The Perfect Stranger
Author: Megan Miranda
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Genre/Themes: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: April 11th 2017
Page Count: 337
*Disclaimer: An ARC of The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda was provided to me by Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.
Finally! Another novel by Megan Miranda! I absolutely loved All The Missing Girls and I have been eagerly anticipating her newest novel, The Perfect Stranger, for quite some time now. When I found out I had the opportunity to read an ARC of this novel as well as take part in the official Blog Tour, I was over-the-moon excited. I wouldn’t say that I had super high expectations for this story, but I was anticipating another amazing thriller.
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?
What I Liked
The mystery. Who doesn’t love a good psychological thriller with a little dash of mystery? I was constantly on the edge of my seat while reading The Perfect Stranger and I consistently needed more answers. I stayed up until crazy hours at night because I wanted to know what was going to happen next as soon as possible!
The complexity. This is a tricky topic to talk about as I included it in both the What I Liked section as well as What I Didn’t Like. I love when a good psychological thriller has an intricate storyline. I love when you can feel that there are multiple pieces to the story and you just need to keep reading to find out how everything is going to unravel and connect. The Perfect Stranger definitely had its moments where the complexity of the story worked in its favour.
What I Didn’t Like
The complexity. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Maria, didn’t you just include this topic as something that you liked?” Yes. It’s true, and while I thought that complexity was a great element to this story particularly, there were moments where it lost me. I got confused toward the end and I had to re-read a few sentences here and there to really understand what was going on.
The pace. This story was on the slow side for me. It took a while to pick-up and then when it finally did, I was left a little confused. Don’t get me wrong, there were some great moments in the middle and onward that totally felt like they were at the right pace, but it really did take a while for me to really get into the story.
The end. Yeah…not sure how I felt about this ending. As mentioned, it took me a while to figure out what the hell was going on. I just felt like something bigger and better was coming…but then it just never did.
I’ve been waiting for this novel for a while now, and I’m so glad I finally had the opportunity to read and review it. As mentioned, I absolutely LOVED All The Missing Girls and because of that I had really high hopes for The Perfect Stranger. While I wouldn’t say that my expectations were entirely met, The Perfect Stranger was a great book that had me at he edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it!
Q&A with Megan Miranda
Q1. All The Missing Girls was one of my favourite thrillers of last year! I loved that the story was told backwards, can readers expect the same level of complexity from The Perfect Stranger? Thank you! While The Perfect Stranger is told primarily in chronological order, I do think there is a bit of complexity—at least with the weaving of a few past and present storylines. I had to think about this question for a minute, because I didn’t set out to write it in a complex way necessarily. It’s more that I think about the way a specific narrator would choose to tell a story: what they would tell, what they would hold on to, and when they would need to reveal things.
Q2. What kind of research/planning do you do (if any) before writing a novel and how long do you usually spend doing it? Since I start with character before plot, I usually start writing before doing a lot of research. It’s when I realize what elements are going to be involved, and to what level, that I take a step back to research. Honestly, it really depends on the book! Sometimes it’s a matter of visiting a place to get more of a feel for a setting. Sometimes it’s talking to people in specific fields, or in law enforcement or the legal profession. Sometimes it’s watching documentaries and reading books. I would say it’s an ongoing process throughout the drafting phase—and sometimes during revisions as well.
Q3. I love that the front cover of The Perfect Stranger feels like it goes hand-in-hand with All The Missing Girls. How much say do you have in the creative process of your book covers? I really love the covers for both All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger, but I can’t take any credit for them. Any input I give is usually after the art department comes up with a concept, and my feedback is usually just: Yes, I love it! I really love how both books have a central element on the cover that really captures such an important piece of the plot, and that the covers also capture the feel and tone of the stories.
Q4. Have you ever loved a book so much, but literally have seen no one talk about it? What is your favourite under-appreciated novel? I wouldn’t say it’s underappreciated, but I’d say it’s less famous than other books by the same author: one of my favorite books is I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (who also wrote The Book Thief).
Q5. Your novels usually contain all kinds of twists and secrets. Do you ever hide anything within your novels that only a few certain close friends or family will find/understand? Not purposely, but there are definitely elements that I must subconsciously put in the books, that only my family or close friends tend to recognize.
About The Author
Megan Miranda is the New York Times bestselling author of ALL THE MISSING GIRLS. She has also written several books for young adults, including FRACTURE, HYSTERIA, VENGEANCE, SOULPRINT, and THE SAFEST LIES. She grew up in New Jersey, graduated from MIT, and lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children. THE PERFECT STRANGER (4/11/17) is her second novel of psychological suspense.
As always, thank you so much for reading my review of The Perfect Stranger! My review + Q&A is the first entry into the The Perfect Stranger blog tour which starts today! Don’t forget to check out the other four wonderful bloggers that will be participating in this blog tour!! Thank you for reading!