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The stranger inside
Book
2019
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Reviews

Booklist Reviews

Returning home from a four-day retreat, Kimber Hannon can't get into her own house. The man inside, Lance Wilson, has changed the locks and contends that he has a six-month lease, signed by Kimber herself. Although she has never seen Wilson before, he seems to know her and her part in the death of her older sister, Michelle, decades before. This is just the beginning of Kimber's life falling apart. Her friendly next-door neighbor, a widow keeping an eye on Wilson, is found dead; Kimber's job is threatened when her expense reports are changed to indicate she's stealing from her employer; and her best friend's husband and young daughter are badly injured when their car is run off the road. At the same time, Kimber is laden with guilt: for accidentally killing Michelle, a story she has never told, for an old affair that damaged an important friendship, and for breaking up with lawyer Daniel Silva and leaving him suicidal. Benedict spins a story driven by deceit on the part of most of the principals, with tension increasing with the body count and the twists and turns that continue to the very end. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews

What would you do if you arrived home from vacation to find a stranger living in your house? This man has a legal rental agreement you don't remember signing. Neighbors state they saw you with him. When this happens to successful saleswoman Kimber Hannon, she has a large circle of close friends to turn to for help. There's ex-boyfriend Gabriel, who was shattered by their breakup. He's a lawyer and rushes to offer his legal expertise. Or her best friend Diana, whose husband Kimber has had an affair with; Shaun, her ex-husband, now living with his lover; or assistant Brianna, who is always ready to lend an ear. But are any of them trustworthy? When Kimber finally confronts the stranger, he whispers menacingly, "I was there. I saw what you did." Years ago, Kimber was responsible for the death of her sister. As an unreliable, somewhat unlikable narrator, Kimber gives this taut novel an edge. Using flashbacks, strong character development, and strategic red herrings, Benedict ("Bliss House" series) keeps readers eager to unravel the mystery. VERDICT A great addition to the psychological thriller genre.—Marianne Fitzgerald, Severna Park H.S., MD

Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Kimber Hannon, the narrator of this outstanding thriller from Benedict (the Bliss House series), returns home to St. Louis after four days in Lake of the Ozarks, Mo., to find that the key to her home doesn't work. A neighbor tells Kimber that she, Kimber, rented the place to a guy named Lance Wilson six months ago. The police refuse to allow Kimber to enter her home after Lance shows a lease she signed. When Kimber accidently knocks him down, he whispers, "I was there. I saw what you did," and then has her arrested for assault. Those words petrify Kimber, who believes they refer to the death of her sister, Michelle, more than 20 years earlier and the role Kimber may have played in it. The stakes rise when she believes that a nosy neighbor was murdered instead of dying in an accident as the police conclude. Kimber's complicated personality and unusual family life drive the ever-twisting, surprise-filled plot. Angry and jealous as a child and teenager, and now a cold, prickly adult, Kimber is the epitome of the unreliable narrator. Readers will enjoy vicarious chills in her company. Agent: Susan Raihofer, David Black Agency. (Feb.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Author Biography

Laura Benedict is the Edgar- and ITW Thriller Award- nominated author of eight novels of mystery and suspense, including The Stranger Inside, and the Bliss House gothic trilogy. Her short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and in numerous anthologies like At Home in the Dark (May 2019), A Thousand Doors, and St. Louis Noir. A native of Cincinnati, she lives in Southern Illinois with her family. - (Grand Central Pub)

Annotations

A woman arrives home to discover a stranger living in her house, claiming he has legally leased her property before revealing he knows a secret from her past involving the death of her sister. 25,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

A woman arrives home to discover a stranger living in her house, claiming he has legally leased her property before revealing he knows a secret from her past involving the death of her sister. - (Baker & Taylor)

What if you came home to find a stranger living inside your house? An "oustanding, ever-twisting, surprise-filled" psychological drama (Publishers Weekly), in the tradition of Shari Lapena and Liane Moriarty, from Edgar- and Thriller Award-nominated author Laura Benedict.

There's a stranger living in Kimber Hannon's house. He tells the police that he has every right to be there, and he has the paperwork to prove it. But Kimber definitely didn't invite this man to move in. He tells her that he knows something about her, and he wants everyone else to know it too.

"I was there. I saw what you did."

These words reveal a connection to Kimber's distant past, and dark secrets she'd long ago left buried. This trespasser isn't after anything as simple as her money or her charming Craftsman bungalow. He wants to move into her carefully orchestrated life--and destroy it.



- (Grand Central Pub)

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