Cover Image: A Familiar Stranger

A Familiar Stranger

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Member Reviews

I'm not gonna lie, I keep waiting for A. R. Torre to release something that rocks my world the way The Ghostwriter did, and I am always just a little let down that when it doesn't happen.  BUT - fair being fair, The Ghostwriter seriously knocked my socks off, and would be hard to beat.  Something not living up to that is like comparing a kindergarten valedictorian to Einstein - this is not apples to apples here.

Lillian is one of the freaking weirdest characters I think I have ever encountered, and that's saying something  I enjoyed the snark, and found her hot mess of a life to be just on the outer edges of believable.  I loathed both her husband and her best friend from beginning to end.  At the end of the day this book definitely broke the suspense/drama mold in some major ways, and it really worked.  I did NOT see...  *gestures* any of that coming.  At all.  I really enjoyed this.  I think my one note is that I really can't understand the reason for the title.  Which is weird.
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This was an ok thriller. After reading the synopsis I think I expected more. I would put this at a three star in the middle read for me.
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my second a.r. Torre and a tale as old as time. lately I've been reading quite a few stories about the docile wife with a secret past. This one felt a little flat. I felt like the past was not nearly as intimidating as we were led to believe.
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Domestic thriller with double lives and bored housewives (that rhymed) set us up for a lot of promise here. The first part of the book comes in hot but then there is a lot of time spent on…? Could’ve been executed much better.
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This book was fantastic! I really enjoyed it and it kept me guessing throughout, which is difficult for most books to do. I felt like I connected with the characters and really enjoyed the plot!
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Headlines:
Double lives
Stale relationships
Who dunnit?

A Familiar Stranger was a joy of an easy thriller. AR Torre serves up unlikeable characters as ever and as a reader, you suck it up like a delicious feast. This dysfunctional family at the centre, their cold connection but reluctance to make change made for early investment. As things got wilder, I couldn't put it down.

There were a number of POVs but they weren't overused, nor were they confusing. Mostly this was told from Lillian's seemingly (but not) mundane perspective with the occasional Mike thrown in. Mike was a character who seemed without feeling, calculating and unfathomable in ways. Jacob was the sad victim of circumstances.

I didn't like David but I did like the life Lillian found in the marina. I have no words for Sam. The mental illness exploitation was uncomfortable but not unrealistic in this plot; that element saddened me. I didn't like how Lillian's POVs turned out but I guess it kept a train of events in a way that would have otherwise been difficult.

Overall, I find AR Torre's thrillers to be her sweet spot and they almost always work for me.

Thank you to Thomas & Mercer for the eARC.
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Lillian leads an unexceptional life, writing obituaries and killing time with her inattentive husband and disconnected son. Then she meets David, a handsome stranger, in a coffee shop. Lured into an affair, she invents a new persona, one without strings, deadlines, or brooding husbands.  Who knew that this could be the most deadly mistake?  Everyone has secrets here...EVERYONE.

I'm a HUGE fan of A.R. Torre.  I especially loved Every Last Secret.  So I went into this one with high expectations.  But...I...didn't love this one.  Yes, I could not put it down.  But I didn't really like any of the characters and I didn't really have anyone to root for.  Overall, it was not a bad way to kill 72 hours.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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I enjoyed reading this suspenseful story.  This is not my first book by this author but it is one of my favorites yet.  It is a story where the twists and turns take things to a new level.  The author's use of details bring life to the story and made it hard to put down.  I found this book to be fast paced and engaging.  A well; written story where not everyone is who you think they are and life just starts spirally out of control..  I enjoyed how the characters pulled me into their world.  They are connectable, srong and supportive of each other.  They made the story easy and entertaining and had me coming back for more.  I enjoyed not only their growth but also the growth of the plot throughout the story.  This made such a great story for a cold afternoon.  I highly recommend this book and this author.
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Thank you NetGalley, publisher, and author for giving me this ARC in exchange for my honest review! 

I have always loved books by this author! Amazing suspense and keeps me on my toes. This one was no different. Highly recommend!
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Thanks to Netgalley, Thomas and Mercer publishing and A. R. Torre for this ARC. What  did I just read ?
So many twists and turns with so many flawed characters .. I loved it ! First time author for me, I’m so glad I requested this book. 4 stars as I’ve yet to read anything else by this author, but be assured, I will.
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Is there a second book? I feel like the story could produce a sequel! Rigghhht?

Cheers to Netgalley for the copy!
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Oof
What did I just read?!
Whatever it was ... it wasn't good. 
I usually enjoy this author but A Familiar Stranger was a huge miss for me. 

I am extremely thankful to the publisher for my gifted copy of this book and my feelings and opinions are in no way meant to disrespect the author or any reader that has read and enjoyed this book. 

I have not given up on A.R. Torre. I look forward to reading more of her books. I know she can do better =)
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Not as good as some others I have read by this author - still very enjoyable read. I loved the characters. Tidbits of information given in this multiple narrator suspense. 
Mike - The Husband 
Lillian - The Wife 
The Death - this book starts before The Death, who doesn't love the ominous title? Lillian is a high functioning alcoholic, convinced her husband of almost two decades is having an affair. Fired from her journalist job, Lillian begins her own affair. Until The Death disrupts her quiet life. 
I enjoyed the twists - though a little predictable.
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Lillian Smith used to be a successful obituary writer covering celebrity deaths until a professional mistake derailed her career. And it's not just her job that is unfulfilling. Her home life leaves a lot to be desired - a son she can't seem to connect with and a husband whose attention seems to be on everything but Lillian. The only constants seem to be her best friend Sam and a grieving ex-cop turn cemetery groundskeeper Lenny. Maybe she drinks a bit too much. Maybe she has become a bit boring. But when realization that her husband is having an affair leads her into the arms of a handsome stranger she meets in a coffee shop everything seems to change. Lillian's life feels exciting and unpredictable. But secrets always have a cost. How much will this one cost Lillian?

This was such a fun, entertaining thriller with a tense cat and mouse game vibes. Seemingly ordinary surface hid many complex layers that gave the story that "just one more chapter" energy. I particularly enjoyed details like chapter titles used as a tool to build anticipation. Characters were multi-layered and interesting and though I guessed some reveals, the way that all the dots got connected was quite satisfying. 

A Familiar Stranger will definitely appeal to the fans of the genre but also to those readers looking for a good mind-escape. I'll definitely be picking up A.R. Torre's other books after reading this one. 

A big thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I have to confess, when I started this book, I found is slow and a tad boring.  And I was surprised because this author is brilliant and one of my favorites.  So, because I trust her and trust her brilliance, I went on reading, and oh boy, was I in for a surprise!

As the plot thickens, you get more invested in wanting to know what the heck happens.  I had no idea who would die and who dunnit.  And as the author presents us the different characters POV’s, I was more and more intrigued.

Lillian was a hot mess, Mike was the husband, calculating and dominant, Max was the best friend, cool and composed and so emphatic.  Who can I choose?  

Lillian was strangely obsessed with death, she was very talented at obituaries.  Lenny, the father of one of her best obituary deaths, was her alcoholic partner.  Their meet ups at the  cemetery with drinks were a hoot.  It was such a cast of intriguing characters!  And I loved how the author throws out crumbs little by little so you get the whole picture, but not all at once.

There’s no way to comment on the book, I don’t want to point the finger at anyone, you have to come in blind.  Just enjoy the ride and prepare to have your mind blown and be hugely entertained by this thriller.
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3 Stars 
One Liner: Fast-paced but okayish 

Lillian Smith leads an ordinary life as a wife and mother of a sulking teen. She is an obituary writer with hardly anything exciting in her life. It appears that her husband Mike feels the same and looking for excitement else. 
When Lillian meets David, a handsome stranger, she creates a new persona of herself. Soon, she is living a lie and having a great time. However, things don’t last long. The affair is revealed on social media, and Lillian’s life slips out of her control. 
It wasn’t until later that she realizes her life was never in her control. As secrets tumble out of the closet, it appears impossible to get back to normal. 
The story comes from the first-person POV of Lillian and a few other characters. 

My Thoughts: 
•	I love that the book is fast-paced from start to finish. The chapters race by, even if there’s no character development as such. That made the book a lot easier to read. 
•	Lillian’s job as an obituary writer is unique and interesting. The tweets she posts on her Twitter handle are rather fun (she shares murder puzzles for her followers to solve). 
•	The characters have great potential (though be assured that you won’t like most of them except Lenny). Sadly, they aren’t explored in detail. Once we know who they are, they continue to stick to their roles and do nothing different. 
•	The second half is different, but that didn’t make it fully entertaining. I like some of it and didn’t feel bored, so that’s something. 
•	I don’t like how Lillian’s mental illness is handled. Even for a thriller, it could have been better. 
•	The climax and ending are a little too convenient. A certain twist, which leads to the ending, is eye-roll-worthy. 

To summarize, A Familiar Stranger is a fast-paced domestic thriller with enough to keep you reading. However, it is a passable book with 2D characters and an easy ending. This is my first book by the author, and I see that it is not her best. I’ll read a couple of more books before I decide. 
Thank you, NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer, for the eARC. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.
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I love books by A. R. Torre! I just really enjoy their writing and A Familiar Stranger was no exception. Torre's newest is a psychological type thriller (of course!)and I'm all for it! Lillian's life used to be exciting but now she writes obituaries, is ignore by her husband and her teen son shuts her out. Lillian needs excitement and decides to reinvent herself and has an affair. So many twists and turns happen next! Definitely check out A Familiar Stranger!
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This book had me quickly flipping pages at first, but I ended up not liking the book.  The first half showed so much promise, but took a turn midway leaving me disappointed with the ending.  The two halves just didn’t fit together as well as they could have.  Just an OK read for me. Thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for an ARC of this book.
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I love a good murder mystery where you think you know what is going to happen and then it does a back flip and you have no idea what is going on. Evernote though the story flipped between characters, it didn’t get overly annoying. But the twists threw me every time which I loved! Thanks NetGalley for this book.
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Such a fun and twisty thriller. I loved the obituary writing and the way the relationships with her family were played out. A. R. Torre never disappoints with a quick fun thriller to keep you entertained!
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