In the masterful follow-up to the runaway hit All the Missing Girls—a “fiendishly plotted thriller” (Publishers Weekly)—a journalist sets out to find a missing friend, a friend who may never have existed at all.
Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.
Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.
Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?
Having read the author’s other title, All The Missing Girls, last year, which was cleverly written backwards (that’s the best way to describe the structure. You’ll have to read that book for yourself) I was looking forward to this new novel, The Perfect Stranger.
I was not disappointed. The plot was not at all predictable (which is important for me, especially in this ‘domestic noir’ genre that is now so prevalent) and kept me intrigued all the way to the end.
The concept had me questioning…. Not only about how you might report a friend missing when there is no evidence that the friend even actually exists, but also, how can this situation even exist in such an internet intensive world?
The story is written in first person, mostly present day, and the plot was complicated, so you might need serious reading sessions to help you keep track. The character, Lea Stevens, has a past she’s trying to avoid by trusting a friend! But is Lea’s past stealing her future? Fascinating.
Review also placed on Goodreads