Title: The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
In the masterful follow-up to the New York Times bestseller All the Missing Girls—“think: Luckiest Girl Alive, The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl” (TheSkimm)—a journalist sets out to find a missing friend, a friend who may never have existed at all.
Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.
Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.
Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?
The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda is a perplexing mystery about a woman who goes missing around the same time another woman is attacked. Is there any connection between the two cases?
On the same day Bethany Jarvitz is bludgeoned, high school teacher Leah Stevens becomes increasingly concerned over the whereabouts of her roommate Emmy Grey. Trying to pinpoint the last time she saw her friend is not easy since they work opposite schedules, but Leah decides to err on the side of caution and report the disappearance to the police. Having already been questioned by Detective Kyle Donovan, she turns to him for help in finding Emmy. However, the more questions Kyle asks about her friend, Leah realizes how very little she knows about Emmy. When the police are unable to uncover any information about her missing friend, Leah begins her own investigation but there are many surprises awaiting her as she begins digging into her roommate’s past.
Following a scandal surrounding a newspaper article about a series of college suicides, Leah has no choice but to quit her job as a newspaper reporter. While she is trying to figure out what to do next, she unexpectedly runs into Emmy at a local bar. Although she has not seen nor heard from her friend in eight years, Leah has absolutely no qualms about agreeing to Emmy’s plan to move to Pennsylvania for a fresh start. Leah has secured a job as high school teacher and although she is a little troubled by the unwanted attention of the school’s basketball coach Davis Cobb, she has no regrets about her decision.
Trying to keep the information about her past under wraps, Leah is rather evasive during her interview with local police after Bethany is attacked. She continues to be a little vague as she reports Emmy’s disappearance and after Kyle cannot find any solid details about her missing roommate, she soon realizes she does not know much about her friend. Emmy does not have many possessions but after Leah makes a shocking discovery, she aggressively begins her search for information about her friend’s past. The deeper she digs, the more elusive her friend becomes and Leah has difficulty trying to make sense of the things she knows about Emmy. She is quite introspective as she reflects on their friendship and Leah soon reaches an utterly shocking conclusion as she uncovers stunning clues that leave her reeling and desperate for answers.
The Perfect Stranger is a compelling mystery with a unique storyline. Leah is an incredibly loyal friend and despite her former profession, she is rather naive in the face of overwhelming evidence that Emmy possibly fabricated her entire history. The first half of the novel is a little slow paced but once Leah begins her investigation in earnest, the story then hurtles to a fairly shocking conclusion. Fans of the genre will enjoy this complex and multi-layered mystery by Megan Miranda.