Simon & Schuster
April 11, 2017
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In the masterful follow-up to the runaway hit All the Missing Girls, a journalist sets out to find a missing friend, a friend who may never have existed at all.
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?
Megan Miranda writes some great YA books (like Fracture), but after reading both All The Missing Girls and now The Perfect Stranger, I might like her adult books even more! Our main character Leah Stevens has run away to rural Pennsylvania for a fresh start, to get away from things in Boston. With her career as a journalist seemingly at an end, the threat of a lawsuit and her reputation in tatters, the peaceful, small town where they don't know her seems like it will work. Only Leah's roommate Emmy Grey knows anything about why Leah has left the newspaper and taken up teaching high school.
Then the quiet, peaceful town isn't so removed from the crime and death about which Leah used to write. A woman is attacked and left for dead - a woman who, if one wasn't careful, could be mistaken for Leah. Then, Emmy disappears.
Leah is a great character to have at the heart of this novel. We know something big, something bad happened in Boston. We know that it caused her to leave not only her job but the city, as well. I liked that we learn the history of just what 'that' was in increments. We're presented more with how anxious and worried it has made Leah about someone discovering who she was, what she did, than with the details and facts; it only adds to the tension and suspense.
This is a mystery that kept me guessing the whole way through. It would seem like something was revealed or explained, only to have it called back into question pages or chapters later. Between the unknown of just why Leah had to quit her job, what lead up to it (both immediately and farther into her past) and all of the questions asked when Emmy disappears, readers have to go more with who they can trust, what they believe and feel than with facts. (At least, most of the time.)
We know our main character is keeping secrets, it is just a question of how many of them she's keeping. And who has been keeping some from her.
The Perfect Stranger is a thrilling read, full of twists, turns and surprises that really will keep you guessing until the end.
digital copy received for review, from publisher, via NetGalley