It’s another Shari Lapena novel! You may have read recently that my faith in Lapena’s writing has been briefly restored after reading The End of Her, a compelling psychological thriller which I could not put down. It has also encouraged me to continue reading beyond my usual romance genre.

This time I read A Stranger in the House. Upon reading two her of her novels in quick succession, I picked up on some of her writing traits which I was able to unpick early on, which perhaps led to me not loving this novel, but still engaged.

My reading experience is similar to The Couple Next Door, but I’m pleased to say a little more successful this time! It appears I have a personal dislike for Detective Rasbach (not so much his sidekick Jennings) who she has brought back, despite him being good at his job and solving crimes in the neighbourhood (quite rightly).

Following married couple Karen and Tom, she wakes up in hospital with amnesia whilst he frantically wonders what has happened to her: unlocked door, phone and house keys left at home… yet her car travelling at speed has crashed near a crime scene in a dangerous part of town. Surely she isn’t involved?

Knowing Lapena, this had me guessing the whole way as she does throw in a curveball here and there. I did not like the characters as they slowly revealed more about themselves as secrets and lies are uncovered – also an indication of a well written novel as they seemed very real. The story seemed predictable at times, although I was compelled by Lapena’s talent of dropping minute drops of information that happen to play a big part which only leaves yourself guessing more.

I like that the chapters are short even if they are packed with drama, therefore I raced through it, as I have for each novel I have read of hers so far.

It’s questionable as to whether Karen is going mad or if she is a truly convincing liar as she is certain someone is coming into the house – is she right? Or is it all an act?

Who would you trust?

As I mentioned before, Lapena has a habit in her writing that I have noticed, where she includes minor characters which sure enough play a key part later on, including her darling neighbour and good friend Brigid.

Relationships and friendships are crossed, tested and pushed to their limits. She includes few characters, however these do have their positives and negatives at making them easy to follow.

It made it a bit predictable placing Brigid in the story, but of course Lapena had me guessing throughout!

I like the cliff-hanger at the end, leaving room to potentially carry this on in another novel. I can’t see this stopping her as she has already included Rasbach, so who knows if some of these characters will end up meeting each other…

A good novel, but I don’t feel as hyped as I did for The End of Her as I found parts of this one predictable.

However, I do recommend it for a quick, tense read for thrill seekers!

Rating – 3/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Genre – thriller, mystery, suspense, psychological fiction

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