Monday, September 19, 2011

Review: The Stranger You Seek

Summary: The papers have called me a monster. You’ve either concluded that I am a braggart as well as a sadist or that I have a deep and driving need to be caught and punished.

In the sweltering heat of an Atlanta summer, a killer is pushing the city to its breaking point, preying on the unsuspecting, writing taunting letters to the media, promising more death. Desperate to stop the Wishbone Killer before another victim meets a shattering end, A.P.D. lieutenant Aaron Rauser turns to the one person he knows can penetrate a deranged mind: ex–FBI profiler Keye Street.

And you must certainly be wondering if I am, in fact, the stranger you seek.

Keye was a rising young star at the Bureau until addiction derailed her career and her life. Now sober and fighting to stay so, Keye picks up jobs where she can get them: catching adulterers, serving subpoenas, chasing down bailjumpers, and dodging the occasional bullet. With multiple victims, little to go on, and an entire police force looking for direction, the last thing Keye wants is to be pulled into the firestorm of Atlanta’s worst nightmare.

Shall I convince you?

And then it suddenly becomes clear that the hunter has become the hunted—and the stranger she seeks is far closer than she ever dared imagine.

An electrifying thriller debut,
The Stranger You Seek introduces a brash, flawed, and unforgettable heroine in a complex, twisting novel that takes readers deep into a sultry Southern summer, a city in the grips of chaos, and a harrowing cat-and-mouse game no reader will ever forget. -- Bantam

I am so glad that I started challenging myself to read more mystery books as part of Mystery Mondays. Throughout these past few months, I've discovered some very intriguing books as well as some exciting new-to-me authors. The latest thriller that captured my interest (and definitely kept me guessing) was THE STRANGER YOU SEEK by Amanda Kyle Williams.

THE STRANGER YOU SEEK tells the story of Kaye Street a former FBI profiler and current private eye, bounty hunter, and subpoena server. When a horrific serial killer (penned The Wishbone Killer by the press) begins wreaking havoc in Atlanta, Kaye is asked by a police lieutenant (who is also her love interest) to assist in profiling the murderer. As Kaye becomes more and more involved in these murders, she battles not only the demon known as The Wishbone Killer, but also her inner demons.

I had such a fantastic time reading THE STRANGER YOU SEEK. It really encompassed everything I've come to expect from a quality thriller. It had great characters, a scary  murderer, an extremely intriguing mystery, and loads of suspense. In addition, this book was filled with so many surprises. I was actually kept in the dark about the identity of the murderer despite being rather confident that I had it all figured out about halfway through the book. In fact, I can honestly say that I was shocked with the ending of the novel -- not once, but twice. And I think that's a testament to how suspenseful this story was.

Probably one of the things that I most appreciated about this novel was the character of Kaye. First of all, I was just happy to see that more and more thrillers are having women as the main characters. I appreciated that THE STRANGER YOU SEEK could be so gritty, scary, and witty and still have a strong female like Kaye in the lead! In addition, I loved that Kaye was such a complex character. I mentioned earlier that Kaye was a former FBI profiler, and that was because she had an problem with alcohol. In addition to her addiction issues, she also has some other baggage including an ex-boss (who makes an appearance in this story) and an ex-husband (who also makes an appearance in this story.) At times, Kaye is a sheer mess. She's almost self-destructive, if you will; and I thought she was a fascinating character as a result.

Another great thing about this novel was the entire murder mystery aspect. The serial killer in THE STRANGER YOU SEEK was absolutely crazy... and really creepy; and I had absolutely no idea the motive or what The Wishbone Killer was going to do next. The entire time I read this book, I was on the edge-of-my-seat because there was just so much constant tension. And as far as the action-packed ending goes, this book certainly had one. I couldn't read this book fast enough because I needed to know the "why!" (Of course, I ended up finding out the "who" as well, but at the time I was reading, I was sure that I already knew that aspect!)

THE STRANGER YOU SEEK is Ms. Williams' debut novel and I think she's off to a great start. Kirkus Reviews has already given it a starred review! With such a fantastic character as Kaye Street, I can easily see an entire series of these books, and personally, I can't wait. I have a feeling that I'm going to be hooked on these thrillers. I'm only sad that I'm going to have to wait awhile before there's another book available.

If you are a fan of thrillers and like to be a little creeped out when reading about murders, then I highly recommend THE STRANGER YOU SEEK.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


Anonymous said...

I'm also glad that you've been playing along with Mystery Mondays! This one sound good. Definitely NOT a cozy. ;0)

Beth F said...

This sounds really good and creepy. And it's a debut so I can jump in at the *start* of a series.

Beth Hoffman said...

This one sounds so good! Terrific review, Julie.

Unknown said...

I don't usually read mysteries, which is strange because I usually enjoy them when I do. I think this might be the next one I pick up!

Serena said...

This sounds like me and my mom's cup of tea. We enjoy these books and love to share them.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

According to mystery writers, we are just awash in serial killers! I wonder how many there REALLY are?!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to see you like this one. I've got a copy on my shelf waiting patiently.

bermudaonion said...

I met Amanda Williams this weekend and she is surprisingly funny! I can't wait to read the book.

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

Sounds like my kind of book! Added to my goodreads to-read list. Thanks for the post!