Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

Karen has been in an accident. The police investigating think it was drugs or something worse. Karen herself can't recall. 

When the body of a man is found near where the accident occurred, Karen is immediately suspected. Evidence begins to mount against her and the police are dead set on proving her guilt. But Karen still can't remember the events that led to her accident. She's certain she's no killer, but even her husband has begun to wonder...

Twisty and turny certainly describes Lapena's latest, but I can't say it completely worked for me as a reader.

Karen has no memory of the accident - why she was where she was (which was not a great part of town) or why she sped out of there in such a hurry. Certainly when the body of an unidentified man is discovered nearby it does look suspicious.

The cop on Karen's case is dogged and determined. From the start he's sure she can't have been up to anything good. And when the police investigating the murder find out there was an accident nearby that matches the time of death on the body, that same cop is fairly quick to assume Karen had to have been involved.

So that's frustrating.

But what really frustrated me about this one is Karen's husband. He pretty immediately loses faith in his wife. Even though he has secrets of his own. He's easily manipulated - and it's clear that someone is manipulating them even before it's reveled that Karen has become paranoid about people in her house.

Throughout the story, Tom is adamant that he loves his wife. That he can't imagine life without her. But the minute she can't (or won't) tell him where she's been, he turns on her!

A Stranger in the House relies a bit too much on the popularity of similar titles that have come before, in my opinion. It's not really strong enough on its own to work but obviously appeals, at least in description, to readers who enjoy unreliable narrators and suspense. And yet, by the time the story rolls around to its conclusion, the twists have proven not to be twisty enough and the story just a little cliche to truly hit the mark.


Sab Fox said...

I'm going to have to agree with you. For some reason this genre has spiked this past year, and there are so many books out there like this one it's hard to find one that actually surprises you.

Kay said...

Hmmm...yours is not the first review I've read that expressed frustration with this book. I own it, but haven't rushed to read it. I did like the previous book by Shari Lapena. And the whole 'non-supportive yet professed loving' husband is annoying. I think it will stay in my TBR for a while. ;-)

Dianna said...

This was on my TBR list. It sounds a lot like The Breakdown and though I really liked that book, I don't necessarily want to keep reading the same plot outline.