ARC Review: “Strangers” by C.L. Taylor

Author: C.L. Taylor
Publication Date:  April 2nd 2020 
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
Format: eBook
Find it on: Amazon, Goodreads

Many thanks to the author, C.L. Taylor, and publisher, Avon Books, for providing a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.
And Alice is being stalked.

None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.

Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.

The million-copy bestseller returns with a gripping new novel that will keep you guessing until the end.

From Goodreads

Review

TLDR; Mystery-thriller with a great final conclusion and an unexpected character collision.

This was a great, cozy mystery read for late at night! I’m not quite sure why it’s also noted as a Thriller except maybe for suspense reasons? In any case, C.L. Taylor does a fantastic job crafting three parallel stories that converge unexpectedly at the very end of the book. The story follows Ursula, Gareth and Alice, each of whom are at a diverse stage of their life. Alice represents the single mother trying to find love again. Gareth is the kindly security guard caring for his elderly mother. Ursula is a strong but flawed woman finding her way.

In terms of characters, I was only really able to connect with Gareth. I found his compassionate side charming and empathized with the difficulties of caring for a loved one suffering from dementia. He just seemed like an all-around honest man trying to support his mother. Alice was interesting up front but her obsession with making things work with a love interest turned me off. I understand the lonely, wishful romantic vibe the author was going for but the numerous texts and calls was very cringe-worthy for me. Not to mention Simon (the gentleman) was also a bit of a turn off. Ursula was also alright initially, and I enjoyed her character in waves. While I had sympathy for her after learning her backstory she just struck me as too nosy.

The story was well-executed in its progression, and the height of excitement where the characters are all thrown together was unexpected. Overall this was a very enjoyable read. One minor point I’d change was the small two page snippets of twitter conversations scattered through the book. In my opinion they didn’t add much, aside from reinforcing community speculation about the murders in the community. The resolution of which, by the way, is probably my favorite part of the book on whole.

This book was a fast, engaging read that keeps you guessing until the end. I’d recommend this as any mystery genre enthusiast, with the caveat that those sensitive to stalking may consider whether this is the right choice for you. Enjoy!

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