Louise Stone’s first venture into psychological thrillers is a real page turner, don’t start reading this book unless you’ve the time to finish it! Already compared to The Girl on the Train this book is in a different league. Even at the end we’re left with a massive question mark and I love that!
When Sophie’s daughter Amy goes missing whilst they’re at the fair a doorway to a dark and murky past opens. What do events from 20 years earlier have to do with the kidnapping? Is her ex-husband telling the truth? Did Sophie’s best friend commit suicide or was she murder? And most importantly can Sophie solve the mystery in time to save her daughter Amy?
In Sophie Fraiser Stone has created a fantastically complex character. A recovering alcoholic, desperate to do right by her daughter but plagued with issues from her past, the death of her parents when she was a teenager and the apparent suicide or murder of her best friend at University. Stone is very clever in her narrative, we very quickly warm to Sophie, she has a vulnerability about her, and you want to believe in her. At the same time we are painted a picture of a cold calculating ex-husband someone not be trusted. Is Paul involved somehow in Amy’s kidnapping? Is it all a ploy to make Sophie look bad at the custody hearing? Would someone really stoop that low?
What is easy to forget is that S is for Stranger is purely Sophie’s account. At no point do we see the situation from another perspective. We see the Paul she wants us to see, we read the other characters DI Ward, Oliver, Darren Fletcher as Sophie wants us to see them. Whilst she appears as a frantic character spiralling under the strain of the situation, our main character is very much in control of this narrative.
It is very difficult to discuss some of the finer and more compelling aspects of S is for Stranger without giving away key plot lines and twists. What I will say is that Stone writes a fantastic fast paced and complex thriller. There are a number of cliff hangers and plot twists but each one brings more depth to the story and characters rather than just being there to confuse the reader. Stone’s choice of ending is brave and leaves the reader with a massive question mark, there is a definite implied conclusion but we are left to reason it our self.
I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a thrilling read.