February 5 2019: The Stranger Inside by Laura Benedict


Disclaimer: This book was provided to me as an advanced digital copy by Mulholland Books in exchange for my honest review. A link to purchase a copy can be found at the bottom.

When 38-year-old Kimber Hannon returns home from a weekend in the Ozarks, she is shocked to find the locks on her house changed. Her surprise and confusion grow when a man answers her front door claiming he is renting the house, and that Kimber is the one who agreed to let him stay. Unable to return to her normal life and work because of her displacement, Kimber becomes obsessed with evicting the man living in her house. As the story unfolds and increasingly frightening events start happening around Kimber and her friends, it becomes clear the mysterious man may have something to do with the tragic events that led to Kimber’s sisters’ death years earlier.

The Stranger Inside is a solid thriller from award-winning novelist Laura Benedict. Filled with nosy neighbours, complex characters, and a series of entertaining plot twists, it’s sure to please fans of the domestic thriller and mystery genres.

The book’s chapters alternate between a present-day storyline and another that explains the events leading up to Kimber’s sisters’ death in high school. While her current situation is easy to sympathize with, Kimber is revealed in the past storyline to be anything but innocent, and as more of her backstory unfolds it becomes clear she may not be as trustworthy as she seems. Despite her less-than-pleasing history, Kimber is a likable enough main character, and her personality and choices drive the story well.

The Stranger Inside’s major mystery will keep readers guessing until the end, although some of the small plot lines are relatively easy to guess early on. While not the most exciting, original or absorbing book in the genre, it’s a solid novel and will likely appeal to steadfast fans of domestic thrillers. This wouldn’t be my top recommendation for people who don’t enjoy mystery/thriller novels, as it may not hold your attention all the way through.

There are several instances throughout the novel when characters - Kimber in particular - make decisions not totally in line with the personalities/backgrounds created for them. The story has shaky moments and a few stumbles, but no strings are left hanging at the end and no twists come in from left field that don’t make sense in the greater context of the story. Ultimately the few odd character decisions and actions don’t take away from the story too much.

You can advance order The Stranger Inside through my Amazon link below: