Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: The Stranger

Summary: The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world.

Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life.

Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne’s deception, and realizes that if he doesn’t make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he’s stumbled into will not only ruin lives—it will end them. -- Dutton

One thing is for sure... when I read a novel by Harlan Coben, I can always be assured that I'm in for a treat. That was certainly the case with his latest thriller THE STRANGER. This book was, of course, a well written story (for those of you who are familiar with Mr. Coben's works, you know what I mean.) However, it was also a bit disturbing for me. THE STRANGER had its fair share of twists and some very intriguing characters. I honestly wasn't sure what was going to happen, but rest assured, everything was resolved by the end. Trust me when I say that readers are in good hands with Mr. Coben.

It probably shouldn't come as a surprise that one of the main characters in THE STRANGER is, in fact, a stranger. This stranger appears out of the blue one night at a bar where Adam Price, a man whose life is seemingly perfect, is attending a meeting for his son's lacrosse league. Adam has a beautiful wife, a good job, a nice house, and two great sons; however, the stranger turns his life upside down with just a few whispered words.

The stranger tells Adam that his wife, Corinne, faked her last pregnancy and miscarriage. He even gives him enough details that Adam begins to wonder if it's true... or even if his two sons are actually his. He confronts Corinne and she doesn't exactly deny it, nor does she give him any information. Instead, she just asks for some time and disappears from her family's life.

The stranger doesn't just rock Adam's world. He also tells devastating secrets to a wife and mother in Florida and a medical student in New York City. Needless to say, all of the stranger's whisperings wreak havoc on these victim's lives; and some lives are forever ruined.

Adam decides to look into Corinne's "secret" and he doesn't like what he's finding -- nothing makes any sense. But Adam has to shift his resources to finding the missing Corinne. His investigation actually turns even darker when he realizes that he has to track down the stranger if he wants to get to the bottom of his wife's strange behavior.

I thought THE STRANGER was a terrific story. It was fast-paced and most definitely intriguing, and the story was more than a little creepy too. The stranger, and the people involved with him, were insane; and it made for a fun read. I was extremely curious about Corinne and all of the elements of the mystery surrounding her. Overall, I was impressed with Mr. Coben's novel on many levels.

One thing I love about Mr. Coben's novels are how easy they are to read. I have found that I don't want to put down his books. They are definitely page turners, and THE STRANGER was no exception. I think Mr. Coben is just a great storyteller and the way this novel unfolded was action-packed. I just loved how everything came together at the end and ultimately made sense of all the craziness!

I think one of the reasons that THE STRANGER was so appealing to me was the character of Adam. At the beginning of the novel, he is just a normal guy with a pretty nice life -- kind of like every suburban dad I seem to know. He was a nice guy who loved his family. So when his word was forever changed because of the stranger, it was uncomfortable for me as a reader... in a good way! I loved how much he changed throughout the story as he tried to find not only his wife, but also the stranger. Some might even say that Adam became a bit of a stranger given how he was at the start of the novel.

Overall, I think fans of Coben will enjoy THE STRANGER as much as I did.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review 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. 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.


Beth Hoffman said...

I have this on my list and am glad to know that you enjoyed it!

bermudaonion said...

Oh man, does that ever sound creepy!