Stranger in the Room (Keye Street Series #2)

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Overview

Fresh from her debut, The Stranger You Seek—which Publishers Weekly called “an explosive, unpredictable, and psychologically complex thriller that turns crime fiction clichés inside out”—Amanda Kyle Williams delivers a second thrilling Keye Street novel, perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and Patricia Cornwell.

That bullet was meant for you.
 
Summer is smoldering ...

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Stranger in the Room (Keye Street Series #2)

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Overview

Fresh from her debut, The Stranger You Seek—which Publishers Weekly called “an explosive, unpredictable, and psychologically complex thriller that turns crime fiction clichés inside out”—Amanda Kyle Williams delivers a second thrilling Keye Street novel, perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and Patricia Cornwell.

That bullet was meant for you.
 
Summer is smoldering through Atlanta on Fourth of July weekend, as fireworks crack through the air and steam rises from the pavement on Peachtree. Private investigator and ex–FBI profiler Keye Street wants nothing more than a couple of quiet days alone with her boyfriend, Aaron—but, as usual, murder gets in the way.
 
I will find her.
 
A.P.D. Lieutenant Aaron Rauser is called to the disturbing scene of the strangling death of a thirteen-year-old boy. Meanwhile, Keye must deal with not one but two of her own investigations: In the hills of Creeklaw County, there’s a curious case involving chicken feed and a crematorium, and in Atlanta, Keye’s emotionally fragile cousin Miki is convinced she is being stalked. Given Miki’s history of drug abuse and mental problems, Keye is reluctant to accept her cousin’s tale of a threatening man inside her house late one night. But as a recovering alcoholic herself, Keye can’t exactly begrudge a woman her addictions—especially since Miki drives Keye to near-relapses at every turn. And yet, Miki is family, and Keye must help her—even if it means tempting her own demons.
 
I always find her.
 
All hell breaks loose when another murder—the apparent hanging of an elderly man—hits disturbingly close to home for Keye. And though the two victims have almost nothing in common, there are bizarre similarities between this case and that of Aaron’s strangled teen. Is there a single faceless predator, a calculating murderer targeting his prey at random? Only a skilled profiler like Keye Street can help the A.P.D. find him. With the threat of more deaths to come, Keye works on pure instinct alone—and soon realizes that a killer is circling ever closer to the people she loves the most.
 
Praise for Amanda Kyle Williams’s The Stranger You Seek
 
“An exceptionally smart and harrowing character-driven debut by a welcome new thriller writer.”—New York Times bestselling author Karin Slaughter
 
“A creepy, suspenseful, breathtaking ride . . . [Keye] Street is a unique and worthy addition to the rich tradition of damaged and tough private detectives.”—Associated Press
 
“[Williams] keeps the suspense taut and the humor snarky, with an ending that will have you slapping your foreheard over clues you missed.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
 
“With its shocking triple-twist climax, this is the best private eye debut since Dennis Lehane’s A Drink Before the War.”—The Plain Dealer
 
“An explosive, unpredictable, and psychologically complex thriller.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“A dark, gritty thriller, The Stranger You Seek is a sensational debut. Readers will relish this story’s many captivating, powerful, and compelling layers.”—New York Times bestselling author Julia Spencer-Fleming

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  • Stranger in the Room
    Stranger in the Room  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Williams's debut, The Stranger You Seek, introduced detective Keye Street, a brilliant police officer whose drinking ruined her career. Now she is a private detective whose cousin Miki has been targeted by a psychopath. Street must overcome her skepticism (Miki's history of addiction makes her an unreliable witness) and hunt down her cousin's stalker. When she starts investigating, it becomes clear that the stalker is in fact a serial killer who, far from being a figment of Miki's imagination, is very real and very dangerous. Soon he turns his attention to Keye, and that attention may prove fatal to everyone she knows and loves. . Street is flawed and human, and readers will empathize with her struggles just as they rejoice in her successes. Williams paints a skillful portrait of the new South, as seen through the lens of an outsider/insider (Street is adopted and Chinese, and race relations are always an undercurrent) and her supporting characters are colorful and unique. Readers of this fast-paced thriller will be eager for the next Street tale. "Agent: Victoria Sanders, Victoria Sanders & Associates. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Amanda Kyle Williams and Stranger in the Room
 
“Keye Street remains the most interesting, cynically funny and smart series detective today. . . . The tension buzzes like cicadas on a hot Georgia night and the pace is relentless.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
 
“One of the most addictive new series heroines since Stephanie Plum.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
 
“The best fictional female P.I. since Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone.”—The Plain Dealer
 
“Keye Street immediately puts herself in the top echelon of suspense heroes. She’s a mess of fascinating contradictions—effortlessly brilliant on a case, totally inept in managing her own life. She is brutally funny and powerfully human—one of the most realistic protagonists in crime fiction that I’ve had the thrill to read.”—Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of Last to Die
 
“There’s a new voice in Atlanta, and her name is Amanda Kyle Williams—captivating, powerful and compelling.”—Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times bestselling author of One Was a Soldier
 
“Readers of this fast-paced thriller will be eager for the next Street tale.”—Publishers Weekly
Kirkus Reviews
Bodies are piling up in Georgia and a former FBI profiler uses her sleuthing skills to solve the cases. Williams' second in the Stranger series once again features private investigator Keye Street, a wisecracking Krispy Kreme addict with a cop for a boyfriend and a cat for a companion, who's tough on cars and works as a bond enforcement agent to help pay the mortgage and finance her Krispy Kreme habit. This may seem like familiar territory for Evanovich and Grafton fans who are used to witty, quirky female protagonists, but the author adds a couple of unique twists to distinguish her lead character from others: Street is a Chinese-American adoptee with a Southern drawl, a flawed past and a Ph.D. And whether she's in Big Knob, Ga., checking out a crooked crematorium owner who substitutes cement and chicken feed in the dearly departed's urn, or in Atlanta looking into a break-in at her cousin Miki Ashton's home, you can bet she's surrounded by a whole slew of quirky characters, and yes, once again it's familiar territory. As a seemingly unconnected series of murders occurs, including a 13-year-old baseball prodigy who is strangled, an elderly man shot to death and then hanged and a young woman raped and shot, Street partners with homicide detective and boyfriend Aaron Rauser to piece together the evidence and find the killer. Hired as a consultant with the APD, Street risks her own safety as she probes into the psyche of a man with a turbulent past that's similar to her own. While exploring dark themes, Williams manages to infuse the story with frothy, amusing situations and dialogue. When she's in this mode, her writing is solid and snappy, and her characters deliver some delightful zingers. But the author throws an occasional curveball into the mix that just doesn't fit into the plot. The story works best when Williams keeps it light, unencumbered by heavy psychological and social issues.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553808087
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/21/2012
  • Series: Keye Street Series , #2
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Amanda Kyle Williams is the author of The Stranger You Seek. Williams is currently at work on the third Keye Street thriller, Don’t Talk to Strangers.

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Read an Excerpt

1

It was ten-thirty when I answered the phone, the Thursday night before Independence Day. Atlanta’s tree-lined neighborhoods flew flags in anticipation from front porches and garden stakes. Red, white, and blue ribbons decorated mailboxes. In town, the city’s diverse population celebrated July’s holiday weekend with food and art and music festivals, rooftop bars and ground-shaking fireworks displays.

“I need to see you,” my cousin, Miki, told me.

Oh boy. Miki, the daughter of my adoptive mother’s troubled sister, Florence. She’d lived on a houseboat in her own backyard when Jimmy and I were kids. I hadn’t seen Miki in a couple of months. She was probably embroiled in some drama. She might also be in real trouble. Miki had a flair for trouble.

I was in my office late, catching up on the work I’d put off all week, a last-ditch effort to take a long weekend off. The air-conditioning was working overtime. Atlanta’s smoldering summer had dropped down around us like a burning building.

My name is Keye Street. I run a little detective agency in Atlanta called Corporate Intelligence & Investigations. And when I say “little,” I mean it’s just me and my red-eyed computer guy, Neil Donovan. And when I say “red-eyed,” I mean he probably smoked a joint with his scrambled eggs this morning. My background is in law enforcement, criminology, psychology, and, well, drinking. I was once a criminal investigative analyst in the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) at the Bureau. But I set fire to that and to nearly everything else in my life back then. So this is what I do now. Detective work suits me.

“What’s up, Miki?” I asked. “You okay?”

“No,” said my lovely sandy-haired cousin. Put us side by side and we looked like the photograph and the negative. I’m a Chinese American recovering alcoholic with a southern accent, white parents, and a gay African American brother. Neil is convinced there’s a way to cash in on this—reaching minority status on so many levels. A government program, perhaps. But that’s what happens when you combine Neil’s Generation-Y sense of entitlement with his subversive stoner’s brain.

Neil handles most of the computer searches and I collect the human intelligence, which means I trail around behind certain folks, search their trash, take unwanted pictures of them, listen in on their conversations when I have the opportunity, and generally intrude on their private affairs. It’s all very glamorous. There’s a pile of Little Debbie wrappers and Starbucks cups in my car to prove it. Our client roster is mostly law firms and headhunting agencies, but we’ll work for anyone who wants the secrets swept out from under the rugs. Missing persons, surveillance, bond enforcement, and process serving keep the cash flowing when business slows to a crawl over the winter holidays. But when Atlanta starts to heat up and the glaring southern sun sets our bloodstreams ablaze, when the clothes get skimpy and overworked servers stagger out with trays of frosty pitchers at packed pavement cafés, my phone gets busy. The badly behaved fill my coffers. I’m fine with that. It buys the Krispy Kremes. Original glazed, warm—the current monkey on my back.

“Keye, I need to see you right away,” Miki insisted. “It’s serious.”

I rolled my neck a couple of times. Everything was always massively serious with Miki. I was tired. I’d served two subpoenas today; one of them meant following someone to work, bullying my way into her workplace, and tossing it at her before she could put her coffee down. I then dealt with the cluster-fuck they call a parking system near Fulton County’s courthouse, filed the paperwork for the attorney, left there, and picked up a bail jumper for Tyrone’s Quikbail in East Atlanta and delivered him to the police station. Also, my bitchy cat hadn’t had a shot of half-and-half in hours.

“Someone broke into my house, Keye. I don’t even want to be there right now.”

I grabbed my keys. “I’ll pick you up.” Miki’s Inman Park home was just a few blocks from my North Highland office.

“No. Meet me at Gabe’s. I need to be around people. And I need a drink.”

I picked up my ink pen and bit into it. I needed a friggin’ drink too.

“Keye, please,” Miki said, and I heard it for the first time—genuine fear in my cousin’s voice.

Nine minutes later I pulled into the small parking lot across the street from Gabe’s on Juniper. It was a fireplace bar and restaurant with plush seating and room to lounge, a cigar room, the kind of place that served single malt at exactly the right temperature. In spring and summer, the big deck that edged right up to the street with a view of Midtown’s crowded skyline cranked out gourmet tapas and stayed packed late into the evening. Runoff from the 14th Street Playhouse, the Alliance Theatre, Symphony Hall, and The Fox Theatre, all kept it brimming with hip clientele, multitaskers who can chat with you while conducting text conversations, updating their Facebook status, and Tweeting the wine list.

I saw a crowd in the parking lot as I searched for an empty spot for the Impala. Instinct told me Miki was at the heart of it. Miki always seemed to be putting on some kind of show. I’d never been out with her when she didn’t have an entourage, faithful followers to bask in her brilliant light. It was how she kept everyone at arm’s length while soaking up the adoration she craved.

I parked, took a ticket stub from the attendant, and headed that way. The knot of nicely clad humans loosened just enough for me to glimpse my cousin’s wispy figure at its center. As I moved closer, I smelled something burning and saw a small fire of twigs and leaves and something made of fabric. I stopped on the fringe.

“It’s her black gloves,” the woman next to me whispered reverently. Ah, the black gloves. No need to explain. Everyone in Miki’s life knew about the gloves. They had become a part of Miki’s depression rituals. I think we had all hoped at some point that wearing them would be expression enough of her misery to prevent her from hurting herself again. But the gloves had merely acted as a warning. Someone would find her in the bathtub, on the floor, in the bed, with her veins open and enough barbs in her system to give Keith Richards a run for his money.

I moved through the group and saw Miki standing over the smoldering pile. Someone handed her a champagne flute. She held up the glass dramatically as the last bit of fabric curled into the fire. A cheer went up as she drained her glass.

She spotted me and smiled, raised her voice. “I’ve turned the corner, Keye. The curtain has lifted.” And then she stepped out of the circle and walked away from her fans without so much as a word. She hugged me and whispered: “Be my date tonight. Protect me from the wolves.”

I laced my arm in hers, and we crossed Juniper to Gabe’s, maneuvered our way across the busy patio and went inside. The first whiff of tequila and lime wrapped its arms around me like an old friend. Most of the time now, I don’t even really want a drink. Not when I’m thinking. But when I’m reacting to some trigger—a smell, a certain glass, a social situation—my addict’s brain gets busy romancing the memories—the way that first drink of the day settles in on your stress, the way a good tawny port feels in your mouth and lingers on your lips after a meal. That’s when my sobriety feels fleeting. I felt prickly heat on the back of my neck. I needed to get back to AA. Not surprisingly, I’d made a mess out of that as well.

Miki was wearing a black dress that flared out above her knees, more Judy Jetson than Audrey Hepburn, and over-the-knee boots. She stood near me at the bar, searching my face. We must have looked like lovers, something Miki had already calculated, I was sure. And another way of keeping her flock at bay.

“Are you all right?” she asked, then went on without giving me time to answer. “Oh, right. The alcohol thing. What’s the big deal, anyway? I won’t let you get wasted. Just order a fucking drink.”

“That’s the worst idea I’ve heard all day.”

She reached into her bag and withdrew a tiny glass vial with a black cap. “I’ve got some coke. Would a line help?”

That’s my Miki, always thinking of others. “Probably not,” I answered, with more revulsion than I wanted to show her. We’d all been watching Miki’s self-medicated self-destruction for years. I felt really over it at the moment. I’d been down that road. We are always less tolerant of our own reflections, aren’t we?

I ordered grape juice and got the same smirk I’m usually subjected to when I order grape juice in a bar. They didn’t have it, of course. “Okay, how about a Diet Pepsi?” A couple of heads turned. Ordering Pepsi in a Coca-Cola town was an act of treason.

“We have Diet Coke,” the bartender told me.

I settled on club soda with a twist and Miki ordered an Absolut martini, extra-dirty. We found an empty couch with a coffee table in a back section off the main bar. The room was set up with lacquered cherrywood tables and chessboards. And though our long, hot summer was in full swing, the bar was air-conditioned to frosty cold so the gas fireplaces could warm it back up. I could see the bar from where we sat, mirrored and glimmering in the soft light. I looked at Miki and tried not to notice the marks on both her arms. The thick horizontal streaks of white scar tissue were a reminder of how desperate she’d been, and how utterly incapable she was of loving herself. There must have been eight or ten slashes on each arm. They seemed especially out of place on my porcelain-doll cousin. She’d just burned the long, black gloves that had covered those scars. Perhaps she was ready to look at them. It wasn’t the first time I’d been grateful the DNA that had poisoned Miki’s mental health and her mother’s, and perhaps even flirted with my adoptive mother’s happiness from time to time, was not surging through my own veins. Mother’s family had a history of quiet and hidden gloominess. Depression isn’t something one freely admits to down South. But Florence and Miki had blown the lid off the family secrets vault with their overt and sometimes public illness. Fortunately, someone had always managed to find Miki after she’d sliced herself up or swallowed a mountain of pills—a self-appointed watcher, a groupie, one of the countless men or women who flocked to her like hungry gulls. They couldn’t help themselves. A radiant, brilliant, dark, and emotionally unavailable woman is irresistible to the demons and obsessions of codependent fixers and masochists. Miki’s illness only sparked theirs.

“So what’s up with the gloves?” I wanted to know. We had leaned back, drinks in hand, legs crossed, facing each other.

“That part of my life is over.”

“You taking your meds?”

Miki shook her head. “I can’t live like that. I can’t do my life numb. I just can’t.”

Yeah sure. Coke and alcohol wasn’t numbing at all. She was probably on some manic tear with stimulants and booze and no meds. I wondered if the break-in was real, imagined, or outright fabrication. She must have read the concern on my face.

She leaned in close and whispered, “I think I’m following someone. I’m just not sure who.”

I stared at her blankly.

“Oh, come on, Keye. Lighten up. It’s a joke.”

Stress hormones began to jet-ski through my bloodstream. My eyes dropped to the martini. It was cloudy and cold. My saliva glands were working overtime. I didn’t want to be here. What’s the big deal, anyway? . . . Just order a fucking drink.

A busty brunette with an old-fashioned cigarette tray attached to her by a neck strap passed through and headed for the cigar room, where she’d clip ends and refill cognacs. Someone at the bar was licking salt and lemon and shooting tequila. I squeezed lime into my club soda and blinked up at Miki. Patience. Something had frightened her. She wanted to be here right now, and I needed to function in the real world, where people drink and want to talk to me in bars. I’m a PI, for Christ’s sake. Half my clients are drunks. The old tapes were playing, telling me this was hard, telling me I wanted a drink. I didn’t. Not ever. I reminded myself it wasn’t real. Just the mind stalking shadowy old corridors. I reeled myself in, knowing that each time I did that, each time I said no, new pathways were burned into me that might help avert the next crisis.

“I hired this trainer who uses alternative treatments as mood stabilizers to get people off meds,” Miki told me. “Exercise and supplements, acupuncture and diet. It’s working. I exercise my ass off. It releases some kind of chemical that keeps me healthy. You know I’ve been good for a while, right?”

By “good” she meant she hadn’t been institutionalized for cutting or overdosing in a couple of years. She took the vial out of her bag, filled the cap with white powder, glanced around the room before she lifted it to her nostril and inhaled.

“Cocaine and vodka part of the regimen?”

“So judgmental, Keye.” She swirled the martini glass gently, then sipped it. I smelled the olive juice. Her blue eyes lifted to mine. “It’s really disappointing.”

“You’re not the first bipolar patient to argue against meds.”

“I’m not a fucking patient!” Miki exploded. Heads turned. She set her martini down too hard. Liquid sloshed over the rim. “I’m family, Keye. I mean, what the fuck?”

“It was a valid question, Miki,” I shot back.

“I was a finalist last year, Keye, for a Pulitzer for feature photography. A goddamned Pulitzer. You ever notice how many World Photography Awards I have on my shelves? Some of us can manage our cravings just fine. How about you?”

I felt that knife twist in my gut. “I fought for my addiction too, Miki,” I replied evenly. “For a long time. It didn’t pay off.”

“Someone was in my house when I got home tonight. Can we just focus on that?”

“Tell me what happened,” I said calmly. I wanted the heat to dissipate a little.

She told me about fumbling with her keys at the door, then hearing something and knowing someone was inside the house. The combative demeanor began to peel away. Tears spilled out and ran down pale cheeks. She swiped them away and picked up her martini glass with a shaky hand. “I went to the window off the porch, and I saw him. Inside my house, Keye. He had walked from my front door to the window. And he just stood there looking at me. He made his hand into a pistol like this.” Miki raised her thumb and jutted out her forefinger. “And he squeezed the trigger.” Another tear trickled.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 25, 2012

    Stranger in the Room

    Stranger in the Room is a suspenseful crime novel and the first book I have read by this author. I really enjoyed reading this book as it was very entertaining and the characters felt real. The debut novel by this author was called The Stranger You Seek and this is where the reader is introduced to Keye Streets. I had not read the first book and I didn't really feel that off while reading the second book, there was a lot of mention to what had previously happened to Keye and Rauser so that you can get an idea of what the first book was about.

    Keye is a recovering alcoholic and she use to work for the FBI but now she is a Private Detective who sometimes helps the APD with cases because her boyfriend Rauser works there as a Lieutenant. You get the feeling that she is not really over what happened to her from the previous book, it was a big case and both her and Rauser were injured. She works with Neil her computer guy and they also take on a little work from Tyrone a bail bondsman. When her cousin Miki calls she really doesn't believer her when she said there was a man in her house. Miki has a really big drug and alcohol problem and it is hard for Keye's to be around her, but she also feels sorry for her. Then things get heated up and she finds out that Miki really does have someone after her and now that some is after Keyes too. Keye's is a strong character with flaws that people can relate too, its nice to have heroines with flaws, but yet still tough.

    Rauser sounds very handsome and caring. He is older than Keyes, as she teases him about it all the time. He has been a cop for a long time and though I am not sure how long they have been together (I advise reading the first book), they really seem to work well together. They are both emotionally stressed from the previous big case they worked on and they poor a lot of themselves into the cases they work on. Rauser is working on a case involving a teen age all star who was murdered and as things progress they find out that some how is teenage murder and Miki and the things happening with her are linked though it really seems odd. Rauser is very protective of Keyes you can tell her really cares a lot about her and you really just can't help but like him.

    All the characters in the book even the side characters like Neil and Tyrone are really likable. I am sure that if the author continues books with Keyes that we will get to know the side characters more and they will grow on me even more.

    The only thing that kept me from giving this book a five star was the fact that it really took me longer than I like to get into a novel. For me it took until they find the body in Miki's house for it to really grab my interest and from then on I was hooked. Because Keyes is a PI and helps Rauser there are a lot of different things going on and it has a lot of side cases that takes you away from the main case and it was okay but sometimes it just feels like to much detail and filler.

    I can't say I am totally in love with the cover but it does make it look suspenseful.

    Over all, I really enjoyed this book and will be on the look out for any more books from this author especial if they involve Keye and Rauser. If you are a crime fiction fan then I would suggest this book!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 5, 2012

    When Keye Street's cousin Miki needs help, Keye takes her in (al

    When Keye Street's cousin Miki needs help, Keye takes her in (albeit against her better judgement). Miki has been in self-destruct mode for most of her life. She's heard odd noises and feels she's been watched for a few years though all the 911 calls she's made has only resulted in the APD considering Miki a bit of a nutcase. Now there'd been a man. In her house! Miki saw him! Well, yes, she'd been out partying, drinking and, well, whatever - but she heard someone inside and saw his outline in the window! Keye has a friend in the APD and the second book in the Dr Keye Street (ex-FBI behavioral analyst turned PI and occasional police consultant)/Lt Aaron Rauser (APD major crimes) series. Along the way Keye works as a bail bond recovery agent and also takes a job investigating how dry cement mixed with a little chicken feed wound up in an urn (as opposed to a loved one's cremains) in Big Knob, Alabama.

    Readers of the first book in this series will dive right in. This also works well as a stand alone. There is enough background sprinkled in to flesh out the characters, it is done in a way that doesn't interfere with or slow down the story's progression. Readers are in for another wild ride as Keye pieces together a profile of a killer while dealing with her cousin, mother, the press, sobriety, a questionable crematorium, a few street thugs, Neil and Atlanta's summer weather.

    The only disappointment this book will bring is that there isn't a book three resting at the top of my 'read me next' pile. Enjoy the book.

    I won this book on Goodreads.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 4, 2012

    A book you must read

    This book was better than her first if that was possible. You can`t stop reading, I was up till 4am. Everytime you turn around some thing new comes up and you can`t put it down. I can`t wait for her next one

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    recommended

    well worth your time, especially if you've read the first in the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2012

    I loved this book. It's a well written, intelligent mystery. T

    I loved this book. It's a well written, intelligent mystery. The characters are flawed and feel real. I loved the first book in the series and thought this one was even better. I'm looking forward to the third in the series and will buy it as soon as it's released.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2014

    First and foremost, the author really needs to re-think those su

    First and foremost, the author really needs to re-think those super-snarky comments related to real-life people. Every time I came to one of them, I had to restrain my impulse to throw the book across the room. Presumably they’re meant to be funny, but they’re not . . . and they make her seem just plain mean.

    Keye Street is the central character in “Stranger in the Room.” She’s a flawed and occasionally-funny ex-FBI profiler, currently a private investigator who consults for the Atlanta police. The southern settings are exquisite, perfectly described and one of the highlights of the author’s writing. While I mostly liked the characters, they often had an unfortunate tendency to be one-dimensional and to behave in perfectly predictable ways. Miki wasn’t at all a sympathetic victim, making it difficult to care about the outcome of the story the author wanted to tell. It seemed to be a reasonable assumption that Keye would save the day in the end, but when she did just that, Miki’s response made her so unlikeable that I really didn’t care that she had been rescued. The recovering alcoholic descriptions got very old very fast, mostly because they seemed far too repetitive and just a bit too blatant.

    The author’s decision to include two major mystery/crime elements is rather baffling. Either one of them alone would have been perfect and the book would have been tighter if the author had chosen just one as her focus and then really delved into it. The mere fact that Keye was involved in both investigations was far too slim a connecting thread to make the two divergent stories dovetail in any meaningful way.

    The biggest problem I had with the book was that it was far too easy to set it aside in favor of reading something else; I simply didn’t care enough about any of the characters and the telling of the tale wasn’t compelling enough to keep me reading and involved in the story being told.

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  • Posted November 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    STRANGER IN THE ROOM is one in a mystery series involving Keye

    STRANGER IN THE ROOM is one in a mystery series involving Keye Street, PI. The main character at one time worked for the FBI in their behavioral analysis department, but thanks to her drinking, lost the position and is now working as a PI/bounty hunter in the deep south. At this point, Street is a recovering alcoholic with a big chip on her shoulder. If you like Jessie Stone, chances are you will enjoy this mystery series also.

    Keye is an American of Chinese descent living in Atlanta, Ga with a cat named White Trash. She is far from perfect and at times I just wanted to shake her and tell her to stop her whining and feeling sorry for herself. That is how well written this story is. It manages to capture the readers attention and keep them focused on the pages around them.

    Although the main focus begins with one serial killer, Keye ends up exposing two different serial murder cases. You never know what is happening until the end sneaks up on you. The author adequately describes the circumstances keeping the reader engaged and focused on where she wants him to be in the story. At one point, you are walking with Keye in the woods and you want to be anywhere except where you are at that moment. Another time, you find yourself laughing when she manages to capture a bail jumper and ends up on you tube. If you like Jessie Stone, definitely give this one a try.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2013

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