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Thursday, July 25, 2019

#ATBR2019 Review: A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell @jessmapreviews

A Stranger on the Beach 
by Michele Campbell

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publish Date: July 23, 2019
352 Pages
Genre: Thriller

There is a stranger outside Caroline's house.

Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she'd have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aiden, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn't seem like anything out of the ordinary.

As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she's built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aiden for comfort...and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aiden's obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline's husband goes missing, her life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband's murder. 

My Review:

I read Campell's It's Always the Husband a couple of years ago and gave it a solid 3.5 stars with a book where I was happy to not see the characters again (and believe me, I love to hate on characters - LOVE TO).  I was absolutely thrilled to get my hands on her latest, A Stranger on the Beach.  I really, REALLY wish this had worked for me.

I was absolutely and utterly addicted to this read for the first half and then it just went sideways and took me down with it.  I was pretty much confused for the majority - is Caroline or Aidan's view the correct one?  I was enthralled and thrilled the author had me questioning even my own thoughts as I was reading. Then about halfway through it got a bit repetitive and was starting to go in a direction that had me going OH.  I see where this is going.. and unfortunately, it caused me to roll my eyes.  Not because of the actual twists but the way in which it kind of unraveled.  

I found myself literally face palming myself with the incompetency of the characters in this book.  The lawyers, the cops, the husbands, the wives.. they're all so damn clueless and the dialogue felt forced and contrived through some sections. I just couldn't.  However, I will say that the short chapters and my need, absolute NEED to see JUST how sideways it was going to go had me binge reading it.  And spoiler alert (jk) - it goes ZIG ZAG ;)


Jessica's Review:

Despite having her other books on my shelf, this was my introduction to Michele Campbell. I loved the short chapters, the quick pacing, and getting into the minds of these characters. I would definitely categorize this one as a domestic thriller – a cheating husband, Caroline’s world falling apart, and a stranger that tries to place himself in the middle of it all. Things are bound to get messy, right?

You know that gut feeling you get about someone, even before you meet them? That gut feeling that usually ends up being spot on. Well, Caroline ignored that intuition when she crossed paths with Aidan. After being humiliated at her own house-warming party when her husband shows up with another woman, Caroline crosses paths again with Aidan, the local bartender, and she quickly regrets entangling her life with his. Some crazy events unfold and there’s plenty to keep you glued to the pages.
It was very interesting alternating between Caroline and Aidan for the same encounters. His vision of what was happening versus hers. I really liked that approach. I will say that things are dramatic and over-the-top, but that was something I loved. I was coming off a DNF, and this was just what I needed! Overall, if you’re looking for a thriller with some drama, then you’ll definitely want this one your summer TBR. Perfect to bring along for a beach day of reading
4 stars

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