Monday, February 20, 2012

Never Smile at Strangers by Jennifer Minar-Jaynes

When nineteen-year-old Tiffany Perron vanishes from rural Grand Trespass, Louisiana, best friend HALEY LANDRY's relationship with her boyfriend becomes increasingly strained. To make ma cvvctters worse, her impressionable younger sister BECKY has begun idolizing an impetuous, seductive 15 year old who's encouraging her to do dangerous things.

Meanwhile, ERICA DUVALL, a reclusive 19-year-old aspiring writer, befriends Haley. Ten years earlier, Erica's mother abandoned her, leaving her with the womanizing used car salesman father she loathes. She's decided to write a novel based on Tiffany's disappearance; a novel that she hopes will lead to a reunion with her estranged novelist mother.

RACHEL ANDERSON, a 36-year-old mother of two, is having trouble coming to terms with her husband, TOM's, affair with the missing girl--a relationship that supposedly ended shortly before Tiffany's disappearance. What's more, she comes to the blood curdling realization that someone is watching her through the large back windows of her house.

A DISTURBED MAN also lives in the area. Ever since his mother's murder four years earlier, he's been raising his insolent teenage sister, ALLIE, who sleeps with truck drivers for money. He considers women to be dangerous--and his world revolves around his fear and hatred for them. He's terrified of his sister, knowing she's intent on pushing him over the edge.

An entertaining read, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat from the moment you pick it up.

aIf you enjoy cleverly handled thrillers, then you’ll probably like this book. It is well done, with a nice sense of pacing that keeps the story moving along while building the required amount of suspense. There are some chilling moments. The killer, with all his psychological traumas is a fascinating character who takes over the pages in which he appears. We slowly start building a sense of who he is, but there are so many surprises that I can promise you won’t know who it is until the end. That, by itself, should be worth the book.

The writing is clear, not flashy but it does what it needs to and, most importantly, it gets out of the way, allowing the story to come through. There are a few editing mistakes, but nothing horrifying so although this is not a “traditionally” published book, there is no reason why anyone should refrain from buying it and reading it.

For all of you who are fans of the big thriller writers out there at the moment, this one is a good choice.

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