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The Stranger    by Harlan Coben order for
by Harlan Coben
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Harlan Coben can always be relied upon for an engrossing thriller with a twisting plot and a most unusual premise. He's done it again with The Stranger.

His protagonist, attorney Adam Price, is a typical family man. He loves his wife Corinne and two sons and only has occasional regrets about roads not taken in life. Then a Stranger sidles up to him out of nowhere and tells him that his happy suburban life is based on a lie, that Corinne had deceived him, faking a pregnancy. Is this true, and why would a stranger tell him in the first place? He starts digging. Then he confronts his wife - and she disappears, sending him a text to say that she needs time apart.

While Adam struggles with his situation, readers see the stranger and his associates revealing other people's lies - and the ruthless killer who follows in their wake. What is going on? Adam is told that Corinne had stolen lacrosse funds - is that why she left? Then the police start questioning him about his role in her disappearance and the pressure mounts.

As always, Coben places his protagonist in a highly unusual and seemingly impossible situation. Readers wonder what they would do if faced with a similar dilemma - and are very glad that they don't have to deal with it. And, as always, this author concludes with a big surprise and a very satisfying ending. He remains on my must read list for good reasons!

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