The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
After Miranda's first book, All the Missing Girls which blew me away, I had nothing but high expectations for this book. This book has no connections to the previous, yet still has an underlying theme of the darkness lurking at the edges of reality.
Leah Stevens is a crime investigative journalism, who had a falling out with her company because of libel charges that were put forth. So she decides to escape her past by moving into rural Western Pennsylvania with her mysterious roommate, Emmy. But the truth catches up with you and bubbles up to the surface, as Leah comes to learn again.
Two dead bodies are found in this town, which is a place for people to migrate to begin a new start. Leah decides that she wants to get involved in this case, because she has personally holding at stake, and also get involved with some insider information that leads her down a path or connecting the dots in this stories. I appreciate how the author gives us some snippets and mini-flashbacks, to give us clues. However, I think that it took our MC way too long to figure out this who-dun-it, and I started getting a little bit impatient and frustrated with the time frame.
I've never read a thriller like this before, because there was debate if the "missing girl" actually existed(was she an actual girl or just a figment of imagination), which I honestly felt like a cheap plot device or lazy writing. This was also written in chronological order in first POV, which has the standard format for thrillers that are exciting, yet in comparison to the unique format, this fell a little bit flat.
We are only in Leah's head, who is a likable but unreliable narrator, and has a scattered trains of thoughts and a mess in her life. After a certain point, I rather did not enjoy spending so much time from her perspective; it would have been much better to can an overall take-a-step-back view of the situation at hand. Honestly, at most points I viewed her as an untrustworthy source of information, because of course you can twist the facts like you want them and always view them through your lens.
With all of that in mind, Miranda still manages to deliver something deliciously mysterious. Her writing has the perfect mix of the past and the present, along with trying to overly-focus on the details that may link one case to another. She's just the author to take you by your hand at the start, and send you on a wild ride (or a wild goose chase) for an unidentifiable person.
The ending was also very disappointing, there was no huge confrontation in which everything got solved and the criminal got caught. Sure, I don't like tidy endings in most thrillers, but in this case I think that the author played it too safe and left it too open ended, ultimately leaving me unsatisfied with the outcome.
**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**
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