Is Annie’s new acquaintance a needed confidante or a threat?
A dark prologue from a file on Annie Lin’s laptop describes her life as one long nightmare, mentions a plan involving the safety of her son, and alludes to her own disappearance. All this is in stark contrast to the hopeful and often sunny narrative that follows. Annie has moved to beautiful Kauai with her young son, Finn, determined to start a positive new life. Not even Kalani, her intrusive neighbor, can dampen her enthusiasm. She even gets to play good Samaritan by helping stranded motorist Serena with wine and temporary refuge. Before long, Annie’s sharing confidences with Serena as if she were an old friend. Suspense arrives courtesy of an increasingly menacing storm, the threading through of more bits from the laptop file, and selections from an ongoing text thread between Annie and her sister Sam, who’s helping her forge that new life following her separation from husband Brody. Readers will be well ahead of Annie in perceiving that Serena is not what she seems. Butler’s third novel is packed with familiar thriller tropes, like the way Annie’s dog, Marley, growls at Serena when they first encounter her. For the most part, though, the author folds these in expertly and seamlessly, grounding her tale in the themes of complex family relationships and racial identity she explored in The Tiger Mom’s Tale (2021). Readers can decide whether the reveal and what comes after live up to the foreshadowing.
A skillful by-the-numbers thriller with its share of nice touches.
A skillful by-the-numbers thriller with its share of nice touches.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Well-developed characters and plenty of local color add to the slowly simmering plot, which builds to a strong and unexpected climax. Alfred Hitchcock fans will be satisfied.” —Publishers Weekly
“Chilling from page one, Someone Else’s Life is an unputdownable descent into two women’s parallel lives. With genuine jaw-dropping twists and enough seeds of doubt to populate a very wicked garden, Butler’s debut thriller is a breath of fresh Kauai air.” —Eliza Jane Brazier, author of If I Disappear
“Lyn Liao Butler has mastered the art of full-body-tense suspense in this fresh take on the ‘stranger in the house’ concept, which will have you racing to the end even as your blood pressure increases and you have to remind yourself to breathe.” —Amanda Jayatissa, ITW Thriller Award–winning author of My Sweet Girl
“A chilling and immensely readable psychological thriller, Someone Else’s Life simmers with menace as an unsettling encounter reveals the darker side of paradise and the fractures in a seemingly perfect life.” —Heather Chavez, author of Blood Will Tell
“Someone Else’s Life is the read that every thriller lover needs. Atmospheric and character-driven, this story of two women’s parallel lives at times disturbed me, then brought me to tears within the same page. The slow build that Butler executes seamlessly translates into a satisfying ending that took me by wine-soaked surprise.” —Elle Marr, Amazon Charts bestselling author of Strangers We Know
“Get ready for the storm, and brace yourself! Lyn Liao Butler’s psychological and suspense-building thriller packs a punch with provocative prose, layers of heart-racing conflict, and so many plot twists and turns that I read it in one sitting.” —Samantha Verant, author of The Spice Master at Bistro Exotique
“A captivating and atmospheric thriller with twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end. There’s so much to love here: the Hawaiian setting, an animal shelter with adorable doggos, a female MC who isn’t perfect but is striving to find her footing after a mysterious accident, and an ever-increasing creep factor with the backdrop of a tropical storm. Eager to see what Lyn Liao Butler writes next!” —Kate Lansing, author of Killer Chardonnay
“Someone’s Else’s Life is an atmospheric thriller with a twisty plot that will keep you guessing to the very end. I’m a big fan of Lyn Liao Butler’s diverse contemporary fiction, and her debut thriller proves her talent as a multifaceted author.” —Anita Kushwaha, author of Secret Lives of Mothers & Daughters
“Gripping, twisty, and clever, Someone Else’s Life unfolds in a tantalizing slow burn, building to a heart-thumping, tense, breakneck crescendo. With astonishing twists and a pulse-pounding plot, this is a thriller that will leave you gasping for breath.” —Samantha M. Bailey, USA Today and #1 national bestselling author of Woman on the Edge and Watch Out for Her