A Stranger at the Door

Thomas & Mercer: Amazon. (Rachel Marin, Bk. 2). Jan. 2021. 394p. ISBN 9781542005944. pap. $15.95. THRILLER
Pinter’s second “Rachel Marin” thriller (builds on the success of Hide Away, reinforcing the grit and tenacity of his determined single-mom protagonist. Featuring several returning characters, this title slowly uncovers more details about Rachel’s past but still leaves plenty to guess at. When her teenage son’s teacher at Ashby High is tortured to death and his home torched, Rachel and her family are drawn into a series of events gone wrong. Bennett Brice, a charismatic businessman, quickly becomes a murder suspect when Rachel’s son, Eric, is recruited to join YourLife in a mysterious gathering hosted by Brice at a baseball field after midnight. As founder of YourLife, allegedly created to help young people develop business skills and improve their self-image, Brice is arrogant, pompous, and seemingly untouchable. However, after Det. John Serrano, Rachel’s love interest, witnesses the late-night initiation, he and Rachel become convinced that YourLife is a glamorized Ponzi scheme somehow tied to the murder. Pinter subtly weaves into his page-turner themes about family bonds, challenges of same-sex parenting, relationships in single-parent families, even bonds between coworkers.
VERDICT Pinter’s strong depictions of diverse types of love, respect, and loyalty resonate loudly in this nail-biter novel.
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