Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review - Stranger in the Room

Title: Stranger in the Room
Author: Amanda Kyle Williams
Publisher: Bantam (August 21, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 320
Genre: Suspense
Series: Keye Street #2

When I read a book, I enjoy the moment when I come to the line that defines the whole plot for me.
"I didn’t want to think about Miki, or Miki’s safety or the baffling murders of a child and an elderly man. I wanted to sleep it all away – the murders, the stalker who had gotten too close to my parents, the crematory. All of it."
That one moment where everything boils down to the true essence of who and what the book is about. I believe that this line was two-thirds of the way through the book and I could feel Keye’s anger and frustration. This was turning into a week from hell and all she wanted to do was get back to the safety of her home, nuzzle her cat – White Trash, and spend a normal night doing what others take for granted.

From the first book The Stranger You Seek, we have come to know Keye Street’s life and how as a Chinese orphan adopted by white parents in Atlanta, Keye has always felt a bit out of place. Family is everything to her and when her mentally unstable addiction prone cousin Miki calls in a panic, Keye knows where she should be even if it is the last thing that she wants to do.

Photojournalist Miki Ashton is being threatened by a stalker, a person that reveals himself in a window at Miki’s home. The problem is that he is on the inside looking out as Miki is putting her key into the front door. Fleeing to Keye’s home for help and reassurance, they return the next day only to find a grisly message left by the unknown assailant. OK so this time, high maintenance Miki is not exaggerating.

To make matters worse, this “gift” that is found at Miki’s can be tied to two murders in Atlanta. Private investigator Dr. Keye Street and the Atlanta Police Department have a serial killer on their hands. What is the connection? Where does Miki know him from and could what seem to be irrelevant scraps from the crime scenes actually tie everything together. Amanda Kyle Williams does not just tell one story here; there is a secondary storyline that the reader is following. One that I felt was completely irrelevant and seemed to be placed there for shock value only. The primary plot involving the serial killer is intense enough without needing a secondary distraction. Maybe Ms Williams felt that the reader needed a break from the intensity, but throwing in a story about a crematorium was just a little out of place.

Overall, I enjoy this series; Keye is not a perfect person. She is a bit broken and damaged which is what makes her all the more appealing to me. Like this series, Keye is a work in progress and each book reveals a little bit more about her and her demons and how step by step she is battling back.

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