(Have you ever noticed how many books by Lanyon have the word "Stranger" in the title? I own at least four.)
This just wasn't a five star read for me, unlike most Lanyhon novels, for many reasons. The setting was great, and I really liked the plot. There were a lot of overt similarities between the setup here and the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but not so bad that I felt he was copying, and I really liked that book anyway. The basic situation was obvious from before halfway through the book, but there were still surprises and the final culprit wasn't clear until the very end. Even so, it was anticlimactic.
I enjoyed the characters, although (medium spoiler)
Griff and Pierce obviously have issues--this wouldn't be a Lanyon book without that--and that makes their relationship interesting. I loved the slow burn, the flirting love/hatred. But when it did take off, the relationship was too perfect too fast and it didn't quite click for me. The worst part--and my biggest problem with the book,--is the ending between them. Major spoiler:(show spoiler)
I loved that all of the children of the patriarch had names starting with "M." In a book like this that has so many characters, it really helped keep track of who is who.
One of the characters mentioned having mumps and measles as a child. He's 27; he should have been inoculated against those. Even if one of those failed, both?
A diary Griff is reading has "several blank pages, and then Gemma's narrative picked up on July 4." Those pages separate June 26th, the previous entry from July 4th, six days between entries. But in the same section, he repeatedly mentions that some passages are really short, and others are pages long. If some are pages long, then there can't be just one page per date, or even two or three, because if they were that short, there wouldn't be pages-long entries and still have the dates work out. There also wouldn't be only "several" blank pages for six empty dates. I know this was for drama, but he could have just said, "the next dated entry was July 4th." I know most people don't even notice this kind of thing, but it really bugs me.
There were way too many similes, as if he were channeling Ernest Hemingway. (Notice that there? I put a simile in? That's me trying to be clever.)
The narrative, which is from Griff's perspective, frequently says, "What the heck?" This is a seasoned crime-covering reporter. It was just not the kind of thing I pictured him saying.
Overall, I felt it was a good, entertaining story, and I enjoyed it. The novel was well written and kept me on my toes, but it just wasn't Lanyon's best. I think he was trying to hard to keep the reader on edge about the ending between the MCs, which he is good at since he doesn't always believe in an HEA, but in doing so, he didn't give me the closure I needed.
I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.