The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger
Park Row Books: 9/17/19
eBook review copy; 384 pages
The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger is a very highly recommended
psychological thriller featuring survivors, murder, kidnapping, and
Rain is currently a stay-at-home mom taking care of her one-year-old
daughter, Lily. She left her career in journalism as radio news
producer to do this, but the lure of her career is calling her back,
especially when a man who escaped justice is found dead, in another case
of a vigilante murder. This could be a serial killer at work, with the
first case being the man who attacked Rain (Laraine) and kidnapped her
two friends, Tess and Hank, when they were twelve. Tess never came home
and Hank was held captive before he escaped. Their attacker
spent years in a psychiatric facility and after his release he was killed by an unknown assailant.
Rain and Hank were both traumatized by the event, but Rain has tried to set her past aside and move on. Hank is a
psychiatrist specializing in victims of trauma, but he realizes he is
still suffering the consequences of his attack and abduction. This
current case of a vigilante murder is the third known case and it brings
back memories for Rain, especially because there are similarities
between the three cases. Rain starts investigating her attack, looking
for clues to tie the three cases together.
The writing is excellent. Chapters tell the story through chapters
presenting the point-of-view of Rain, 12-year old Laraine, and Hank. The
opening chapter is through the mind of the vigilante, so this is a
given fact at the start. You may think you know the whole story, but the
suspense rises as the plot seems to indicate that something else,
something horrible is going to happen.... and then there is a huge,
unsuspected twist that changed the whole novel.
All the characters are extremely well developed and intricate as Unger explores their inner thoughts and motives.
There is a mid-way point where it feels like the plot may have stalled
out, but stay with the novel, note the details, and follow the story
carefully. As the narrative progresses and more information is
revealed, the lines between being a survivor and victim, right and
wrong, and crime and justice are blurred. The ending is explosive and
shocking. This was a solid four rating until the end, when it soared to a five.
My review copy was courtesy of Park Row Books