A Stranger on the Beach - Michele Campbell

Caroline and her husband have just finished building her dream home on the beach. Everything is perfect except for this one guy she keeps seeing lurking outside her windows, she can't place him, but cannot keep away from him. What follows is a series of creepy encounters that take us through the destruction of her life and world, to an inevitable climatic ending. This review will be full of spoilers as I couldn't describe how much I loved this without going into detail of the plot.

The opening to this book set the tone for the entire story, from the get go it was tense and intriguing to the point I had to pace myself from clearing this out in one sitting. We meet our main character, Caroline, and from about 40 pages in I had a feeling this was set out to be a deposition narrative. The detailed past tense events and references to how she "should have known" that Aidan was dangerous, it was very "victim is me" narrative that she may have been relaying to police. At this point we assume that Caroline is the reliable narrator as she is the upper-class white lady, her narrative becomes dark quickly detailing all the ways in which Aidan becomes her stalker and ruins her life. In the final chapters we come to realise that reliable narrators come in many shapes and sizes and Campbell perfectly disguises who we should have relied on.

Thriller and suspense novels come with their own twists and turns each written differently to set up the perfectly timed reveal. This novel just kept. On. Giving. There were twists revealed one after the other that kept me guessing as to what the next would be. A couple of twists I could see coming but I welcomed them because although I could see that first impressions were not what they appear, I could never prepare for what would eventually come.

This is topping my list of best reads of 2019 and I have already recommended it to several people. I was gifted this through Readers First draw and could not have been happier that this was my first win, A Stranger on the Beach has earned it's long-lasting place on my bookshelf for years to come.

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