Title: Strangers by Ursula Archer and Arno Strobel
Genre: Currently # 3042 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, International Mystery & Crime
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: To be released January 9, 2018 – Happy Publication Date!
Source: Minotaur Books and NetGalley
Title and Cover: Strangers – Cover conveys plot scene
Set in Germany, Joanna Berrigan confronts a stranger in her home who alleges to be her fiancé. There is only one problem with that–she doesn’t know him, and though he is adamant that he lives with her in the house, has nothing of his in the home to support that claim. Erik Thieben maintains he belongs there and, terrified, she begins the journey to either escape, prove him wrong, or together sort through what has happened.
The point here, I guess, is to stick with it, though the hook that drew you in quickly goes stale and what happened becomes obvious. What is not obvious, is the who, what, why, when, and where and you have to see where this goes. It would appear that Erik genuinely loves her, and he must love her a lot to stick with her through that kind of thick and thin before they are married. He is bound and determined to take care of her while mourning the (hopefully) temporary loss of his intendeds’ memory.
She is probably reacting as a normal female would under the circumstances, scared, questioning, and profoundly confused. While there seems to be no evidence to support his claim, there appears to be none to support her theories either and neither of them is making much headway, which tends to slow the plot.
Two things: (First) Each chapter takes on a kind of Rashomon style tale where first we get the fish-eye view from Erik, then the same view from Joanna, including some over-lapping dialogue, though there are a few occasions where even what was said is varied slightly. So you’ll be doing some back peddling and catch up before continuing the story.
(And second) After you’ve decided Erik must be some kind of masochistic saint for sticking around, the twists and misdirections begin. Background characters take on a stronger role and it’s difficult to tell who is the more despicable. More of Joanna’s character is fleshed until, if she was sympathetic initially, is no longer. Eric just always seems a dupe, albeit a loving dupe. So is this whole scenario his fault or hers? AH, that’s where this tale goes wonky and things get a little out of hand (and might I say–ahem! far-fetched? I must admit to being tired of young, beautiful, and rich beyond belief females.) Even if Erik is not well-fleshed, he becomes more sympathetic, though at times I wondered if he was dumb as a box of rocks, how did he attain the position in that energy company? But then, stupid reaction or direction was not limited to him.
As the pace of the book begins to rush to climax, a LOT is happening. The book takes on a rather strong political statement and you’re dismayed to realize you were right about the bad guys. But…really?
I downloaded this book from the publisher and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Refreshing to read from an international author perspective, European setting, and the contrast of languages. Recommended to all who enjoy an international thriller, crime, and suspense novel.
Rosepoint Publishing: Three point five of Five Stars
The Authors: (From Amazon Author page) URSULA ARCHER (pseudonym of Ursula Poznanski) was born in Vienna, Austria. She is a science journalist and the internationally best-selling, award-winning author of FIVE, her first adult book, as well as others in YA and kids. She lives in Vienna, Austria, with her family. ARNO STROBEL was born in Saarlouis, Germany. He studied information technology and worked at a German bank in Luxembourg until he ventured to write novels. He is the author of several bestselling novels including The Script, The Coffin, The Village, and The Flood, among others. Strobel lives with his family near Trier, Germany.