Book Review: The Stranger Inside by Laura Benedict

The Stranger Inside by Laura Benedict
My rating: 🌟🌟 (2 stars)
Publisher: Mullholland Books

"I was there. I saw what you did."
Am I the only person who heard Phil Collins' In the Air Tonight?

The summary was so full of promise but this quickly devolved into a complete disappointment. When I'm 30 pages in and have already identified some glaring holes in the plot, it doesn't bode well. For example, the police don't ask Lance, the supposed six month lodger, why the locks to the house have been changed or for proof of the account, he paid his lease. They don't ask Kimber for proof of ownership of the house or if they stipulate she's the owner, why not let her enter the house (perhaps to gather her things?).

When I've reached the halfway point and the number of times the protagonist has withheld pertinent information has stacked up it's a clear signal this isn't going to end well. I'm not even going to detail all of them here as they're numerous and tedious. Suffice it to say, it sapped a lot of the tension from the story and let the author and Kimber string this out longer than was necessary. And Kimber's litany of misdeeds felt like a pile on for shock value. Oh, the contrivances and the "shocking" revelations. This exceeded Lifetime Movie Network levels of wtf-ery.

And when I've reached the end and I feel that a good third of the story was filler and not even good filler and I haven't been able to muster a scintilla of care for the main character and her plight, I just have to call it a day and accept it's at best an unsatisfying two star read. On the upside, this is what I spent a lazy Sunday reading so it did prove to be a swift read. I'll give the story one thing though, Kimber was right about Tinker Bell. That fairy's never been one to be trusted. She tried to kill Wendy, that's not a fairy to benevolently watch over anyone and no amount of Disney attempted rehab has ever made her cool with me.

Summary: 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....

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