The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda
The cat under the front porch was at it again. Scratching at the slab of wood that echoed through the hardwood floors of my bedroom. Sharpening its claws, marking its territory--relentless in the dead of night.
I sat on the edge of the bed, stomped my feet on the wood, thought, Please let me sleep, which had become my repeated plea to all things living and nonliving out here, whatever piece of nature was at work each particular night.
The scratching stopped, and I eased back under the sheets.
Other sounds, more familiar now: the creak of the old mattress, crickets, a howl as the wind funneled through the valley. All of it orienting me to my new life--the bed I slept in, the valley I lived in, a whisper in the night: You are here.
The Perfect Stranger was the second book I've read by Megan Miranda. Her first adult thriller was All the Missing Girls and I remember liking that one, a story told backwards. Some thought that was creative and interesting and some, I think, were just confused. I thought it was clever. I listened to The Perfect Stranger on audio, narrated by Rebekkah Ross. It was a tense story with the reader not knowing which characters were reliable and which were not. I'm usually fairly adept at spotting clues and twists, but I will admit that I was a bit baffled with who was a good guy and who was not. Even the main protagonist, Leah Stevens. She comes to rural Pennsylvania to be a teacher after her career as a journalist ends badly. She wasn't fired from her job, but was forced to resign and really has to start over with a whole new life. After her roommate disappears and a woman is attacked, Leah isn't sure if her troubles have followed her. The police are initially helpful, but after Leah is unable to provide much information about Emmy, her friend, they aren't sure if Emmy is even real - and the reader isn't sure either. That's all I'll say about the plot. I liked it and I'll definitely be watching for the next book by this author. The audio is well done and it's a good listen.
When Leah Stevens’ career implodes, a chance meeting with her old friend Emmy Grey offers her the perfect opportunity to start over. Emmy, just out of a bad relationship, convinces Leah to come live with her in rural Pennsylvania, where there are teaching positions available and no one knows Leah’s past.
When the town sees a spate of vicious crimes and Emmy Grey disappears, Leah begins to realize how very little she knows about her friend and roommate. Unable to find friends, family, a paper trail or a digital footprint, the police question whether Emmy Grey existed at all. And mark Leah as a prime suspect.
Fighting the doubts of the police and her own sanity, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.