A Familiar Stranger

- A.R. Torre

Goodreads Book Blurb:

Such a quiet and ordinary wife and mother. Who will even notice what she’s done?

Lillian Smith leads an unexceptional life, writing obituaries and killing time with her inattentive husband and disconnected son. Then she meets David, a handsome stranger, in a coffee shop. Lured into an affair, she invents a new persona, one without strings, deadlines, or brooding husbands.

Lillian has never felt so reckless, unpredictable, or wanted. But as her affair with David intensifies, she withdraws from everything that’s real, even her closest friend. When evidence of her life as a secret lover finds its way onto her son’s social media, she risks ruining much more than her marriage or reputation.

As lies beget lies, Lillian’s two worlds spiral dangerously out of control. And betrayals run deeper than she imagines. Because Lillian isn’t the only one leading a double life.

Genres:

My Review:

***Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.

meh, nothing special:
2.5/5

I liked the concept of A Familiar Stranger, but the attempt was lacklustre.

There was never enough time to allow the suspense to build. We get lots of time with Lillian feeling wishy-washy about her marriage, flirting with a stranger, considering an affair, and having problems with her job – but none of these aspects were suspenseful. And then bam, bam, bam 

murder, mystery, mafia .

I started to think, ‘yes, I can get into this‘ and then – everything was settled right after it started. Torre just hands you the resolutions one after another – no twists, surprises, or red herrings.

The male characters and their perspectives were a lot less developed – every Sam or Mike chapter was very self-explanatory with ‘okay, let me tell you exactly what I did and why.’ Instead of allowing the reader to be an observer and try to discover answers for themselves, all of the secrets are instantly revealed. So much more telling than showing. Lenny was a little better, but for an alcoholic caretaker, he miraculously returned to his rockstar detective roots with no problems and solved everything within a few chapters. But the police couldn’t?

Too much time was wasted on relationships that barely came into play later on, and not enough was spent on the suspense. I don’t even want to classify this as a thriller, though I know it’s supposed to be. It almost feels like an attempt at a psychological thriller but not enough effort was made to give Lillian that dissolving sense of reality that you would expect to see. Instead, she’s a pretty typical, bored, unhappy housewife. There are hints at a history of mental illness and alcoholism, but these are more offhand comments than anything that was explored in depth.

I honestly went into this review with a 3.5-star rating. But, unfortunately, once you break things down, I can’t justify going above 2.5 stars.

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