A Stranger in the House

If I said the book I read in just a few days was hard to get in to, would anyone believe me?

Either way, it’s true. I read Shari Lapena’s book in just a couple days, but I could have read it faster, if it really gripped me. By that I mean, if I’d felt inclined to read a few chapters on my breaks and lunch at work. But I really didn’t.

Karen Krupp is an average housewife, but her life begins to unravel after she’s in a car accident due to recklessly driving in a bad part of town. When police find out a murder occurred around the same time as Karen’s flight and accident, even her stalwart husband can’t help but be suspicious–especially since Karen can’t remember anything about that night.

It seems everyone is working an angle, and no one grasps the full scope of the situation. But when the dust settles and life tries to return to normal, it’s going to be built on top of even more secrets and lies than before.

While the book was good, the first half seemed almost to be gratuitous scene setting and character establishment (which, spoiler, gets totally trashed in the end). It was a slow start. And it didn’t help hat the book is written in present tense. I’ve grown to be able to handle first person, but third person present tense is still too much for me.

But in the second half of the book, Lapena really starts throwing in plot twists, and they fit in seamlessly with the story. You end up asking yourself why you didn’t think of that before. It’s great, right up to the final twist that, personally, felt too much like a complete 180, with no warning. It’s easy to surprise readers when there’s no indication or expectation of a change.

Will I return to Lapena’s books? Maybe. They just won’t be at the top of my reading list (and really, does my list even have a top? It feels more like an eternal middle). But, she’ll be a good one to recommend to people who enjoy the thrillers. Because she is good, just maybe not everyone’s cup of tea.

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