The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger, 4 Stars

I suppose it was bound to happen. My baby started half day kindergarten a week and a half ago, I’m working a lot more and my ability to read 3-4 books a week has dwindled to 1-2. Don’t worry, ya’ll. I’ll keep the reviews coming. I actually read more than I review usually so I’ll have to limit myself to new releases and Netgalley to fit ’em all in.

Can we just stop for a minute and acknowledge the CRAZY amount of books in the world? According to the NY Times, nearly 10,000 books are published EACH YEAR. That’s nearly a book an hour. I can’t keep up. And then I think about the 9, 925 or so books I missed from last year. It’s mind boggling.

The good news? There is never a shortage of good books to read. And I’m so thankful for all of you other bloggers who recommend amazing books I’ve never heard of!

And today, I’ve got a good one for all of you. The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger. I’ve said this before, probably pretty recently, but Lisa Unger is amazing. I think I always figured her books were formulaic because she is pretty prolific and I think sometimes her books are packaged to appeal to those types of readers? Anyway, they are extra. I love them. And I love her. Super fan much?

From the Publisher:

Twelve-year-old Rain Winter narrowly escaped an abduction while walking to a friend’s house. Her two best friends, Tess and Hank, were not as lucky. Tess never came home, and Hank was held in captivity before managing to escape. Their abductor was sent to prison but years later was released. Then someone delivered real justice—and killed him in cold blood.

Now Rain is living the perfect suburban life, her dark childhood buried deep. She spends her days as a stay-at-home mom, having put aside her career as a hard-hitting journalist to care for her infant daughter. But when another brutal murderer who escaped justice is found dead, Rain is unexpectedly drawn into the case. Eerie similarities to the murder of her friends’ abductor force Rain to revisit memories she’s worked hard to leave behind. Is there a vigilante at work? Who is the next target? Why can’t Rain just let it go?

Introducing one of the most compelling and original killers in crime fiction today, Lisa Unger takes readers deep inside the minds of both perpetrator and victim, blurring the lines between right and wrong, crime and justice, and showing that sometimes people deserve what comes to them.

My Review:

When the book opens, we witness the near abduction of Rain Winter. When she walked onto a wooded path with her best friend Tess, there was a strange man sitting there. And her alarm bells went off. But Tess insisted it was fine. It wasn’t.

Fast forward maybe 25-30 years and Rain has actually managed to rise above her tragedy. She worked as a successful radio producer and is giving the stay-at-home mom gig a try. So when a man who was found not-guilty of murdering his wife and unborn baby (think Scott Peterson if he hadn’t gone to jail), is found murdered in his house, she is immediately intrigued.

And her quaint little life is turned upside down. And things that seemed left in the past might not be.

This book was good. Like cancel your Saturday night plans, pour a big glass of red wine and dig in type of good. I really don’t want to say much and risk spoilers. But Unger has written a meaty, satisfying psychological thriller that you’ll be thinking about long after you finish reading it.

I’m not the only one who loved it. It was chosen as a 2019 Buzz Book by Publisher’s Marketplace, a Most Anticipated Thriller by SheReads, and she was blurbed by two of my most favorite authors, Chris Bohjalian and Riley Sager. This one is for fans of crime fiction, psychological thrillers, and yes, even for fans of series crime fiction. Try her out, you won’t be disappointed!

Special thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin Park Row for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one releases September 17. Get your copy:


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