The Stranger Inside by Jennifer Jaynes
After mystery author Diane Christie loses her husband to suicide, she and her son move to the small coastal town of Fog Harbor, Massachusetts. Her daughter is attending college nearby, and Diane hopes that her family can now begin to heal. But rebuilding their lives after the tragedy isn’t so simple.
Diane’s depressed college-age daughter, Alexa, still avoids her, critical of everything Diane does, and even her generally amiable teenage son, Josh, has started acting out. Diane pushes forward, focusing on her writing and her volunteer work at a local crisis hotline. She knows that healing takes time.
But then a girl from Alexa’s college is found strangled. Worse still, the murderer uses the crisis hotline to confess to Diane… and claims she is the only one who can stop the killing. And just when the glow of new love from an attractive admirer begins to chase away some of the darkness, more girls turn up dead, and Diane races to solve a mystery she fears will hit terrifyingly close to home.
I originally bought The Stranger Inside months ago on my Kindle because it was super cheap and decided that it might be a good, quick read one day when I was in the mood for a mystery thriller. I went into this book thinking that I would think it was a pretty solid read but didn’t hype myself up for it that much. Unfortunately it fell short of even those expectations.
The book starts off right off the bat introducing us to victim number one, a college student who gets murdered. Getting right into the story, for me, is such a good sign for a book. I don’t like leading up to something just for the sake of thrillers and we were getting off to a good start.
The writing in this book is very basic but it has just enough information to get you engaged in the story and it’s a rather quick read. I never felt like I didn’t receive enough details about a character or a scene and I connected with the characters just enough to care about them…certain ones at least. The story also follows a few of the main characters which I really liked. It gave the reader more insight into their lives and how close everyone was to the killer. It could have been anyone and you knew that they were all in danger.
Before the ending of the book I was at a solid three stars for this book. The writing was decent, the plot was decent and I did connect on a certain level with the main characters but the ending ruined the book for me, RUINED. It was so terrible and unrealistic. The killer did not come as a shock to me at all but I didn’t think the way Jaynes wrapped up the killer’s story left a lot to be desired. There was just so much build up I didn’t feel the payoff by the end of the story. And what happens to the killer was SO unrealistic that I had to take a star off just for the ending. I just didn’t feel like everything was wrapped up in a way that left me content and instead of a real ‘wow’ factor at the end it came off as a quick ending just for the sake of ending the story.
I personally wouldn’t recommend this book. I felt like it had a lot of potential but it ultimately fell short. I would be open to trying another Jennifer Jaynes book in the future though.