I’ve reached that sweet spot in my reading list where I can finally pick books to read off my shelf that I simply want to read. I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining, because I love working with different organizations to review books, creating reading lists, etc. but I rarely get to just pick a book to read for fun-I normally select books with a secondary purpose, other than pleasure. A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena is one of those books that I’ve been dying to read since it came out, but just couldn’t fit it in until now.
Her first book The Couple Next Door was a huge success, although I didn’t read it myself because it was about a baby disappearing (I’m still too young of a mom to be able to handle stories such like that). But after seeing that book just about everywhere, I was determined to give her second book, A Stranger in the House a try. When it came out, the reviews were mixed, people seemed a bit disappointed by it, probably due to to the fact that The Couple book was so popular, it’s nearly impossible to follow that up with an equally fantastic novel again. The differing opinions only made me want to read the book even more, so here we are.
A Stranger is about a happily married couple who hits a roadblock, with the wife Karen, literally crashing her car into a pole and developing a bit of amnesia. It’s discovered she was racing away from the location of a murder, and her husband Tom is shocked at this strange and totally out of character behaviour for Karen, not to mention completely freaked out that his perfect life now involves a murder charge against his wife. He begins to question whether he can trust Karen, (which duh, he clearly can’t) as he realizes he knows nothing about her childhood, and has never met a family member of friend of hers. She claims her entire family is dead, and is vague about her friends.
Aside from the fact that Tom is incredibly naive, and Karen just sounds like a terrible person in general, I was still invested in this story. The characterization was pretty awful, I must admit. None of the people in this book are worth caring about, but Lapena’s plot development is what keeps us moving quickly so I still wanted to know what the outcome was going to be. The twists aren’t really that shocking either, I guessed what was going on about halfway through the book, yet the tension was still palpable, so clearly Lapena was doing something right. I can’t really put my finger on why I enjoyed this book, but I did. Have I read better thrillers before? Yes, but this is just what I needed, and anyone looking for a page-turner would certainly enjoy this, irritating characters and all.
Great review! I’ve been pretty curious about this book, and your honest review makes me want to read it, just for the page-turner quality you say it has! This might be a great pick-me-up book for me in the future 🙂
Thanks for your interest! I would say it isn’t for everyone, but I personally enjoyed it 🙂
I’m definitely willing to give it a shot! 🙂
Yep, sometimes the ones that just keep us turning the pages are the most enjoyable. Not every book has to a masterpiece – how exhausting would that be! 😉
How could you be married to someone and never have met any of their friends? Why don’t novel characters pay any attention to red flags?
I know right??? Kind of obvious.
It’s been a while since I read a thriller that was unpredictable. Doesn’t sound like this one is the book for me either 😣
Yes actually, I feel the same way…I think there might be too many being published right now
Are you going to be doing video reviews this, or does that take too much time? If yes, are you heading toward a balance of video reviews and written, or more of one than the other?
I’ll aim to do a few video reviews here and there, but I prefer written reviews. Not sure why…which do you prefer?
Your first videos earlier last year seemed short and a bit stiff, but I think you really got a rhythm during the advent calendar videos where I got both your personality and a lot about the story, so I’ve grown to like your videos more than your written reviews now! Since you’re on a roll, you may want to stick with the videos so you don’t lose momentum, unless you feel like your traffic/comments went down during the advent videos.
Hmm yah my advent videos were much more casual, whereas the earlier ones were more scripted, so that’s interesting you preferred the relaxed ones, they are much easier to do! I’d like to do a mixture of both I think, because I did see my traffic dip a bit. I think the key is making the videos under 5 minutes…
The length matters, but I’ll bet the combo of the season and one video every day might have made traffic drop (though I have no evidence for this!).
Ha yes, those are good points too!
Sometimes you just want a good page-turner, and you’re willing to overlook some things for the entertainment value – nothing wrong with that! Glad you enjoyed this one.
I read The Couple Next Door when it came out and quite liked it. It had the same page-turning quality, but a bit lacking in character. I’d be curious to read this one just to see how it’s different. Sounds like I’d get a very similar reading experience.
Is it just me, or do the characters in these types of books tend not to be the sharpest tools in the shed?
it’s definitely not you Naomi, they have to be a ‘dull’ to get caught up in these situations in the first place!