THE STRANGER INSIDE by Laura Benedict

THE STRANGER INSIDE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A squatter with an axe to grind throws one woman’s life into a tailspin.

Not many folks would be thrilled to come home after a four-day work retreat to find their locks changed and some creepy guy living in their house, and Kimber Hannon certainly isn't when it happens to her. The strangely familiar man calls himself Lance Wilson and claims that Kimber herself rented the house to him for six months. When she calls the police, she's horrified that they don’t kick the guy out even after she presents her driver’s license with the address on it and her neighbor, the elderly, very nosy Jenny, confirms that she lives there. So, she calls the only person she can think of who might help her: her lawyer ex-boyfriend, Gabriel, whom she did not leave on good terms. Rather improbably, the police claim that Wilson has “established residence” and they can’t kick him out unless they can prove fraud. Kimber, understandably, loses it and attacks Wilson, and during the scuffle he says “I was there. I saw what you did," so softly that only she can hear. Kimber goes to stay with friend Diana and her husband, Kyle (with whom Kimber has history), and, as her life unravels, she tries to figure out why, and how, this creeper has taken over her home. The truth leads all the way back to Kimber’s childhood and the death of her sister, Michelle, when they were kids. Kimber is no saint, but although she’s genuinely trying to be a better person, the carefully woven threads of her life are unraveling at an alarming pace. Readers may not exactly root for Kimber, but it’s hard not to sympathize with the helplessness and rage she feels at the general unfairness of her home and life being taken over by a smug, smarmy intruder. Benedict also provides a window into Kimber’s combative relationship with her sister and the tragic events leading up to Michelle’s death. Benedict is an able writer, but readers will likely guess who Kimber’s unwanted house guest is quickly, and the big reveals (there are a few) and final confrontation, orchestrated to be shocking, merely expose the frayed ends of this melodramatic tale.

Unconvincing.

Pub Date: Feb. 5th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-316-44492-7
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2018




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