Cover Image: Five Strangers

Five Strangers

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Member Reviews

This book was a slow burn for me. Several times I debated DNF’ing it because I was not enjoying it much. I felt that the description of Jen as a woman suffering from mental illness, and therefore not the most reliable or believable is something that has been used too often in thrillers. I also found it hard to understand how the murder/suicide that Jen witnesses at the beginning could prove to be anything other than what she saw even though she begins receiving tweets from someone suggesting otherwise. About two-thirds of the way through, the plot picked up for me and I managed to finish it in one sitting. While I felt that ending was not that shocking, there were some unexpected twists and connections that were revealed that I appreciated. Some of the storyline was a bit contrived and rushed but I did think it was a good plot that kept me interested in that final third.
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So well written and interesting being told from 5 different perspectives. It's quite a mystery that unfolds into a wonderfully mysterious story. 

would read anything from EV Adamson
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This contemporary mystery/thriller intrigued me at the beginning, but sadly evolved into a hot mess that I had trouble finishing. It's a beautiful Valentine's Day in London. On Hampstead Heath people are enjoying the day until an aggressive argument between a man and woman turns into a murder/suicide. Five strangers that saw the incident and tried to intervene are forever bound by witnessing the violent act.

One of the strangers, disgraced journalist Jen Hunter, receives a message questioning if the incident really happened the way she thought it did. Already mentally vulnerable from recently being fired from her job and dumped by her boyfriend, Jen heavily relies on her college best friend Bex to keep her grounded. As Jen starts interviewing the other witnesses, and attempts to get back together with her boyfriend, she is taunted by an internet troll that becomes increasingly aggressive. Her only source of security is Bex, who always has her back and acts in Jen's best interest. Or does she?

As I said, this book started out pretty good. The story is told from the viewpoint of two narrators, Jen and Bex. Jen starts out in a vulnerable place, but initially seems able to persevere and come out stronger. But the more she investigate the incident, the less stable she becomes. Her story devolves into a series of rambling inner dialogue and self-doubt where she jumps to conclusions and makes accusations without ever bothering to simply talk to someone. Likewise, Bex starts out as a concerned, dependable friend helping Jen through her crisis. But as we learn more about Bex, her motives become less and less altruistic. In addition to two unreliable narrators, the author throws in multiple time-line flashbacks and ridiculous situations. A little more than halfway through the book I stopped caring what happened and was just along for the train wreck, outlandish conclusion.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Scarlet. All opinions are my own.
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Honestly was really surprised by how much I really enjoyed this book! I thought the writing was excellent, the story line kept me engaged the entire time and the twist WOOW that was a ride for sure, I really liked this book for all those reasons!
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I liked this book on one level, that of a group of strangers and the effect of witnessing a violent murder suicide. But then it turned into something else that didn't come together. desperation, manipulation and unlikely turns brought it down to disappointment for me. I would try this author again because the writing and character development were solid. The plot just got away.

copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley
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It’s Valentine’s Day, the weather absolutely gorgeous, and many people are out just enjoying the day at Hampstead Heath. But the day’s tranquility is shattered when when a couple begins to argue, quickly escalating into a murder/suicide. This beginning hit like a hammer and instantly hooked me. Is there more here than meets the eye? What happened to set things off? What did they really witness? The book is told from two main alternating points of view, (Jen and her best friend Bex) with neither narrator feeling all that reliable. (I think unreliable narrators can be a lot of fun when done well.)  The story features plenty of twists and turns, and though I figured some of it out ahead of time, it was still quite a thrilling and enjoyable ride. 
     Thanks to and Harper Collins UK and NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read and review and eARC of Five Strangers.
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Unfortunately not for me. It opens with a bang for sure- but felt a little gratuitous. I don’t like amateur detective work and I didn’t connect with the main character. I guessed the big reveal pretty early on, but I did like Penelope’s character. The book did that thing I hate- the constant referral to “the BAD THING” and taking too long to tell us what happened. The dual timelines took me out of the action. Great cover, though!
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The premise of this one is fun and original. The tension is high and the twists keep coming so it's a great sell for people who need a fast-paced high-adrenaline read. If you're looking for depth of characters, this is not for you, although the book makes up for it with the sheer number of characters who are not what they seem. Usually when there is an ensemble cast, it's harder to keep up with who's-who, but this one read so fast that that wasn't a problem at all! It's very twisty. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this book!
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Valentine's Day, London - a group of five strangers witness a horrific murder-suicide. One of them, Jen Hunter, is a journalist of sorts, and starts writing a piece on the tragedy, interviewing all the witnesses and discovering that perhaps the event was not completely as it seemed. Told in alternating chapters, Five Strangers follows Jen - the journalist, and her best friend Bex. 

I liked this one. The slow reveal was great, and the suspense at some parts was enough to make me hold my breath. 

I found some of the backstory to be a little bit unbelievable, and not informative enough for me. Some things from the past just never seemed to go anywhere, and then others seemed to be revealed too quickly at the end, but all in all I would give this a solid 3.5 stars, so rounding up to 4.
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I had heard some good buzz about this book, so I requested it for review. The premise is intriguing: a group of people witness a murder/suicide in a London Park, but did they really see what they thought they saw? One of the main witnesses, Jen Hunter, is a journalist who has recently been fired (for reasons we find out much later) and she writes an article about her experiences and sets off to interview the other witnesses, as well as to find out more about the deceased couple.

The writing for this book is incredibly tedious. I didn't like Jen or her BFF Bex at all. They were both pretty unreliable as narrators, which can be fine, but in this case I knew they were both hiding things and their histrionics were offputting. I'm never a fan of the characters knowing something that the reader does not, and the cause of Jen's firing was withheld from the reader for too long, with the characters alluding to what happened without coming right out and saying it.

As the narrative continued and Jen delves deeper into her armchair investigating and her overdramatic paranoia, everything just spiraled into something I couldn't and didn't want to believe. There were a couple of plot points that turned into "twists" that I figured out from the very beginning, especially as I got to know the characters and their deviousness. I didn't care about or like any of the characters, so it was difficult for me to root for their success.

It could have been a good story, but it just didn't work for me. If you are able to suspend disbelief and go for it, you might connect with it more than I did.
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I think that this was a pretty good start to spooky season. I liked that I was kinda in the dark all the way to the end. The chapters were short so I was always saying “oh just one more chapter”. I will say that I did want more from the ending though. Overall an okay book.
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3.75 stars

Happy publication day to Five Strangers! This was a fun read, and the plot kept me interested from the start until the very end, but the writing itself could have been stronger. I love the suspense and twists that come from a good unreliable narrator; although one such character is revealed fairly early on (and was evident even before that point), the story did still keep me guessing about some things right until the conclusion. The last couple of chapters felt a bit rushed; to be fair, though, that might just be me wanting more of the story. I enjoyed this book and am glad I was able to finish it just in time for its release.

Also, as an FYI for readers who want to know, this book could include a content warning for a scene of (fairly graphic) violence toward animals (and some pretty vivid descriptions of violence toward people, although that’s probably obvious given the overall plot).
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This is a twisty turn of a story that gives the reader a horrific starting scene and takes off from there. The main character, Jen Hunter, is a journalist who has had her share of trouble but witnessing a gruesome murder/suicide has sent her over the edge. 

Jen questions what she saw that day which leads to a unique yet totally crazy premise! While it may have been a bit unrealistic, it was wholly entertaining and I had a hard time putting this book down!

My thanks to Scarlet for this gifted DRC
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This book has it all: crime, friendship, betrayal, intimacy, mystery and suspense. It is told from the perspective of two different women who happen to be best friends.  Immediately we are thrown  into a crime unfolding which is a big attention grabber. Our main character is Jen Hunter who although is beautiful, we quickly learn is imperfect, one aspect that I greatly appreciated. (Who wants to read a book where the main character is perfect and boring and completely unrelatable? Nobody.)  The story unfolds a little at a time, as do the characters, and all the pieces come together so brilliantly.  A few of my hunches proved to be correct but yet there were still so many individual aspects that I could not figure out until they were revealed at the end.  There was even a major shocker thrown into the mix that I never saw coming! Yes, a definite must read!
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3.5 ⭐️‘s

When five strangers witness a horrific crime, they all see the same thing.  Later, Jen receives a text message that all might not be what it seems, Jen delves in to find out if she missed something.  Unfortunately, Jen hasn’t always had a stellar past and recently, when caught lying, she lost her writing job.  Spurred on by a friend to write about it to get over it, Jen decides it’s exactly what she should do.  Her college friend, Bex, is not quite so sure it’s best for Jen, but she’s always dropped everything for Jen.  Told in the alternating voices of Jen and Bex, the reader quickly ascertains that all is not quite right ... but who exactly is the unreliable narrator?  This book started out to be quite the page turner, but as it progressed there were just too many coincidences to make it believable, although it was still a fun read.
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E.V Adamson is the pseudonym of British writer Andrew Wilson, the bestseller author of four novels which feature Agatha Christie as a detective early in her career as a writer of popular detective fiction. I read the first two and thoroughly enjoyed them. So when I heard he was writing a psychological thriller under a different name, I was excited to get a hold of a copy from NetGalley. Already published in the UK, Five Strangers comes out in the U.S. on 19 October. It’s a book I highly recommend, coming on the heels of such female-led psychological thrillers like The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl. In fact, Five Strangers relies quite heavily–and effectively, in my opinion–on the kind of POV writing that made Paula Hawkins’ and Gillian Flynn’s novels so successful: the unreliable narrator.

Jen Hunter is on Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath, waiting for her friend Rebecca (Bex) to arrive for a coffee date. It’s Valentine’s Day and couples are being all smoochy and loved up. Jen is not long out of a five-year relationship with Laurence. To say it ended badly is an understatement. To add to her woes, Jen was once the celebrated author of a popular series of confessional journalistic pieces in a major newspaper, until her boss discovered that she lied about how her parents died in an earlier piece. She was fired on the spot, and now Jen has no job, no Laurence, and nothing to look forward to in life. But at least she has Bex, right?

Things take a horrific and tragic turn on the Hill when Jen and four other people witness a man, Daniel, argue with his girlfriend, Vicky. He breaks a bottle of champagne and shoves it in the poor woman’s face. If that wasn’t violent enough, he then produces a knife and slashes her throat, leaving Vicky to bleed out on the ground. One of the witness, Jamie, attempts to save the girl and is injured in the process. But before the police arrive, Daniel slashes his own throat and dies before another witness, Ayesha, a doctor just out of medical training, can save him. Another witness, Steven, a Black teenager, runs off before he can give a statement to the police. The last witness is Julia Jones, the local Labour MP, is horrified but there’s nothing she can do to save the situation. Bex arrives just in time to help Jen, knowing that her friend is already in a fragile state of mind.

The one other mystery is the jogger who saw what happened but continued their run without lending assistance. The police urge for him or her to come forward. Jen’s journalistic instincts take hold. Urged by Bex and another close friend, her housemate Penelope, Jen wants to find out why Daniel killed Vicky and then himself, and also discover the identity of the unhelpful jogger. She starts getting tweets from a mysterious Twitter account that suggests that all is not what it appears to be. Bex knows that the more Jen delves into the murder suicide, the greater the chance that her friend will spiral into a breakdown she might not come out of.

Five Strangers is told from both Jen and Bex’s point of view, in alternating chapters. In ways similar to Gone Girl, we get both sides of the story–until the midway twist puts a completely different spin on everything we’ve read until then. Even the witnesses have secrets they’d prefer not to see the light of day. Jen interviews each of them in turn, and discovers allies and foes around every corner. But who is telling the truth? And who among them is hiding the deepest secret of all? I read this book at a feverish pace because I was desperate to find out.

Adamson/Wilson has written a compelling tale of murder, deceit, and the ultimate betrayal. It’s not the first book I’ve read this year in which childhood trauma and fears of abandonment have been behind the characters’ heinous actions, but it’s probably the best and hardest-hitting. While at times I struggled to find sympathy with Jen and Bex, I think the author wanted it that way. There is no black and white when it comes to Jen, Bex, Laurence, and the four witnesses, just many shades of grey.
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“𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒅 𝒃𝒆𝒆𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆. 𝑾𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒎. 𝑨𝒍𝒍 𝒐𝒇 𝒖𝒔 𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝒄𝒓𝒊𝒎𝒆. 𝑨𝒏𝒅 𝑰 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒕𝒐 𝒌𝒏𝒐𝒘 𝒘𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒔𝒂𝒘.”

What a pleasant surprise this thriller was! A true cat and mouse game filled with gaslighting and a shocking opening that keeps the pace the whole way through!

Jen Hunter is down on her luck, having lost her national column in the newspaper, her boyfriend, and her sense of purpose in life. While enjoying Hamstead Heath on Valentine’s Day, she, along with five others, witness a lovers’ quarrel turned murder-suicide. Unable to shake the memory, a mysterious message from a Twitter follower has Jen asking herself: is there more to what she and the others saw? With the watchful eye of her best friend Bex, Jen dives in deeper into an investigation that soon reveals that this was more than just a lovers’ quarrel, but will Jen be able to handle the stress?

This first chapter is one of the best openings of a book I have read in a while; it’s shocking and immediately gets you invested in the story, much like the five strangers are now invested in the tragic event. I loved the duel perspectives between Bex and Jen; as a reader you love to hate both of them for different reasons at various points throughout the book. Hearing from Jen and Bex, along with lots of mini revelations and short chapters, made for a quick and bingeable read. I wasn’t sure how much more there could be to what appeared to be a cut-and-dry murder, but E.V. Adamson does a great job at pulling back all the deep layers, one by one. Sometimes things are a little far-fetched and coincidental, but the ending dropped a reveal that I definitely didn’t see coming.

I loved this story of obsession, trauma, and love-gone-wrong. Looking forward to more E.V. Adamson stories in the future! Thanks to Scarlet New York and NetGalley for the ARC!
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The premise of Five Strangers was so intriguing! I was definitely hooked from the first few chapters, where we read in gruesome detail about Daniel’s murder of his girlfriend Vicky and then himself. And then I realized this was an obsession thriller, and I was even more into it!

I enjoyed the characters and how we steadily learned more about them as Jen began her investigation. Jen seemed like a little bit of a basket case and some of her decisions were questionable, but I warmed to her as the story progressed. I thought Bex’s character was very well written, and every character’s secrets were revealed at the perfect pace.

The ending/twist certainly required some suspension of belief, but there’s not much I can say without spoilers. Overall, this book is very well-paced and well written. It’s certainly one to add to your list for spooky season!
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This book was so captivating and kept me turning the pages. I loved how there was a hint of unreliability of the mc, it made it very enjoyable and not too overdone. I did guess the twist about halfway in, but the complexity of it still made me shocked as it unfolded. One small twist after another made me fly through the second half of the book!
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In FIVE STRANGERS, a group of bystanders witness a murder-suicide in a park in London, but the situation is not quite as it seems. One of the witnesses, a disgraced journalist, pursues  the truth.

This story starts strong with a brutal and shocking opening scene, and it keeps good pace to the end. The writing is strong, and the characters are fleshed out. However, the plot is nonsensical. The makings of a good thriller are here, but the threads of the plot seem to hinge coincidence and luck, both good and bad.
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