All These Perfect Strangers: A Novel

All These Perfect Strangers: A Novel

by Aoife Clifford

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399593932
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/12/2016
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 294
Sales rank: 1,049,118
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Aoife Clifford is the author of All These Perfect Strangers, for which she was awarded an Australian Society of Authors’ mentorship. Born in London of Irish parents, she grew up in New South Wales, Australia. She studied arts and law at the Australian National University and lives in Melbourne.

Read an Excerpt


Town – Tuesday, July 17, 1990

I am sitting in the waiting room looking at the painting on the wall. It has different-sized circles splattered all over it, every single one of them red. The first time I saw it I was worried it was one of those inkblots where you have to say whatever comes into your head. Stupid, I know, but I was only fifteen. All I could see was blood, which I knew was not a good answer. I decided if anyone asked me, they would be balloons because no one could make a big deal out of that.

The Rorschach test is what those inkblots are called. I looked that up at the town library straight after my first appointment. The only thing that painting actually reveals is how untalented Frank’s wife, Ivy, is. She did it at an adult education class. Frank had an affair with her when his first wife had cancer. The whole town knows that, and they haven’t forgotten. Neither has Ivy. That’s why she’s the receptionist and glares at all his female patients, including me.

Today, Ivy is wearing lipstick the exact same color as the circles, but her mouth is always a thin straight line. She is making me sit in reception for ages before letting Frank know I am here because I called her “Ivy” instead of “Mrs. Hennessy.” I wanted to show her that I’m different this time around and I guess she wants to show me that she isn’t.

While I’m waiting, I pull out a Criminal Law textbook from my bag. I read it every day. It helps me make sense of what’s happened, an interesting mix of applying their theory to my reality. At the moment I’m reading about police cautions but I’m not really in the mood to take it in. On afternoons this room is chock-full of schoolkids and parents from all over the district. Mostly anorexic girls. Occasionally you get a gay boy with his mother hoping that it’s just a phase.

It is much quieter this morning. Ivy is sorting the mail and there is a farmer with a crumpled brown-paper face staring into the middle distance. A shotgun accident waiting to happen. His pear-shaped wife, with a tight twisted mouth, is almost sitting on top of him, worried he might make a bolt for the door. She recognizes me and pokes her husband in the ribs, but Frank appears, and I slip the textbook back into my bag without him noticing. That’s the sort of thing he’d ask questions about.

Ivy announces, “The doctor will see you now,” as if Frank is a train about to leave the station. Standing by the reception desk, Frank brightens, the way you do when you see a friend, and a smile leaks out of me in return. Frank is thin and wiry. His mouth stretches all over his face, so even a small smile from him is a broad grin. He looks like a farmer, but that’s probably because everybody looks like a farmer around here.

“Hi, Frank,” I say to wind up Ivy, who insists upon “Doctor.” She opens the next envelope as though she is gutting a fish.

“Penelope,” Frank says in return. He knows what I am up to.

His office has a new plant, but the same old chair. He doesn’t have the fancy ones that you lie down on. It was a deliberate choice, he told me when I was fifteen, but now I think they probably cost too much.

“So, Pen, how are things?” he asks as he closes the door behind me. Frank never asks “How are you?” because he says people automatically say “Fine,” which must be a lie, because you wouldn’t be seeing a psychiatrist if everything was fine.

“Fine,” I say.

Next to the box of tissues for patients who cry is my file, fatter than I remember it. Frank has the patient file in his office for appointments but usually it’s locked away in a cabinet in the kitchen. No one can access it but him, he claims. I don’t believe that for one second. I bet Ivy spends every lunchtime reading all about Frank’s patients.
Frank opens my file and looks at the first page.

“October 1987, not so long ago,” he says.

He’s wrong, of course. October 1987 is a lifetime away. Everything has changed since then. For starters, I don’t need treatment, not like when I first arrived here. Today’s session is about money—a tactic. My lawyer, Bob Cochrane, has arranged it. He’s talking about suing everyone: the college, the university, and anyone else he can think of. I’ve been a victim of a terrible crime. All Frank needs to do is write a report demonstrating my pain and suffering and then I’m out of here.

“When did I last see you, Pen?” asks Frank, shuffling through the pages. “July 1988, just on two years ago. You stopped treatment quite suddenly, if I remember correctly.”

I don’t see why we are going over ancient history. None of this is relevant to what we are supposed to be discussing now, so I tell him that actually the last time we saw each other was just before Christmas, when he wrote a reference for my scholarship application for college.

He nods his head slowly, like he’s taking my point, and then starts with the standard questions and I play along. Am I living back at home? Yes. How am I sleeping? All right. He pauses before asking if I’m taking any medication.

“No painkillers?” he says, and he gestures toward my face. I have taken the bandage off so he can see the cut. I thought it might be helpful for the report. When I tell him no, he nods his head.

He puts down the notepad and resettles himself in his chair, like we are in a game show and the next round of questions will be more difficult.

“We are going to have to discuss those murders at university and your involvement.”

I am surprised by his bluntness. Other than the police, hardly anyone else has tried to talk about it with me, as if it would be bad manners to pry. But that is what psychiatrists do best: find pressure points.

He waits for me to speak, but I can’t quite form the words for this conversation, so I look out of the window to avoid his gaze. There is a giftware shop across the lane that Tracey used to steal from. She said it was easy because the owner hated working and never paid attention to the customers. But his mother did, and that was the start of the trouble.

After a couple of minutes, Frank says, “Pen, by the end of this session I have to decide if I am the right person to make the assessment your lawyer is asking for.”

I turn away from the window. Frank is the only psychiatrist in my town. Frank is the only psychiatrist in the district.
“I have an arrangement with a colleague who travels to this clinic once a month to see . . . particular patients. It may be more appropriate for you to see her.”

I shake my head violently. I don’t want anyone else to read my file, to ask me questions, to make judgments.
He leans back in his chair, pressing his fingers together, which he always does when things are serious.
“Then we are going to have to go through what’s happened. I understand parts may be difficult to talk about so I am proposing that you write it down.”

“What?” I ask.

“I want you to put in writing what happened at university, the events, your thoughts and feelings, so we can discuss it.”

“But how does that have anything to do with your report?” I try to keep my voice light and conversational, like this is an interesting development, rather than something really annoying.

“Bob has asked me to evaluate if I think a return to treatment is warranted. Between that and the report, it’s going to take at least a couple of sessions before I’m prepared to make that assessment. It will require your commitment to cooperate. No disappearing acts or long silences this time.”

The only appropriate answer to this is a long silence as I try to work out my strategy. Frank eventually interrupts. “And don’t worry, I’m sure the university will cover the cost.”

That isn’t what I am worried about. I remember what I was reading in my textbook when I was waiting.

“You are not obliged to say or do anything unless you wish to do so, but whatever you say or do may be used in evidence. Do you understand?”

The police say it whenever they arrest someone. Three years ago, they said it to me. But what is more interesting is the footnote at the bottom of the page. It cites a study that found, despite the warning, almost no one stays silent. People feel compelled to talk, to excuse, to explain or confess.

I know that is right because I talked last time. I still don’t know if I talked too much or not enough.

“It doesn’t have to be anything special,” says Frank. “It’s a technique to assist our discussions. A simple exercise book will do. Bring it along with you and read out what you have written. I don’t even need to look at it. It will just be the starting point for each session.”

I wonder if this could be a way I can tell my story and be silent as well. Could I write down “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”? That phrase isn’t in my Criminal Law book. I expect it’s in the evidence textbook, which you don’t need until your final year. Telling the whole truth means more than just an absence of lies. It means revealing all the secrets you know. I didn’t tell the whole truth when I was sixteen and went to court. I haven’t told the whole truth about what happened at uni. Perhaps I could tell it this once and then never again. Write it down but read out only the parts I want Frank to hear.

It’s risky.

He must sense me weakening because he makes it a condition of continuing to see me.

 “We will explore what you have written and then you can take the book home with you.”

In other words, Ivy won’t get her hands on it.

So I give in.

When I get home, Mum is still at work, so I hunt around for some paper to at least make a token effort because I need that report from him. I’ll rewind the clock to five months ago when I left for university and start from there to keep him happy.

Eventually, I find a diary that belongs to Mum. It has a hard blue cover, a day to a page and holidays I’ve never heard of. Her work gave it to her as a Christmas present last year. She says they’re cheapskates and could at least have bought a ham or some chocolates.

I’m still not sure how I feel about this but I take it to my bedroom and lock the door. Propped up against my bed, I start writing on the page that has “January 1, 1990” at the top of it, even though today is Tuesday, the 17th of July, and the first event I am going to write about happened at the end of February. Still, New Year’s Day feels right.

After some false starts, words crossed out, sentences left abandoned, I begin.

“This is about three deaths . . .”

Customer Reviews

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All These Perfect Strangers: A Novel 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very disjointed work with characters that are not at all engaging Many questons went unanswered and other plotlines seemed pointless I had to force myself to keep going to the end
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
Oh, I love thrillers and I thought this novel was going to put me on the edge of my seat but I found myself dragging myself through the pages to finish it. There were parts that were well put together and I thought perhaps it was going to turn itself around but as I read, I found myself wondering where exactly this novel was headed. The novel wasn’t able to keep my interest throughout the whole ordeal and I really didn’t care what happened in the end. I finished it though for I needed to have closure and I wanted to see what happened at the end. So different and unexpected, the ending turned out to be, funny how that goes. The novel is told through the eyes of Pen. Meeting with her psychiatrist again, Pen reflects back in time to when she first arrived at college. She is hoping that by meeting with her psychiatrist again, he will assist her attorney with what he needs. Journaling, Pen writes down what occurred in her early days on campus as she meets friends, attends class and tries to fit in. There has been a rash of murders as Screwdriver Man stalks the campus. Funny how all his victims are Pens’ friends. As these victims are discovered, I was surprised at the attitude the characters had surrounding their deaths. It seemed like it was not a big deal which baffled me. I found that my attitude changed also and I didn’t seem to care who died or not. I started to lose interest in what was happening in the novel as the story continued. Perhaps it was me as I know I was completely confused at the attitude of the characters and the events that were occurring in the novel. Pen, I didn’t trust her and her stories to me seemed to be estranged and so out-of-touch with reality, I didn’t know how far from the truth she was stretching things. I was confused, baffled and indifferent as I tried to piece this novel together. I know this novel was not for me. I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Random House Chatterbox House Party in exchange for an honest review. #RHMysteryPack
rather_read_than_eat More than 1 year ago
could not wait for the book to end. Nothing to see here folks. If you have to ferret out what continent the story is on the writer had done a bad job of placement. Didn't make me invest in any of the characters, and the ending was trite and flat.
TheThoughtSpot More than 1 year ago
Thanks to NetGalley and Alibi for the arc of All These Perfect Strangers by Aoife Clifford! This adult mystery thriller begins with Penelope, Pen, visiting her therapist to receive a written report of how he feels she is doing after a tragedy has surrounded her. Part of the deal is, before Frank will write the report, Pen has to write down the truth and discuss it with him during future visits. Pen recounts her University days, as well as her days as a young girl in a different tragedy involving her best friend. The story unfolds spinning several more people into the problems on campus including drugs, deceit and murder. Suspenseful and heartbreaking, making All These Perfect Strangers a great read!
Florida_Bookworm More than 1 year ago
Three years ago Penelope Sheppard and her best friend Tracy committed a crime that Tracy took the fall for so Penelope could have a normal life. Penelope starts at University and strange things start going on. People are getting murdered and ears are being chopped off. To Penelope it feels like the past is coming back to haunt her. Penelope befriends a student named Rachael. Rachael knows Pen's secrets and threatens to out her, until Rachael ends up dead. Could Pen's secret have died with her or does someone else know what she did years ago. Pen's home life stinks so she does not want to go home to her desperate to be in love mother and her cheating scheming boyfriend. But she does discuss some things with her psychiatrist Frank. But is what she's telling him the truth or just what she thinks he wants to hear. . My Thoughts: 1st I was given this book for free from Netgalley for a honest review. I have to say I almost did not finish this book. I found it very hard to follow because it goes from past to present to somewhere in between with no indication that that's what is happening. Also the characters are very dislikable. Penelope is a liar of epic proportions and Rachael is a sneak and trouble maker. Penelope's mom you can't help but feel only sorry for her and that she is a disappointment of a mother. I have to say this has to be one of the worst books I have read in a really long time. Don't waste your time or your money. I would have given it a 1 star but there was some mystery and you don't figure it out till the end.
RochelleRosesandThorns More than 1 year ago
I couldn’t quite decide whether or not I trusted Penelope Sheppard, and therefore, I couldn’t quite decide whether I liked her. She was a troubled child from a troubled home, who got into trouble with her best friend that culminated with the death of a cop, and the suicide of her friend. Then, when she arrives at university, people start dying around her. I was fairly certain Pen was not involved in the murders, but still, it took a long time for the whole story to unravel. I think that’s the problem with All These Perfect Strangers. It takes place over a semester of school, partly as told to Pen’s shrink, partly as she remembers it, and it’s mixed with memories of the events leading up to the demise of the cop and her best friend’s suicide. And, it seemed to take that long to read it. Furthermore, Ms. Clifford did not make it clear from the beginning the book took place in Australia. There was no hint in the blurb, and I was halfway through the book when she mentioned it was getting cold in April. I did a double-take, and went back a few pages to be sure I’d read right. Prior to that, I thought the book took place in England. A couple of chapters later, Ms. Clifford mentioned eucalyptus trees, and that confirmed it was in Australia. It would have helped to know what continent the book was on—indeed, what hemisphere it was in, much earlier. Despite the somewhat slow pacing, not being sure of the heroine, and not realizing for half the book that it was in Australia rather than England, All These Perfect Strangers still held my attention. I did figure out much of what happened back home before Ms. Clifford revealed it, but I was surprised by “who dunnit” at school, and a couple of the details at home. Just pick up the pace a bit, Ms. Clifford, and let people know where they are sooner. The blurb could maybe say, “…isolated outback town…” or “…isolated Australian town…,” and maybe the bus could travel through the outback, or New South Wales, or Queensland, or when she got to school maybe “the shrimp could have been gone from the barbie.” Something those of us reading up north could have identified with. Otherwise, All These Perfect Strangers is a pretty good read.
Piney10 More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I would rate this a 3.5. This is a debut thriller novel by an Australian author, Aiofe Clifford. It is a page turner, with many twists and turns revolving around three "deaths." Pen Sheppard is the troubled protagonist who takes us on her journey through this suspenseful novel. A troubled life growing up and then onto university. The characters were well developed and it is a good read but I was disappointed in the ending. As with so many other novels I've read, so many books miss the mark with the lack of a good ending. This is one of them. However, I do hope to see more works from this author in the future as she is a skilled writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Plot Great Set Of Characters
Deal_Sharing_Aunt More than 1 year ago
great plot and an interesting set of characters
Brandy1975 More than 1 year ago
Pen is a fifteen year old girl, who was a suspect in the killing of a police officer. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. First, Pen is going to College or University. She has earned a scholarship after everything she has been through. She is hoping to get away from everything that has happened to her. She arrives at college and is greeted by two people who will become a constant in her life. It does get confusing after awhile because Pen is in two places at once. She is speaking with her therapist about what has been going on in her life. She is also going through college and getting a new life. Pen went away to college but ended up having people show up dead again. There are twists and turns and you need to keep things straight. The ending is the best when she finally admits to what she did.
TeeNJ More than 1 year ago
I received All These Perfect Strangers from Chatterbox through Houseparty. I was very excited because I love a good murder mystery! However this book just didn't seem to hook me. The story seemed to drag on and seemed allover the place at times and hard to follow. I will say the ending was a surprise, I didn't see that coming. all in all just an "Ok" read for me. #RHMysteryPack #Sponsored
LauraMHartman More than 1 year ago
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Random House ChatterBox Monthly Mystery that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review. Penelope (Pen) Sheppard is a lot of things. Honest is not one of them and most importantly I am not sure she is even honest with herself. She shares little bits of herself to the psychiatrist the courts have ordered her to see. Pen shares other bits of herself to her family and smaller bits to her college “friends”. Last of all she parcels out the bits she wants the reader to know in very small increments – often leaving out vital details that we find out in the last few pages. These bits are what keep the readers interested in the story. She appears to be the victim, falsely accused of crimes she did not commit. But she has personal knowledge of them. Is she making up stories to give the psychiatrist what he wants to hear? Is this personal knowledge or her version of reality? There are tons of questions throughout the book as the reader sees Pen in her current day world and the one that came crashing down a few months previously, after several murders. The small town Pen grew up in was not as forgiving as the authorities, so when she came back after the trouble at college, most of them didn’t want anything to do with her. She had to come back to see Frank, because her lawyer has arranged for the psychiatrist she worked with in the past to help her work through the terrible injustice that was inflicted on her. The lawyer is requiring a report to “demonstrate her pain and suffering” to support her case against the university. The three years since she has been in Frank’s office have been a short while for him, but a lifetime for Pen. The rest of the story unfolds as he asks her to bring weekly journal entries to him, telling her side of the events that led her to his door again. Pen is reluctant, but knows it is her only chance of moving on, so she opens her heart up on the pages and her side of the story is finally pouring out of her. But will she actually share all of this with Frank or anyone else? The truth and lies tangle to tell a story with twists, turns and surprises. If the reader pays attention, Pen tells you that she isn’t exactly telling the whole truth all of the time. Those bits and pieces of truth can lead to assumptions that may or may not be true. You won’t find out until the end. Then you will have the “ah ha!” moment what all great mysteries need to satisfy their readers. Clifford’s characters are gritty and real. I didn’t always like Pen – but I don’t think I had to in order to enjoy the novel. As a matter of fact, I think not liking her gave me a better perspective of her character. All These Perfect Strangers is Clifford’s first novel, but she is the author of several award winning short stores. Copyright © 2016 Laura Hartman
Debragg More than 1 year ago
Penelope Sheppard wants a new start. She thinks that she will be able to but, but is that really even possible? . I really liked this story but, it was not really fast moving. What is she going to do when people are starting to get killed near her? The ending is a surprise. I was given this book through Chatterbox by House Party for a review I give this book a 4/5. These are all my opinions.
Charon_Moon More than 1 year ago
While I love a good who-done-it, I'm not a huge fan of psychological thrillers. I read it anyway and was actually surprised by the ending. The story line was interesting. A sullen girl who was involved in a crime in her hometown goes to college to get away from it and ends up embroiled in an even worse string of crimes. What bothered me the most was that I didn't know what the first crime was until halfway through the book. The main character kept vaguely referencing it and how much it sucks that so many people blamed her for it, but I had no idea what she was being blamed for! Then there was the time hopping. the book kept jumping back and forth between 3 different time frames first crime, at college, and "present day" after the university killings. It was jarring trying to keep track of it all. If you like psychological thrillers, and the time hopping and vague references to past events don't bother you, you will like this. I received an advance copy as part of a House Party chatpack in hopes of an honest review. #RHMysteryPack #Sponsored
MrsTricia More than 1 year ago
[book:All These Perfect Strangers|27838280] was a book that had me reflecting on it long after I finished. There were so many times throughout the book that the main Character, Pen, could have made a different choice. How would the outcome have been if she had? The story is told by the main character, Penelope Sheppard, through her recollections of choice she made in the past. At times the story was a little confusing as the events were told as flashbacks to two different times in her life as well as present day sessions with her psychiatrist. The event of Pen's childhood shaped her personality to be guarded, untrusting, and secretive. Tragedy and trouble seem to follow her around. When her university friends begin dying one by one, the reader cannot help but wonder if Pen's past tragedies and choice are the reason they are being murdered. Is Pen involved or just a common factor? Although this was a dark book that left me feeling a little depressed, it had enough twists and turns to keep me engaged and guessing what might happen next. I received my copy of [book:All These Perfect Strangers|27838280] through #RHMysteryPack #sponsored by #Houseparty and #Chatterbox for my unbiased, honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nice49erfan More than 1 year ago
As a murder mystery I found this a little confusing but I enjoyed the detailed scenery and surroundings for this partying college girl. I guessed beforehand that the killer was the boy with a crush on her. I didn't think it was also the one she had brief one night stands with. I didn't think she would defend the one who used her and blame all the deaths on the one who behaved more like a gentleman for most of the book until the end. I guess it wasn't clear cut good and bad guys and it also wasn't too big of a mystery just extra fillers put in the book. I have been working a lot too, maybe if I slow down and reread it some it could be better. I do like closure with her friend Tracey though.
JennMcConnell More than 1 year ago
The story is narrated by Penelope, who goes by Pen. When she was a young teen, something bad happened to her and a friend. The friend is in jail and she sees a psychiatrist. Fast forward, she is going off to college, escaping her small town life, her mom, and leaving the bad event behind. She can start fresh with a whole new crowd of people, none of whom need to know her business (hence the title). The scene shifts and she's in Frank the shrink's office to discuss horrible events that have been occurring since she started college, namely, deaths of fellow students. What will happen next? Who is responsible? And since she admits that she lies to her shrink, can we even trust Pen's word? This was a good story, a bit clunky during flash back/flash forwards; no smooth transition. But still an enjoyable read with a nice bit of suspense and mystery.
Reading_With_Cupcakes More than 1 year ago
All These Perfect Strangers is lucky I didn't put it down and stop reading it. Though I should have. There are so many books out there that I really shouldn't be wasting my time on books that really don't float my boat whatsoever that I should be spending my time reading books that I actually enjoy. Sometimes not being able to put down a book is a curse. I always hold on to hope that the book will get better. Then, when I am ready to give up all hope, I find that I am so far in that I may as well continue on to the end. My list of books that get put down is actually very small. Yes, I have a problem. All These Perfect Strangers has an excellent premise. We have Pen who is off to university in a town where no one knows who she is and no one knows her past. She starts to make friends with some of the people who live on the same floor as her, and she is doing normal college kid stuff. You know, going to classes, drinking, and all that jazz. Then things start to happen. Bad things. And it is bringing up her past...and she really doesn't want to go there. The story is actually told from Pen's perspective. It is supposed to be like we are reading a diary where she is recounting what happened while she was at university at the request of her Psychologist. She also will write a bit about those meetings with him and about things going on in current time. She has to meet with the Psychologist because she needs a report from him to get some sort of settlement money from the university for what happened to her there. He is the same Psychologist that met with her when the dark thing happened in her past. So, naturally, he keeps trying to get her to revisit it. She refuses. Pen is actually kind of a pain in the butt. I really did want to like this book, but so many things held me back. First, it took me forever to figure out what exactly was supposed to be going on. It felt as though nothing was happening for a very good chunk of the book. Then, I couldn't connect with any of the characters. None! They were all flat and just boring. I no one really felt fleshed out or real. It was just a bore reading about any single one of them. Pen, herself, was no exception. I found it hard to care about whatever it was that was haunting her from her past. I didn't really care that she had an aloof mother who kept dating all the wrong guys that were just trying to steal money that she didn't have. Maybe it would have felt different if Pen seemed to care herself, but it never really seemed that she did. Thus she really didn't make that excellent of a narrator. Then there is the part where I just couldn't find myself caring. It kept getting hinted at that something big went down in Pen's past, but it took a really long time to tell us what that something was exactly. It kept getting built up bit by bit, and in the end I was like "okay thanks for finally telling me." Oh! And it took me forever to figure out where this book was taking place. For awhile I thought it was in England based on words and lingo used, but I was very wrong. Eventually I was able to piece together that they were actually in Australia some where. Things happened, things didn't happen. It didn't matter to me. The writing, overall, wasn't bad. It was easy to read, it was just the story itself. The story just didn't do anything for me. I was rather disappointed to say the least. My Rating 1.5 Stars Based on a copy provided by Chatterbox for free.
BrandieC More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars All These Perfect Strangers is Aoife Clifford's debut novel, which you would never know from reading it. This is a well-crafted tale with plenty of plot twists, delivered by a classic unreliable narrator. The framing device is the narrator's diary, which she is reluctantly writing at the behest of the psychiatrist who both treated her after the first of the three deaths around which the novel revolves and has been retained to render an expert opinion of her emotional state after the last death. While there are elements here reminiscent of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl and Donna Tartt's The Secret History, Clifford poses her own moral dilemma: when should criminal responsibility be attached to someone who is "involved" in another's death but who neither sought that death nor delivered the fatal blow? This question is further complicated when we consider the youth of Clifford's protagonist Pen Sheppard, whose perception and interpretation of events differ from those of an adult. This is not a rhetorical question but one with current, real-life implications; just before I sat down to write this review, I was reading the July 1 decision of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in the Michelle Carter case, addressing whether the teen can be held criminally responsible for involuntary manslaughter in the suicide death of her boyfriend Conrad Roy. As Clifford's epigraph suggests, "[m]urder, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder." With All These Perfect Strangers, each reader will have to draw that line for himself. I received a free copy of All These Perfect Strangers from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Sandyhappy More than 1 year ago
It is interested to read how the main character Pen is involved in what happens to her friends and it keeps me guessing what gonna happen next. The twist took me by surprise. Pen had me interested throughout the book, but the ending left me feeling it was a little unfinished. It is interesting to read. Overall I love reading this book. I'm Chatterbox participant and I received this for my review. Thanks #RHMysteryPack #Sponsored let me have this opportunity to read this.
LindaRomer More than 1 year ago
All These Perfect Strangers by Aofie Clifford I loved this book. I thought the writing was brilliant. This book captivated me from beginning to end. I felt like I was in Penelope Sheppard's head as I was reading. I felt a connection to Penelope as if I really knew her. A great character who is a mystery even to herself. I found the layout of the book fascinating the way it was told through Penelope, each chapter dated a specific day from the now to the then and back again. This is a story of a troubled young girl who got a second chance. There are many interesting characters in this book who I got to know and enjoyed their unique personalitys. It's a story of murder and mayhem, a surprising mystery that keeps you guessing. I give All These Perfect Strangers 5 stars for it's captivating mystery and interesting characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great mystery. #RHMysteryPack #Sponsered I am a Chatterbox for House Party and received this chat pack for free but all opinions are my own.
Jkofan_Beowolf More than 1 year ago
All These Perfect Strangers is narrated by Penelope Sheppard known as Pen. Pen is an unreliable narrator and as I’m reading I’m asking myself “is any of this true?” She admits that she lies to her Psychiatrist, Frank, and the Police. I assume she is lying to herself as well. I couldn’t connect with Pen or really feel anything for the cast of strange characters. Aoife Clifford’s writing is ethereal as it weaves around events and truths, twisting and turning so we start to doubt what we have just read. Quite often I was questioning myself, “did I get that right?” Pen’s narration manages to twist the readers mind to think her way. Aoife Clifford, an Australian author, pens her debut psychological thriller All These Perfect Strangers that traces the story of a teenager who wraps herself up in the world of deadly and strange murders in her university life. In this book, this young teenager uncovers herself from being a suspect to a key witness to a victim, while enjoying and experimenting the high and wild road of a university lifestyle. Yes all throughout the book, the story will arise so many curious questions mainly due to the protagonists confession that she is lying and that she has the power to alter the truth. Sometimes Pen looks like the killer and sometimes everyone other than Pen look like the killer and sometimes someone apart from these characters look like the killer. What is the actual story behind Pen's past will claw and haunt the readers until the big revelation. I've never read anything before that left me thoroughly confused, curious and puzzled as the story developed further with the twists and the suspense. I’m looking forward to More books by Aoife Clifford. This would make a WONDERFUL movie or even a mini-series. Verdict: Here comes an extremely dark, twisted and tantalizing as well as addictive psycho thriller that is an absolute must-read. I rate this book ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ (8 of 10) and an “A-“grade. This book is excellent, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it even if it does have a few flaws. I was selected to be a Chatterbox participant and I received free e-book in order to give an honest review.
jayfwms More than 1 year ago
A fascinating story told in the mind and the diary of a young woman exposed to more than her share of bad times. Suspense grows through the book as events of the past and future mingle to slowly reveal the issues and reasons for strange events and crimes in both the home town and the college campus of the main character. The action is both believable and engrossing, right up to the very end, which I found to be a little squishy.
tlmg018 More than 1 year ago
I received this free copy through Houseparty Chatterbox #RHMysteryPack #Sponsored All These Perfect Strangers started off a little slow for me. I expected more right away when Pen states "This is about three deaths. Actually more, if you go back far enough. I say deaths but perhaps all of them were murders." The flashbacks throughout the book had me a little confused due to their placement and it left a lot of story lines unfinished in my opinion. It was a good book but not sure if I would recommend it as a "must read."