June 17, 2017

The Perfect Stranger - Megan Miranda

Simon & Schuster, April 11, 2017.

Four Stars

Leah Stevens is a disgraced journalist who has to leave Boston, after being accused of fabricating a source and ruining a man’s life. She is facing a restraining order and a potential lawsuit, when she runs into an old college friend, Emmy Grey, who offers her the perfect escape. Emmy is moving to rural Pennsylvania to escape a troubled relationship, and she invites Leah to share the rental house with her.

Leah is relieved to have a chance to start over – she gets a job teaching at the local high school and tries to put her past behind her, slowly adapting to quiet, small-town life. But just when things are starting to settle down, a woman is assaulted near Leah and Emmy’s house – and she bears a striking resemblance to Leah. Before she can understand what exactly this means for her, Leah realizes that Emmy has disappeared – a possible victim of the same attacker.

Detective Kyle Donovan works with Leah to search for clues about Emmy’s whereabouts, but they both soon realize that Leah knows very little about her friend – in fact, Emmy’s entire existence is called into question. She has no social media presence, and no paper trail leading to her supposed jobs and residences. To make matters more complicated, Leah’s intimacy with Kyle begins to jeopardize the whole case – as her credibility is called into question, Leah must confront her own past to clear her name and save Emmy. Before long, it seems like everyone in their small Pennsylvania town has shocking secrets to hide.

This slow-paced thriller is filled with clever twists, made all the more eerie by how real they seem – the circumstances Leah finds herself in could happen to anyone, and it forces us to question how well we can ever know the people we call friends. The reality of Leah and Emmy’s lives is uncertain and unreliable, with the ground constantly shifting beneath the reader. Although I didn’t love the characters, I did begin to really believe in them, and their very bad decisions. Their story was dark and complex – even though I guessed some things, it all came together in a very unexpected and satisfying way.

I received this book from Simon & Schuster and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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