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Monday, January 27, 2020

Review: The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths #BuddyReadToDieFor #bravethebacklist

The Stranger Diaries 
by Elly Griffiths

The #BuddyReadsToDieFor January choice and also a #BraveTheBacklist for me as I've had this on my shelf for ages!

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publish Date: March 5, 2019
338 Pages
Genres: Mystery, Gothic, Thriller, Suspense

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favourite literature.

To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn't hers, left on the page of an old diary: "Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me."

Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?

My Review:

I wasn't sure what to expect when going into The Stranger Diaries.  What I got was a suspenseful, gothicly atmospheric read of a mystery surrounding a few key characters.  Sometimes a book within a book works for me and other times it doesn't.  While the book within a book does play an integral part in this novel, it doesn't overwhelm the reader and was a perfect addition.

I had guessed the culprit early on in the read so wasn't surprised at the reveal and was a tiny bit let down in the reasoning behind the murders.  However, it was the characters that drew me into the story.  I was a little taken back at Georgie's relationship and the age difference considering.... but Georgie ended up being one of my favorite characters.  I will say though that Harbinger ended up being my favorite.  I had a great time being inside her sarcastic head and how she viewed the world... and this case.

While this is a bit slower paced than I typically like in a read, Griffiths manages to evoke this suspensefulness while keeping the reader engaged.  For me there were no big AHA moments and I never felt a huge ebb and flow with the story line.  This was a straight across the board mystery that was solved in a timely manner and while it didn't completely wow me, I did enjoy the atmosphere.


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