There are two sides to every story.
But only one is true.
Sophie wished she’d paid more attention when her little daughter, Amy, caught sight of a stranger watching them. She only looked away for a second. But now Amy’s gone.
No one trusts an alcoholic. Even a sober one. The police are suspicious of Sophie’s tangled story and so is her ex-husband, Paul. Especially when new information emerges that changes everything.
But what if Sophie is telling the truth? What if her daughter really is missing? And what if that stranger at the fairground wasn’t really a stranger at all…
Worldbuilding: The London setting came through here and there, but there was so much going on inside the MC’s thoughts that actual settings, while lovely, were of little importance.
Characters: Sophie was a difficult character to like, for me. She came through as selfish, paranoid, mean, yet at times she was sweet-ish, fun even. There were many facets to her personality, but overall she was chaotic and a liar, thereby annoying to me. The situation she was in, a daughter who disappears, would have triggered my sympathy were it to happen to anyone else; yet she somehow made it all about her. Telling, I thought, and intriguing too. Despite not liking her though, I liked following her story and was very curious about it all.
Plot: There’s a lot of wondering, some mystery about her past – the whole Bethany’s death mystery – , why and how it relates to Amy’s disappearance, what Paul and others know/are hiding. As a mystery lover, I kind of saw through the chaos and had my strong suspicions that I think were proven right in the end – it was a bit confusing and very rapid, but I do think I got it right. It’s kinna hard to be 100% sure, for reasons I won’t disclose here so as to not give away the ending. I liked the pace of events, though there was a while there, about the last quarter or so of the novel, where I felt things dragged on a bit (I had my eye on the suspect, so to speak) and then they ended in a rush. But it was a tense, thrilling ride, and it kept me fully engaged.
Writing: First person, past tense narrative, Sophie’s POV. There’s a lot of feels and chaos due to that, as Sophie is a woman with many, many issues who lies a lot – including to herself. But the narrative style was very interesting, and a very gutsy choice.
Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb – psychological thriller impulsive buy material.
All in all, I recommend S is for Stranger to lovers of dark, sort of gutsy psychological thrillers, to open-minded readers who want to fully invest their attention in a twisted story that makes you feel bad and yet is a good reading experience, lol. Confusing, right? But worth it 🙂
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