Review: The Stranger Inside by Jennifer Jaynes

Title: The Stranger Inside
Author: Jennifer Jaynes
Pages: 274
Genre: Mystery, Fiction
Source: Free ARC from Thomas & Mercer

Rating: C

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

Summary: Diane and her son Josh move to a small coastal town in Massachusetts to be closer to her daughter, Alexa, a student at the local college. Recently, her husband committed suicide and she is hoping that the move will be a fresh start for them all, a chance for them to come together as a family. Not an easy thing given the recent suicide, Josh’s lifelong health problems, and Alexa’s depression, which she expresses through anger, aimed at her mother.

As if things aren’t challenging enough, a young college girl is murdered in the little town, and Diane – a mystery writer by trade – can’t stop thinking about it. Then, while volunteering at the local crisis center, someone who seems to be the killer, calls Diane specifically to confess. How do they know who she is or that she volunteers there? Why did they seek her out? Suddenly, all the men in Diane’s world are suspect. Can she figure out who the murderer is and put a stop to it before anyone else dies?

Review: Oh, books like this are so hard to review without giving anything away! Especially when the few bones I have to pick are directly related to plot, so I can’t really pick at them. But, I’ll do my best…

The story was really interesting and it started out well. I didn’t like Alexa. And I’m frustrated that I didn’t like her because her main issue according to the book is that she suffers from depression and that’s supposed to be why she is so terrible. And I suffer from depression, so I ought to be able to give her a break and empathize, even if I don’t experience it in the same way. But. One of the things I’ve read about depression (and so far my experience has confirmed this), is if a person is an ass when they are depressed, it is likely they are still going to be an ass when they’re not. In a nutshell, I thought the depression angle was poorly thought out (or not well researched), and I found the way it was depicted to be rather off-putting.

While there were plenty of people to suspect, I kept leaning towards one particular person, but then I’d remind myself why that wasn’t possible. But then it was that person, and my reasons for thinking it impossible were never addressed.

And the ending bothered me. I’ve been wrestling with the ethical dilemma of it, trying to decide if I could do what she does, and I just don’t know. It’s a compelling conundrum, but it doesn’t sit well with me.

All that said, it was decent. I liked Diane. Really enjoyed her blooming romance, and the setting was very comfortable for me, living in a small town in coastal New England myself. It wasn’t thrilling or scary, but it was an interesting mystery. Unfortunately, there were a few things nagging at me that kept me from loving it.

2 Replies to “Review: The Stranger Inside by Jennifer Jaynes”

  1. This one has not had very good reviews. I read her previous two books and like them so I will give this one a try. Sounds like it go either way. Thanks for sharing.

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