Review: The Stranger You Know by Andrea Kane

stranger you know by andrea kaneFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Series: Forensic Instincts #3
Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Date Released: September 24, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

It begins with a chilling phone call to Casey Woods. And ends with another girl dead.

College-age girls with long red hair. Brutally murdered, they’re posed like victims in a film noir. Each crime scene is eerily similar to the twisted fantasy of a serial offender now serving thirty years to life—a criminal brought to justice with the help of Forensic Instincts.

Call. Kill. Repeat. But the similarities are more than one psychopath’s desire to outdo another. As more red-haired victims are added to the body count, it becomes clear that each one has been chosen because of a unique connection to Casey—a connection that grows closer and closer to her.

Now the Forensic Instincts team must race to uncover the identity of a serial killer before his ever-tightening circle of death closes in on Casey as the ultimate target. As the stalker methodically moves in on his prey, his actions make one thing clear: he knows everything about Casey. And Casey realizes that this psychopathic won’t stop until he makes sure she’s dead.

My Review:

The title is a clue. It’s also a double play on words, both that the killer is a stranger that Casey Woods knows, and that people are often stranger than anyone can know. In this particular instance, quite a bit stranger.

girl who disappeared twiceAlso this third case that the Forensic Instincts team is investigating (after their awesome beginning in The Girl Who Disappeared Twice and equally compelling followup The Line Between Here and Gone) the two cases that the team is investigating are both about a stranger, and about someone that team leader Casey Woods knew all too well.

The kidnapping, rape and murder of her best friend 15 years ago was the impetus for Casey’s founding of Forensic Instincts in the first place. It may also be linked to the cold case that a dying father has asked them to re-open.

But when a serial rapist and murderer starts taunting Casey on the phone, linking new crimes to her past and to a psychopath definitely behind bars, the team scrambles to figure out what the link is between a prisoner supposedly without privileges and a killer who is definitely on the loose. Both of whom want revenge on Casey and are determined to torment her by killing an ever-tightening circle of women who look just like her.

The tension ratchets up higher and higher as the team brings all of their formidable talents to bear on catching the killers; while the shadowy assailant continues to stay one step ahead of them and his motive remains unknown.

Just when it seems that they have finally caught a break in the cold cases, they discover that they have only played into the hands of a convicted serial murder.

line between here and gone goodreadsEscape Rating A-: What makes the Forensic Instincts series so awesome is the team dynamic. Although this case turns out to be about Casey Woods and her past, the way it gets solved requires the talents of every member of the FI team, except possibly the dog.

The FI team is an absolutely marvelous example of the “Five-Man Band trope”. (See for complete explanation) If you have never previously delved into tvtropes, be prepared to lose at least an evening.

The story in Stranger is primarily of the suspense/thriller type. The reader follows the team and they solve the puzzle. We don’t know anything until they do. We might guess, but we don’t know, although we do get a couple of extra clues that they don’t, which is what separates this story from a true mystery.

Nevertheless, this is a chilling tale. We spend time following the thought processes of a serial killer and rapist as he self-aggrandizes and justifies his crimes. It’s ugly and so is he.

But it’s absolutely fascinating to watch the team solve the puzzle. The psychopath is one step ahead of them all the way, until the very end. Good triumphs over evil, but the cost is shown to be very, very high.

The ending packs one hell of a jolt.

This post is part of a TLC book tour. Click on the logo for more reviews.
***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 11-10-13

Sunday Post

Veterans Day Poster 2010For many people in the United States, this is a three-day weekend. November 11 is Veterans Day, the day we celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans. It also coincides with holidays around the world such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I.

Veterans Day is not one of those holidays that gets moved around to the nearest convenient Monday. The date of November 11 has historical significance (see above, end of WWI). This year 11/11 just happens to be on a Monday.

And now on to our regularly scheduled linkification of bloggy events from this week and next week…

Current Giveaways:

The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins (paperback-US/CAN only) ends 11/16
$20 Amazon Gift Card (tourwide giveaway from Tiffany Allee) ends 11/14

Winner Announcements:

$10 Gift Card from the Fall Into Winter Romance Giveaway Hop — Perava P.
Work in Progress by Christina Esdon (ebook) — BN100
Take Me Cowboy by Jane Porter (ebook) — Jo J.
Getting Rowdy by Lori Foster (paperback) — Lily B.

Fiddlehead by Cherie PriestBlog Recap:

B Review: The Best Man by Kristan Higgins
B+ Review: The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins + Giveaway
A Review: Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest
B+ Review: Foreplay by Sophie Jordan
B Review: Vampire Games by Tiffany Allee + Giveaway
Stacking the Shelves (66)

Coming Next Week:

gratitude-giveaway hop 2013I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Jessica Scott (review)
Bittersweet Magic by Nina Croft Release Day Blast + Giveaway
The Stranger You Know by Andrea Kane (blog tour review + guest post + giveaway)
Highland Shifter by Catherine Bybee (review)
Trancehack by Sonya Clark (blog tour review + guest post + giveaway)
Vote for Real-Life Heroines: Harlequin’s More Than Words Awards 2014
Gratitude Giveaways Hop

The Hollow House

The Hollow House by Janis Patterson is a terrific murder mystery of the old school, meaning that it takes place in a house where everyone has lots of secrets, and solving the mystery depends on peeling back the layers on all of those deep, dark secrets and rattling all the skeletons in everyone’s closets. It’s almost Gothic in its sense of impending doom, but there are no horror elements except those of the purely human variety.

In 1919 Geraldine Brunton takes a job as a companion to a rich, eccentric and elderly woman. Except that Geraldine Brunton is not the woman’s real name. She is working under an alias in order to keep her identity a secret. “Geraldine” has never worked as a companion before, or as anything else. She has no references, no experience, and no training for any kind of work. But she is educated and cultured, and she needs to find a job before her money runs out. She also needs a place to hide, and hopes that Denver is far enough away from the scandal she is trying to outrun.

Emmaline Stubbs doesn’t need a companion half as much as she needs an ally. Emmaline Stubbs is definitely old, and it is difficult for her to get from her second floor room to the first floor dining room and parlor of her Denver mansion. But it is still her mansion, and not her daughter and son-in-law’s. Emmaline and her late husband Jamie earned the money that paid for that mansion prospecting for gold until they struck it rich at the Lodestar mine.

Since her husband’s death two years before, Mrs. Stubbs has been biding her time, waiting for the right circumstances. Her family has given out the impression that she is prostrate with grief, and has become an invalid. She has let everyone believe it. Now that “Mrs. Brunton” has become her companion, she becomes more active in family affairs again, much to her family’s dismay.

Mrs. Stubb’s sudden return to a more active life brings long-simmering secrets to the boil. When the housemaid Annie is murdered, and an attempt in made on Mrs. Stubb’s life, the police are called in.

Murder is not a respecter of anyone’s secrets, and the skeletons in every closet march into the light, including the scandal that brought “Mrs. Brunton” to Denver in the first place. The story keeps twisting and turning until the final page.

Escape Rating A- : This was very well done. I didn’t completely figure out who it was until the very end, partly because I couldn’t believe the murderer was who it turned out to be. And the ending is too deliciously awful for me to spoil by giving it away. You’ll have to read the book to find out “whodunit”. And you should.