Skip to content

New York Times Bestselling author

The Stranger Inside

The Stranger Inside

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.


  • A Best Book of Fall 2019! (People Magazine)
  • Critic's Fall Book Picks (The Boston Globe)
  • Best Crime Books of the Month (The Times & The Sunday Times)
  • Best Thrillers of Fall 2019 (BookBub)
  • Best New Books of September 2019 (PopSugar)
  • The Month's Best in Crime, Mystery and Thrillers (CrimeReads)
  • September Book Club Picks, Must-Read Novels (Bookish)
  • The Most Anticipated Thrillers of Fall 2019 (SheReads)
  • Best Thrillers of September (BookTrib)
  • Best Crime, Mystery and Thriller Books of September 2019 (MysteryTribune)
  • New Thrillers for Chilling Fall Reading (Chatelaine Magazine)
  • Fall/Winter Reading List (Deep South Magazine)

"Unger writes smart, chilling thrillers, and this outing bodes to be one of her best."
The Boston Globe

"Riveting...first-rate crime fiction."
Tampa Bay Times

"Completely unexpected and riveting."
Associated Press

"Superb...echoes of Dennis Lehane's MYSTIC RIVER."
Providence Journal

"A supremely gripping and deeply considered thriller."
The Times

"Unger continues her quest to dominate the psychological thriller genre…she draws us in by ratcheting up the suspense."
The Florida Times-Union

"Surviving a crime is the beginning of the story, not the end, in this astute, engrossing thriller."
Kirkus, starred review

"A complex game of cat and mouse...Readers captivated by the works of B.A. Paris and Gillian Flynn will relish this psychological thriller."
Library Journal

"Unger's latest thriller relentlessly uncovers a multitude of secrets, leading readers down a delicious path of fear, lies, and long-awaited justice, with an ending that will leave jaws dropping."

"Cleverly plotted...Unger’s well-honed craft shows in her unmasking the avenger early on and using the reveal to ratchet up suspense."
Publishers Weekly

"A brilliant, chilling tale of justice, revenge and one woman’s dark past."

"Gripping edge-of-the-seat...riveting psychological suspense."
The Sunday Post

"A darkly thrilling tale of survival and obsession. Lisa Unger never disappoints."
Riley Sager, New York Times Bestselling Author of Lock Every Door

"It’s not often that I'm stunned by the ending to a novel and think to myself, 'Wow. That caught me off-guard.’ But The Stranger Inside is rich with surprises from the very first page: it’s a smart, taut thriller about those wounds we carry inside us that sometimes just don't heal."
Chris Bohjalian, #1 Bestselling Author of The Flight Attendant and Midwives

"Loved it!! Frightening, utterly compelling but also sharply insightful, compassionate and with a dark, atmospheric heart. Highly recommended."
Gilly Macmillan, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Nanny

"Tense, atmospheric and addictive, The Stranger Inside is an utterly unforgettable tale of justice, revenge and good vs. evil. And with one of the most compelling antagonists I’ve read in a very long time, this book hits my top five books this summer. The Stranger Inside was, quite simply, phenomenal."
Cristina McDonald, author of The Night Olivia Fell

"Unger reinvigorates a familiar crime fiction plotline (it’s been compared to Mystic River) and invests it with insights into the nature of violence and real psychological suspense (I binged this one). An intense, often-hypnotic split narrative, Stranger Inside offers a compelling and compassionate view into minds both broken and re-formed by trauma."
Chatelaine Magazine

"Unger is masterful at creating villains—I’ll say no more—and for her heroines who are vulnerable but always strong."
CrimeReads (Lisa Levy)

"Unger blurs the lines of right and wrong in this riveting thriller."

"Like most of Lisa Unger's work, The Stranger Inside is can't-put-down-able."

"Thrilling read!"
Criminal Element

"Unger is a sure bet for those seeking a nail-biting thriller with enough twists and turns to have you gasping for air by the time you finally reach the ending."
The Real Book Spy

"I could rant and rave about so many facets of this story, but at the end of the day, what you most need to know is this: THE STRANGER INSIDE packs huge entertainment value and psychological heft into a suspense novel you’ll fly through in just a couple sittings."
Crime By The Book

"Unger delves deeper into the human psyche than she possibly ever has gone before --- and that is saying something as she already is one of the best out there at depicting psychological terror and moral ambiguity in her characters."

"Lisa Unger never writes the same book twice. At this point, hopefully readers know that they can always come to a book by this talented author knowing they will be led by skilled hands and that the journey will be a rewarding one...You should read this book because it is incredible, but you should also read this book because it should become a touchstone reference point for discussions of crime fiction moving forward."
BOLO Books