STRANGERS By C.L.Taylor

SYNOPSIS

Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life. Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards. And Alice is being stalked.

None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise one of them will die.

Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.

MY REVIEW

WOW, what an absolutely brilliant, engrossing read. This had me hooked from the first sentence “Alice Fletcher had never seen a dead body before”. By the end of the prologue the group have decided to say it was self defence. But what have they done? Who have they done it to? Why?

There are then a few Twitter feeds talking of someone known as the ‘Harbourside Murderer’ now is this something real, or is it a tweet that isn’t true, fake news. The story jumps back to a week earlier Alice is mum to Emily, she spent years in an abusive marriage with her ex Peter. She seems to be getting her life back on track, her daughter has encouraged her to get back out on the dating scene. But her first date doesn’t go exactly as planned! But she does get rescued by Simon.

The chapters are told from viewpoints of the main characters, so Gareth, Ursula and Alice. The reader learns things about the characters throughout the book as each chapter reveals a little. But non of these people have ever met.

Ursula had lost the love of her life, she had found life difficult after that, she had started stealing things, just little bits, for no real reason, she felt invisible so no one would see her lifting items. Unfortunately it led to her being kicked out of her accommodation that she had shared with a friend. She now has to find somewhere else to live. She used to be a teacher, so now delivers parcels for a living. Her friend sends her the number of someone looking for a lodger, she phones immediately and views after work that evening, then moves in the same night. Despite the landlord being a little odd. But she is desperate for somewhere to live and has little money.

Gareth, is a security worker, he watches the CCTV monitors for the Mead shopping Centre. He lives at home with his mum, mainly because she has dementia and needs round the clock care, she refuses to go into a home. His dad John had gone out one day 20 years earlier and had never come home, it was believed he had gone to Scafell Pike and had had an accident, but his body had never been found, his mum, Joan, had been heartbroken. Two carers look after Joan whilst Gareth is at work, and his neighbour Kath is always good. But when a postcard arrives that looks like it’s written in his dad’s handwriting Gareth is worried his mum will get upset, he can’t read the postcode to see where it was sent from either. Could his father still be alive? If he was he would be in his 80’s, why would he come back now? However, when he is at work, he thinks he sees his father on a CCTV camera, could it be him?

Alice works in a clothing shop Mirage Fashions, when Alice goes to Costa opposite her work, she spots Simon, the man who had rescued her from her disastrous date, she sits herself down where she can see him, then sends him a text message, she sees his reaction as he smiles at the message and replies, she sends another one which lets him know she can see him, he looks up smiles and invites her over. Alice receives messages on Facebook from someone call Ann Friend warning her to stay away from Simon. But they arrange a date, half way through Simon has to go outside to take a call, then he behaves oddly afterwards, he walks Alice back to her car, someone has scratched on it YOU’RE NOT LISTENING. Alice reports it to the police and Simon sees her home in a taxi. There are things that don’t add up about him, Alice keeps texting to try and get answers but he doesn’t reply, after a couple of dates, he tells Alice he can’t see her anymore, but why?

As each chapter unfolds, we learn more about these characters as well as a few more, the tension builds throughout, with other things happening, that throws the reader in one direction, you start doubting one thing, and bang something else takes you in a another direction. With all the different characters, relatives, work colleagues, children this is so well, worked out, leading to the final scenes, tying everything in so brilliantly. Suspicions I had went out the window, new ones were formed, and they didn’t pan out either. I really enjoyed reading this book. Great characters, all believable, relatable and likeable well mostly. I find if I like the characters a book works better for me. I couldn’t fault a thing with this book.

A definite ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ from me.

I would like to thank #netgalley and #Avon for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest, fair and unbiased review.


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