Why would you run scared from a happy home? You’re waiting for your beloved husband to get home from work. You’re making dinner, looking forward to hearing about his day. That’s the last thing you remember. You wake up in hospital, with no idea how you got there. They tell you that you were in an accident; you lost control of your car whilst driving in a dangerous part of town. The police suspect you were up to no good. But your husband refuses to believe it. Your best friend isn’t so sure. And even you don’t know what to believe . .
A Stranger in the House starts with a pulse-pounding prologue and a gripping, fast-paced first third and I was really hooked to begin with. Then the pace settles down a bit and there is a lot of information gathering in the middle third but it moves along swiftly enough.
Unfortunately, it has a disappointing final third. Maybe I’ve just read too many similar books lately but the ending was not a particular surprise. The pace was still brisk and there are revelations made but it did not quite live up to its early promise.
Separately, I wasn’t that keen on our two leads. Tom is not a likeable figure – a bit weak, a bit dithery and a little flat. Karen is better, a stronger character but I didn’t really warm to her. You don’t know whether you can trust her and that is fine – that is entertaining – but I almost didn’t really care what was going to happen to either of them.
There is some good plotting in the story and, as I say, some tense moments. I had enjoyed Shari Lapena’s first book, The Couple Next Door, and her new release also sounds good, so I am hoping that this is just a one-off where the book and I did not hit it off as much as I’d hoped. 3/5 stars.
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House UK, Transworld Publishers for the ARC of A Stranger in the House.