The Perfect Stranger
By Megan Miranda
Published by Corvus (1 February 2018)
I received an Advancer Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
What happens when your best friend becomes your worst nightmare...
Having reached a dead end in Boston, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs a change. When she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who is moving to rural Pennsylvania, Leah decides to join her. But their fresh start is quickly 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 helps Detective Kyle Donovan to investigate her friend's life for clues. But with no friends, family or digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Forced to question her version of reality and to save herself, Leah must uncover the truth - no matter how dark or terrible it may be...The Perfect Stranger is an unsettling multi-layered mystery.
It took me on a journey alongside its protagonist Leah, who realises she knows very little about her housemate and friend Emmy who has disappeared. The local police aren't convinced that Emmy actually existed and even Leah begins to question her own sanity. Leah gradually reveals information about her own past as she sets out to discover more about her friend.
The book is set in rural Pennsylvania, in a house backing onto dark woods, near a small town. Megan Miranda is a great writer, and her vivid descriptions certainly created a dark, haunting and claustrophobic atmosphere. The two main characters - Leah and Emmy - both have intriguing pasts (Emmy in particular has spun a web of lies) though neither was particularly likeable.
I found The Perfect Stranger to be a quick read that kept me engaged from beginning to end. I did guess a few of the 'twists and turns' but certainly not all of them so there were still plenty of surprises. The book raised many questions about how well we know our friends, particularly those we see only every-so-often or keep in touch with via social media. It also shows how easy it can be to create a new identity when those around you don't know you at all.
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