MYSTERY

The Stranger Inside

Park Row: Harlequin. Sept. 2019. 384p. ISBN 9780778308720. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488050985. THRILLER
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When she was 12, Laraine and her friends Tess and Hank were assaulted and kidnapped. She escaped, but Tess was killed and Hank was held captive for a time. In shock, Laraine never went for help, and that may have resulted in the subsequent death and torture. Eugene Kreskey, the children’s captor, was imprisoned, released, and then murdered under mysterious circumstances. More than 20 years later, Laraine has renamed herself Rain and halted a career as a successful investigative reporter to be a stay-at-home wife and mom. When two men are killed under the same circumstances as Kreskey, Rain can’t shake the feeling that something is amiss and that she must investigate, despite her husband’s objections and her experience of traumatic flashbacks. Simultaneously, the actual killer is watching her from a distance and silently willing her to stop the carnage. A complex game of cat and mouse, this latest from Unger (after Under My Skin) is incisive but descriptive. The alternating chapters, told from Rain’s perspective and that of the unknown killer’s, work well to and build tangible tension and discomfort.
VERDICT Readers captivated by the works of B.A. Paris and Gillian Flynn will relish this psychological thriller. [See Prepub Alert, 3/11/19.]

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