy way out. I also felt like the last two to three chapters were full of info-dumping, as if all of a sudden the author realized she needed to wrap things up and there was no clean way to do it.
Personally, if you’re not an avid thriller reader I think you’d enjoy this more than I did. I’ve read so many, at this point I can’t help but to compare each new one to the fantastic mysteries I’ve read in the past. If you’re dipping your toes in the genre, or you read Miranda’s past books and loved them, go ahead and give this one a shot.