Review: The Stranger Inside by Jennifer Jaynes


Print Length: 274 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (May 9, 2017)

From  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.


My Rating: 1 star out of 5

While the premise of this book was interesting, the book itself was an absolute train wreck. Even still, I thought I would rate it at least 3 starts simply because it flowed well and managed to keep my attention throughout. 

But then I finished it. 

And not only were the characters either one dimensional, or (in the case of the adult males) just... horrible people, but the ending? Was such an unbelievable cluster that I was mad I read the book at all. 

The son has chronic lung issues to the point he spent most of his childhood in the hospital (and in fact is having "breathing issues" throughout most of the book). The daughter has
issues, but instead of having her take a proactive route and talking to her doctor about the fact that her anti-depressants aren't working, the author decides instead to have her steal booze and sleeping pills from her mother. The three "men" in this book are the creepy grocery store manager who follows Diane around and makes her uncomfortable, the too young for her cop who has a reputation as a playboy (and who in fact has sex with her daughter then leaves abruptly and never talks to her again), and the sexy but mysterious new guy in town who has more secrets than the FBI.

Add in a few red herrings, and then what I'm sure the author thought would be a shocking twist, but instead turned into the biggest "What the heck were they thinking" moment of my 2020 reading list, I was just done. With this story (even though it does end on something of a cliffhanger), and with this author (because seriously? How did they think this was okay)?

A real shame because the other book I read from this author I absolutely loved.

                                                    The Stranger Inside is available from
                                   (for free if your subscribe to Kindle Unlimited)

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