Saturday, November 13, 2021

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena


Hmm. I feel a little torn on how to rate this one. On the one hand, it kept me turning pages until the end wanting to find out what happened. On the other hand, all of the characters were extremely unlikable, and not in the fun way where even though they're total assholes you can sort of see yourself in them. No, they were all total garbage human beings and I kind of despised them all.

The beginning is really good. It opens with a woman driving into a pole. That woman is Karen. Karen, who now has amnesia. Karen, who might just be a murderer. Or is she? Deus ex amnesia, man. We don't know. Her husband doesn't know. The cops don't know. The friend doesn't know. Even Karen herself doesn't know. Because amnesia.

I'm a sucker for a good amnesia plot and I thought it lent an interesting unreliable narrator bent to the story. The problem is that it all just feels SO DRAWN OUT and REPETITIVE. Like, all of the cop scenes could have been cut. And Brigid's menacing sitting-across-the-street-and-spying scenes probably could have been cut, as well. All of their scenes are either too expositional or too boring. Or both.

The ending didn't annoy me as much as it annoyed other people, although FUCK BRIGID (there, I said it), but it wasn't a BOOM! MIND BLOWN moment, either. It was fine. Not entirely satisfying, but fine. I just really, really hated these characters to the point that I didn't really care what happened to any of them, so that made it hard to read this book, which made it feel much longer than it should have. Although I must say it's refreshing to read one of these domestic thrillers where it's the wife, instead of the husband, that you're not sure you can trust.

2 to 2.5 out of 5 stars

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