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.
I wait because I have nothing but time.
From the quiet, dim interior of my car, I watch the quiet neighborhood, settle into the upholstery. Autumn. Leaves lofting on cool air. Tacky, ghoulish Halloween decorations adorning stoops and lawns, hanging from trees—skeletons, and jack-o'-lanterns, witches on brooms. It's a school night, so no kids playing flashlight tag, no pickup soccer match in the street. Maybe kids don't even do that anymore. That's what I understand, anyway. That they're all iPad-addicted couch potatoes now. It's the new frontier of parenting. But you'll know better about this than I'm likely to.
Awards and Honors
- People Best Book of Fall 2019
- Kirkus Best Book of 2019
- Boston Globe Critic's Fall Book Pick
- The Times & Sunday Times Best Crime Book of the Month
- BookBub Best Thriller of Fall 2019
- PopSugar Best New Book of Fall 2019
- CrimeReads Month's Best in Crime, Mystery and Thrillers
- Bookish Book Club Pick and Must-Read Novel
- SheReads Most Anticipated Thriller of Fall 2019
- BookTrib Best Thriller of September 2019
- MysteryTribune Best Crime, Mystery and Thriller Books
- Chatelaine New Thrillers for Chilling Fall Reading
- Deep South Recommended Fall/Winter Reading
- Creative Loafing 2020 Best of the Bay - Reader's Choice Award Winner
"Crime fiction like you’ve never seen before...There’s something reassuring about sliding into the hands of a seasoned professional like Unger. You know what you’re getting: in this case another well-crafted psychological thriller in which the torments of the past return to wreak havoc in the present...and characters with enough feints and flourishes to keep the pages turning themselves...brilliant."
—New York Times
"Unger writes smart, chilling thrillers, and The Stranger Inside bodes to be one of her best."
"Completely unexpected and riveting."
"Riveting...first-rate crime fiction."
—Tampa Bay Times
"Lisa Unger’s skill at weaving complex but believable psychological thrillers that delve into characters’ deepest secrets takes another leap in the engrossing The Stranger Inside."
"Superb...echoes of Dennis Lehane's Mystic River."
"A supremely gripping and deeply considered thriller."
—The Times & The Sunday Times
"She draws us in by ratcheting up the suspense."
"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."
"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. She also squirrels away several startling trump cards for later."
"A brilliant, chilling tale."
"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."
—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."
—Christina McDonald, USA Today bestselling author of The Night Olivia Fell
"An intense, often-hypnotic split narrative, Stranger Inside offers a compelling and compassionate view into minds both broken and re-formed by trauma."
"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."
"Gripping edge-of-the-seat...riveting psychological suspense."
—The Sunday Post
"Unger certainly knows how to deliver a punch, and her coruscating new thriller upends the classic crime formula in memorable style...The queen of psychological drama once again toys with our minds in a gripping, multi-layered murder mystery which unmasks the killer almost from page one, and then plays out a clever, spine-tingling game of slow reveal."
"Eloquently written, gripping, disturbing, dark, and full of twists and turns, this novel is the reason why Unger’s the undisputed master of psychological suspense."
—Press & Guide
"Lisa Unger has done it again. She’s taken her readers to places no one should have to enter, and she’s made it extremely difficult for them to escape from the spell cast by her soaring skill and fright-filled imagination."
"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."