Most writers would have difficulty writing another novel after their last debuted to such high critical praise, but not Megan Miranda. The way she delivers her next thriller, The Perfect Stranger, is nothing short of brilliant.

I loved the way she wrote her last book, All The Missing Girls, in reverse chronological order yet telling you only enough of the story at a time that it didn’t seem like an odd way to tell it at all. It made so much sense and flowed perfectly.

She has such a keen sense of what makes a thriller worth every moment spent hungrily devouring each word, waiting for the next big clue to emerge. She doesn’t waste time trying to divert the reader from the big reveal, like many of authors of the genre do. Every word is deliberate and there’s never a false note in the way she unravels the story piece by piece. Slowly but surely, she is building the tension in the most tantalizing way and keeps you so insanely tuned into the world that she creates that when you finally release your white-knuckle grip on the pages and look up, hours have passed and you have one hell of a book hangover.

I literally cannot praise her writing style and absolute gift for storytelling enough. One of the first authors I ever really loved was Mary Higgins Clark. I tore through her catalogue and loved getting launched into the worlds she created, but after reading about 10 of her books, I found myself getting a little disappointed in the pay off. Each story followed the same formula, as most writers have some kind of similar set up to each of their stories. James Patterson is another author who writes this way. There’s nothing wrong with it, and these writers have sustained long careers and I am big fans of them both. However, what strikes me the most about Megan Miranda is that there is nothing formulaic about her approach. She weaves such a taut tale of who people really are behind the mask they use to present themselves to the world, and how easily one can be fooled.

In The Perfect Stranger, Megan dives into the story of Leah Stevens and her former roommate, Emmy Grey. Leah has just lost her job as a reporter in Boston and with that, has essentially ruined her life there. Aching for a fresh start, she serendipitously runs into her former roommate with whom she shared a strong bond, and they set out for a new town together. She and Emmy are enjoying their new town until a dead body threatens to steal away whatever hope of peace they’ve found in their new surroundings.  Just as the dead body appears, Emmy vanishes and leaves Leah with a million questions and no answers. Did she ever really know Emmy? Where had she come from? All the circumstances and details surrounding their relationship are suddenly called into question and Leah has nothing to prove Emmy Grey ever existed, leaving her questioning her own sanity.

What ensues is one hell of a ride and leaves you desperately turning the pages until you’re left breathless and thinking to yourself, “Damn, that was an awesome book.”

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