The Stranger Inside

The Stranger Inside

by Lisa Unger

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PEOPLE Best Books of Fall 2019

“A darkly thrilling tale of survival and obsession. Lisa Unger never disappoints.” —Riley Sager, bestselling author of
Lock Every Door

Even good people are drawn to do evil things…

Twelve-year-old Rain Winter narrowly escaped an abduction while walking to a friend’s house. Her two best friends, Tess and Hank, were not as lucky. Tess never came home, and Hank was held in captivity before managing to escape. Their abductor was sent to prison but years later was released. Then someone delivered real justice—and killed him in cold blood.

Now Rain is living the perfect suburban life, her dark childhood buried deep. She spends her days as a stay-at-home mom, having put aside her career as a hard-hitting journalist to care for her infant daughter. But when another brutal murderer who escaped justice is found dead, Rain is unexpectedly drawn into the case. Eerie similarities to the murder of her friends’ abductor force Rain to revisit memories she’s worked hard to leave behind. Is there a vigilante at work? Who is the next target? Why can’t Rain just let it go?

Introducing one of the most compelling and original killers in crime fiction today, Lisa Unger takes readers deep inside the minds of both perpetrator and victim, blurring the lines between right and wrong, crime and justice, and showing that sometimes people deserve what comes to them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781488050985
Publisher: Park Row Books
Publication date: 09/17/2019
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 672
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Lisa Unger is the NYT bestselling author of 17 novels. Her work has been published in 26 languages, with millions of readers worldwide. In 2019, she received 2 Edgar Award nominations. Under My SKin is also a finalist for the Hammett Prize and Macavity Award. Her work has been voted "Best of the Year" or top picks by the Today show, GMA, EW, Amazon, IndieBound and many others. She has written for the NYT, WSJ, NPR, and Travel+Leisure. She lives in Florida with her family.

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The Stranger Inside 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
CharlotteLynnsReviews 12 days ago
What a thriller! I picked up Lisa Unger’s book and was hoping for something that would pull me in, keep me up at night having to read, and leave me wanting more. The Stranger Inside is all that and more. The characters are so wonderful. They have gone through a hell that no one should have to and are now living with what happened to them. Rain has tried to find a normal life, a life that fulfills her, with her wonderful husband and her beautiful daughter but is unable to entirely put her childhood behind her. Hank is also struggling. They both have careers that fulfill them but something is missing. The closure of what happened to them is not there. I had a clue as to who the vigilante was but I never saw the rest of the story coming. I was so in awe of what else was going on. The clues were there, the story was being told perfectly, and I was so into the story that I never saw how it would all come together. Lisa Unger wrote an amazing story that pulled me in, kept me turning pages, and left me wanting so much more.
deb-oh 15 days ago
The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger Thank you to NetGalley for the chance to read The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger. I have read every one of Ms. Unger's books and every time I am blown away by her writing, her characters & her story...this book was no exception. We meet some damaged people, due to a horrible incident in their childhood & the questions this book raises are ... many. What would you do if you ad the chance to avenge your friends murder? how do you right the wrongs in society & the justice system when a killer is set free? How do you cope on a day to day, how do you quiet the monster in your head? This story doesn't give you any answers but it does make you think...I loved it! #TheStrangerInside #NetGalley
Lesley Kay 17 days ago
Thank you for the ARC, Harlequin! I love Lisa Unger's books and was very excited to get the chance to read this. This one was an interesting dual-narrative, two childhood friends who were victimized (but not murdered, obviously) by a killer in their young years, now each struggling to make it in the world. When their killer is murdered, and subsequently other murders seem connected, it brings them both back to their past to try and solve the mystery and move on and heal. It was interesting, but I didn't find it as suspenseful and pulse-pounding as I would have hoped. Good book, worth reading.
WhisperingStories 17 days ago
Rain Winter was a high profiled investigative journalist until she left the profession to care for her new baby daughter. When the main suspect, that was found not guilty in a murder case she had been following over a year before is found dead in his home the public believe justice has been served, however, Rain is intrigued by his death, especially when it seems that he was murder in the same way his victim had been murdered. Rain follows her instincts whilst fighting against wanting to return to work and wanting to stay looking after her daughter. She notices a pattern emerging where those found not guilty of crimes are punished in the same way as their victims. She also harbours a secret from when she was twelve-years-old which saw her kidnapped along with two friends, only two of them survived, even though she was the intended victim. Her past is quickly catching up with her and Rain needs to work out how to deal with it. This is the first thriller I have read by Lisa Unger. I can see why she has been nominated for numerous awards. The Stranger Inside is full of action, filled to the brim with a plot that will have you in suspense and turning the pages at warp speed. It is also very realistic and make you think about the world we live in. This is one of those books that plays out perfectly in your head whilst reading, like you having a private movie of the book. Everything from the scenery to the emotions of the characters you can feel inside. There are also plenty of layers to the plot which you get to peel back the more you read. The book was gripping and I read it in just a couple of sittings, it kept me on my toes and the edge of my seat. My only slight issue was with the ended, I wanted a powerful, full-on ending to match the book but unfortunately, it was good but it didn’t blow me away. If you enjoy crime thrillers then this is certainly a book to try, snuggle down on a cold dark night for the perfect ambience and enjoy the ride!
Shelley-S-Reviewer 23 days ago
My first Lisa Unger book and simply put...good old fashioned writing with a great story and too many twists and turns to count. Readers will be sucked into Rain's story alongside her as she battles her demons. The emotion, characters and world feel real while the plot is a delightful whirlwind of red herrings entwined with an amazing story arc. I liked how the book showed Rains strength, determination and stamina...finally a strong woman in a thriller! The story unwound in a way that kept me reading and I managed this 365 page book in one sitting. Ms. Unger is a master of weaving suspense and keeping the reader guessing as to who is to blame. I was surprised at the ending, but I should not have been...Rain was imperfect and paranoid for a reason. This was definitely a "keep your but in chair" from start to finish and holds your attention from the first page until the last. I highly recommend this novel and look forward to her next book.
Amanda_Dickens 27 days ago
I really wanted to like this book. I like the synopsis and really had high hopes that this book would be at least a 4 star book for me. Unfortunately, I was so bored. I was not invested in the characters at all. The pacing felt slow and stagnant at times. The overall plot was predictable. I even re-read the last few chapters to see if I missed something I didn't. I will say that I call in the minority about my opinion on this book. Most people loved it. I wish I did too.
CLynnT 27 days ago
I loved this book from the very first chapter! Journalist Rain Winter is trying to be a fulltime mother to her darling daughter Lily, keeping the home warm and welcoming for her husband Greg, who proves to have the patience of Job. Rain can’t ignore her calling to return to investigative journalism when multiple murders have eerie similarities, some that revive memories of a very traumatic crime that happened to 12-year old Rain and her two best friends Hank and Tess. Rain begins communicating with Hank, who has his own demons to bear as a result of the childhood trauma. He has become a successful child psychiatrist working with trauma victims. Some of my most favorite parts of the book are his explanations of why people do what they do under certain circumstances. Lisa Unger really did her psychology homework before penning this nerve-wracking read. It turns out that Hank and Rain have more history in common besides the childhood trauma but I won’t go there; I don’t want to spoil any of the twists and turns, you figure it out. This is one of those twisty plots that could actually happen. So many recent plots have been a bit difficult to imagine, but this one hits the ground running and stays believable to the last page. The characters, large and small, are colorful and described vividly. One of my personal favorites is Greta, a bird-watching fanatic with a beautiful eye for nature and life in general. Although her role in the book isn’t a major one, she adds so much to the healthy perspective and closure needed by the main characters. If you love thrillers, this is a must-read. Don’t start it if you can’t read for a while. You’ll be angry every time you have to put the book down to return to your real life. (I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks so much to Harlequin / Park Row Publishing and NetGalley for making it available.)
3no7 29 days ago
“The Stranger Inside” by Lisa Unger is a study of two people, what they endured, how they coped, how they grew, and they maneuvered through life. They are the victims of past trauma, and how they want their lives back. They want to be the people they would have become if none of this had happened, but they are who they are now because of what happened then. It opens with a first person present-tense account. The narrator talks directly to someone, “I know what you’re thinking” having a conversation, drawing the person into the plot from the start. “I’m sure you know all this. If I know you, you’re keeping tabs, too.” Is this a conversation with the reader or someone else? The narrator waits “because I have nothing but time.” Readers wonder about the narrator, but by the time the identity and the intent become clear, frighteningly clear, readers are hooked. The scene changes in different chapters. Readers are introduced to Rain Winter, a former producer for National News, her husband Greg, news producer for the local television news, and their baby, Lil. A man is found murdered. The man had been acquitted in the death of his wife, and Winter had covered the trial. No one else was ever charged with Laney Markham’s murder and the murder of her unborn child. In Winter’s opinion, the bad person got away with murder, until he had not. Now he is dead. Not only is he dead, but he died the way Laney Markham died, bound, gagged and stabbed with a serrated hunting knife. For Winter, Markham’s death is not the abrupt end of the story but the beginning of another one. Unger did not create a story about ordinary people; these characters are dark, complex, multi-faceted, and intertwined in unexpected ways. Winter has a complex history and a tragic past; one ugly event shaped her life and changed how interacts with everyone and everything around her. That tragedy spreads, contaminating everyone around her in unexpected ways. The other players have difficult journeys and complicated evolutions as well. Their paths are diverse with other secrets to discover, other ordeals to overcome. The tendrils of present events also reach back into the past, uncovering long unspoken questions that demand answers. The search for those answers is complicated and difficult. “The Stranger Inside” is a book where past nightmares emerge into the present. The mystery is not the murder or even who committed it, the real story is how the past molds current events. I received a review copy of “The Stranger Inside” from Lisa Unger, Harlequin, and Park Row Books. It presents a fractured world that reflects a different existence. It is compelling, shocking, and difficult to put down
Anonymous 3 months ago
A kidnapping gone awry leaves Rain, the intended victim, forever asking herself the question “what if?” Rain escapes but her two best friends aren’t do fortunate. When the kidnapper falls victim to murder himself, the police search for a vigilante seeking justice for those who have not received a fair punishment. Lisa Unger’s writing is consistently superb. Her characters are well-rounded and believable. The plot is original and. taut with suspense. There is a reading why she is a long-time and continued favorite of mine. Many thanks to Edelweiss, Park Row and Lisa Unger for my complimentary e-copy ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Kaceeey 3 months ago
3.5* A frightful, harrowing read that will leave you believing monsters do indeed exist! Rain believed she knew how to deal with her past. Put it behind her. Quit dwelling on it. Look to the future...not back. But often, despite your best efforts, the past has a troubling way of creeping back into your life! Lisa Unger writes a dark and terrifying novel dealing with the loss of innocence, and the evil that lurks around every corner! Though this wasn’t a favorite from this author, it’s still well worth the read and I’ll be looking forward to her next. A buddy read with Susanne! Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin Trade Publishing - Park Row and Lisa Unger for an ARC to read and review.
AndraB 3 months ago
Lisa Unger has once again created an amazing thriller with The Stranger Inside. The story grabbed me from the start and the title caused me to immediately start questioning what it meant. Was the stranger lying in wait or did the stranger reside in the characters head? This is a story of three friends who encounter a stranger and the aftermath of that meeting. Lara, Hank and Tess are thirteen years old the summer they encounter the monster in the woods. This meeting leaves behind two very traumatized children and their best friend dead. How will this effect the rest of their lives? The story is told alternating between the two survivors Rain aka Lara, and Hank. The reader is given insight into the impact that one day had on Rain and Hank with flashbacks to the past. Just as I believed I knew what was going on, another piece dropped. There were many unexpected twists and turns. Things and people were not as they seem. I was on the edge of my seat as I read this book. I actually felt scared and nervous as I continued to read. There were many unexpected story reveals, and I was always on unsure footing. I highly recommend this book. Lisa Unger is a master at mystery thrillers. This book once again confirms that. It is a well written story with very interesting characters. Thank you #Netgalley and #ParkRow for approving my request for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.
SheTreadsSoftly 3 months ago
The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger is a very highly recommended psychological thriller featuring survivors, murder, kidnapping, and vigilante justice. Rain is currently a stay-at-home mom taking care of her one-year-old daughter, Lily. She left her career in journalism as radio news producer to do this, but the lure of her career is calling her back, especially when a man who escaped justice is found dead, in another case of a vigilante murder. This could be a serial killer at work, with the first case being the man who attacked Rain (Laraine) and kidnapped her two friends, Tess and Hank, when they were twelve. Tess never came home and Hank was held captive before he escaped. Their attacker spent years in a psychiatric facility and after his release he was killed by an unknown assailant. Rain and Hank were both traumatized by the event, but Rain has tried to set her past aside and move on. Hank is a psychiatrist specializing in victims of trauma, but he realizes he is still suffering the consequences of his attack and abduction. This current case of a vigilante murder is the third known case and it brings back memories for Rain, especially because there are similarities between the three cases. Rain starts investigating her attack, looking for clues to tie the three cases together. The writing is excellent. Chapters tell the story through chapters presenting the point-of-view of Rain, 12-year old Laraine, and Hank. The opening chapter is through the mind of the vigilante, so this is a given fact at the start. You may think you know the whole story, but the suspense rises as the plot seems to indicate that something else, something horrible is going to happen.... and then there is a huge, unsuspected twist that changed the whole novel. All the characters are extremely well developed and intricate as Unger explores their inner thoughts and motives. There is a mid-way point where it feels like the plot may have stalled out, but stay with the novel, note the details, and follow the story carefully. As the narrative progresses and more information is revealed, the lines between being a survivor and victim, right and wrong, and crime and justice are blurred. The ending is explosive and shocking. This was a solid four rating until the end, when it soared to a five. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Park Row Books
jdowell 3 months ago
Mystery/Thriller is one of my very favorite genres and I chose this book because of that - plus the author is Lisa Unger and the last three books I read by her were really good. Narrated by Rain and Hank, victims of a childhood horror. The book goes back and forth between the present and the past as they remember the events of that horrible day and keep struggling to function as normal people. There are several themes explored here such as what is legal and what is right, good vs. evil, revenge and forgiveness. Gives you a lot to think about. This was good and I like Unger's writing style. I did think sometimes that it was a bit slow and repetitious in places though. Not my favorite Unger book but I would still recommend it as a solid mystery. Thanks to Lisa Unger and HARLEQUIN - Trade Publishing through Netgalley for an advance copy of this book.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Rain is married to Greg and are the parents of baby Lily. She loves being home with Lily, nursing her, and cuddling her. She used to write and produce a national news radio show. She does miss being on her news show and working with her good friend, Gilian. Greg is the producer for a local television news program. When Rain was a little girl, she and her friend, Tess, were walking through a wooded area that they been warmed to avoid There, they encounter a huge man and his vicious dog. The man starts beating the girls and the dog attacks them. Their friend, Hank, comes up and tries to fight the man off, but he too is attacked. Both Tess and Hank are carried away by the man and Rain manages to run and hide just inside a big tree. Many hours later, Rain is found near death. Hank is also found terribly injured, but Tess has been beaten to death. Rain and Hank are severely traumatized and it takes a long time for them to heal from their physical injuries. Today, Hank is a successful psychiatrist. He and Rain have had contact with one another but not often. Rain and Gillian want to do a study on people who kill other people and the people who then kill the killer for revenge. Anxious to do this, Rain can’t help but be nervous because it brings back such terrible memories. After serving time in jail and released, the man who killed Tess and attacked Rain and Hank has now been murdered by someone. In addition, there have been other revenge murders and the killer has not been found. The police are wondering if it’s the same person. They have nicknamed this person “The Executioner.” They have been working closely with Hank to get his opinion on this from a psychiatrist’s point of view. The story itself is gritty, disturbing, and frightening. I couldn’t help but compare it with Dexter which was a favorite show of mine. However, on Dexter, we didn’t see a long, drawn out demonstration of the bad things that people did so, but emphasis was placed on the revenge by Dexter. That is why this book is so distressing in many ways to me. I found it to be far too long and I believe that was due to a lot of “arm chair psychoanalyzing” which the book has in copious amounts. However, I’m sure there will be a lot of people who will enjoy it, especially because the ending is really quite brilliant. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Owl_Books 3 months ago
Loved! Could not put down until I finished it!!! A must-read for anyone who likes mysteries and thrillers. You will not be disappointed. Thank you #netgalley and #HARLEQUIN – Trade Publishing (U.S. & Canada) for the eARC.
MKF 3 months ago
No Spoilers! Rain has always borne a mantel of guilt that she alone survived a bad bad thing when she was 12. The man who abducted and killed her friend Tess was killed after he was released from jail. Her friend Hank escaped but did he? SHe's now a stay at home mom but she hasn't put her journalistic skills and nose for investigation totally aside so when Steve Markham who was acquitted of killing his pregnant wife is murdered, she feels like she has to know what really happened. This takes a bit to get going and it does move back and forth in time but Unger has done an excellent job of raising the stakes when someone appears to be going after Rain. Thanks to the publisher for the ARC. This is a well done thriller - a page turner where you might think you know what's going to happen but.....