A STRANGER IN THE HOUSE
by SHARI LAPENA
When they brought you in[to the hospital], you were very disoriented, he begins. Saying things.
She’s anxious now, and wide awake. You kept saying someone’s name over and over. Do you remember that?
She goes completely still. No.
Pamela Dorman | Aug 2017
Hardcover: 320 pages
Review Source: ARC e-book from Eidelweiss
I was thrilled when the publisher through Eidelweiss granted permission to preview the book. I didn’t notice when I downloaded it that a large portion of the book was missing and replaced by strange coding. Always up to a challenge, I decided to see if I could decipher what was going on despite the screwed-up download.
Amazingly, it wasn’t hard at all. The number of characters were few and one-dimensional. The plot fairly obvious from the get-go. The dialogue simple, much like a Robert Parker novel. In other words, an easy read. I do want to note that I rated it only 2 stars but I do so with the caution that I didn’t get the full book to review.
Tom Krupp arrives home from work to discover his wife is not there. Their evening meal is laid out in the kitchen. He notes her purse and cell phone are on the counter. Her car is missing. All very strange and very much unlike Karen’s daily routine.
He begins to call their neighbors to ask if they know Karen’s whereabouts. After a few hours he calls 911 to report his wife missing. His doorbell rings within minutes of this call. Opening his door, he is surprised to find police officers standing there. How did you get here so fast? I just called 911 a few minutes ago.
His wife has been hospitalized after crashing her car into a pole while driving recklessly through traffic. Mysteriously the accident occurred in the unsavory side of town. What was she doing there and what would make her drop everything and head there?
As Karen lies in the hospital struggling to remember what happened, the police discover a murder was committed in an abandoned building near the scene of the accident. Despite their best efforts to make her talk, Karen insists she has no recollection of why she left her home in such a hurry or why she was running scared; scared enough to make her nearly kill herself behind the wheel. The nondescript detectives return time and time again badgering Tom, Karen and Brigid hoping to pin the murder on someone.
Karen’s best friend, Brigid, shows herself to be is a devious conniver who has spend the last two years watching everything that happens across the street in the Krupps household. And poor Tom finds his own past rears up to bite him. The ending is creative and does have an unusual twist.
Truth be told, I didn’t really like any of these characters. Not that it is important that I develop a fondness for the accused, but I don’t like it when I don’t care what happens to any one of them.
Judging from the wild range of ratings by other reviewers, this book either satisfies a mystery appetite or leaves folks with a yawn. Personally, I like a book that has me looking for clues so I can outsmart the author and happy when I am caught off guard and shouting in the end…I didn’t see that coming! Yawn, figured this one out early.