Amanda Kyle Williams
Stranger in the Room
Paperback: 416 pages
14 March, 2013.
Deeply intoxicating, Amanda Kyle Williams’ second airing of her former FBI profiler, Keye Street, sizzles with tension as the plot forces the reader through every emotion until, breathless, they finally reach the denouement of two distinctly original plotlines.
Keye Street is now a private detective and always looks out for those closest to her although, sometimes, looking after herself is hard enough. She's teetering on the brink, not quite sure if she's winning or losing in her battle with her addictions but when her cousin, Miki Ashton, sees a stranger inside her house it's time for Keye to lend a hand. As she does, Keye's mentor, Lieutenant Aaron Rauser, becomes ever more embroiled in a disturbing case as when a dog returns alone from its walk the hunt is on for the missing boy. As the mystery deepens and the bodies accumulate, Rauser needs Keye's expert profiling skills to unravel the killer's bizarre signature –tears.
Williams’ strengths lie in her ability to craft dialogue so sharp, so natural, it is almost as though the reader can lip read each of the characters. This not only helps zip the story along at an exhilarating pace, it also helps endear the protagonists to those following the action all the more and so makes the reader care – sometimes too deeply – about what happens to them.
There is also the author’s ability to create such a vivid sense of place that one can almost smell America’s Deep South as well as envisage the scenery, the anxiety and the tension as it inexorably builds layer upon layer.
If there is one criticism it is that Keye and Miki’s addictions are used as predictable props rather than developmental points, and so come across as being somewhat flat rather than the dynamic counter-points to what otherwise is the enthralling, captivating and thoroughly recommended read Stranger in the Room most certainly is.
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