Title: The Stranger Diaries
Author: Elly Griffiths
Source: Free ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
“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?”
There are so many things to love about The Stranger Diaries, I don’t really know where to begin! The story within a story technique worked beautifully here. The short story, The Stranger, was properly creepy and rather intriguing by itself, but the unraveling of that mystery alongside the present one strengthened the gothic theme I love so much. Throughout the entire reading, the feeling of foreboding was undeniable, that delicious sense of gloom and doom pushing me towards the next page.
But wait, there’s more! This being my first book by Elly Griffiths (gasp! I know!), I didn’t quite know what to expect, and found myself rather blown away. So often, I find getting through the first chapter or so of a book a bit rough, but not so here. From the onset, I was able to glide right in, finding myself immersed in the story without realizing it had happened. That right there is the sign of an excellent read if you ask me!
The only thing that makes it slightly less than perfect? I figured out the whodunnit rather quickly and couldn’t be convinced or distracted from that conclusion no matter what the misdirects. However, this book was such an absolute pleasure to read, that I hardly care.
If you like gothic, if you like mystery, if you like good books, this book is for you! Read it. You won’t be sorry.