The Stranger Inside by Laura Benedict

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Kimber Hannon returned home from a brief trip, only to discover someone changed the locks while she was away from home… and they have taken up residence in her house. The man shows the police “proof” he has a short lease for the house, only to whisper a chilling message that leaves Kimber afraid and uncertain of whom she can trust. Nevertheless, she is determined to find out who he is—and what he really wants—before he completely destroys her life. She needs to do so carefully, however, lest he reveal a dark secret from Kimber’s past.

Most people feel that their home is a safe refuge, so I am always intrigued with books that explore the idea of that safety being ripped away for baffling reasons. The thought of coming home only to find a stranger living in your house, having access to everything you own and hold dear, is frightening to consider.

The staging of the story was cleverly done, slowly revealing tidbits of information that ultimately leads to the intruder’s true identity and purpose, while also giving tantalizing glimpses into Kimber’s past regarding the tragic death of her older sister Michelle.

Kimber Hannon is definitely an unlikable character, neither trustworthy or kind to most of the people in her life. And yet… I couldn’t help but feel sorry for what she was going through, and could easily understand how violated she felt.

I expected a stunning resolution to the story, but I was still surprised when the truth came out. It had me pausing to recall earlier moments in the story, seeing various events in a completely different light. There were a few extremely subtle moments that revealed the plot against Kimber was far more complex that I initially thought it to be.

Benedict’s writing was excellent throughout, and even though this is the first time I’ve read one of her books, it most definitely won’t be the last.

Overall, this was a great book, and I highly recommend it!

I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of Mulholland Books via Netgalley.

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Author: Laura Benedict
Title: The Stranger Inside
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Publication Date: February 5, 2019 by Mulholland Books
Rating: 5 stars

About the Book

Kimber Hannon’s belief that she has complete control over her life is shattered the night that she comes home from a trip to find her key no longer opens her front door. There is a stranger living in her house. A stranger who claims he has every right to be there, with the paperwork to prove it. When she confronts the man, he lets her get close enough to whisper, “I was there. I saw what you did.”

She doesn’t know how he knows her, but with those words Kimber knows this stranger isn’t after anything as simple as her money or artwork or charming Craftsman bungalow. She has to find out exactly what he wants and get him out of her carefully orchestrated life before he ruins it.

There are plenty of people in her life who might help, but should Kimber trust any of them? Her lawyer, Gabriel, is also her ex-lover; Diana, her best friend, doesn’t know Kimber slept with her husband; her ex-husband has a new, happier life since leaving her; and her co-workers know she’ll do anything to get her next sale. And no one can know the real reason this man is in her house. Without trust, everyone’s a stranger….

About the Author

LAURA BENEDICT is the Edgar- and ITW Thriller Award- nominated author of eight novels of suspense, including the forthcoming The Stranger Inside (February 5, 2019). Small Town Trouble, her most recent book, is a cozy crime novel. Her Bliss House gothic trilogy includes The Abandoned Heart, Charlotte’s Story (Booklist starred review), and Bliss House. Her short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and in numerous anthologies like Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads, The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers, and St. Louis Noir. A native of Cincinnati, she lives in Southern Illinois with her family.

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