THE STRANGER DIARIES by Elly Griffiths {Review}


Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★½


Death lies between the lines when the events of a dark story start coming true in this haunting modern Gothic mystery, perfect for fans of Magpie Murders and The Lake House.

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favorite literature.

To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary:

Hallo Clare. You don’t know me.

Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?


THE STRANGER DIARIES was creepy good fun! Clare is a high school English teacher, as well as a scholar of 19th century Gothic novelist R.M. Holland, who once lived in the building where she teaches. When one of her colleagues is murdered, mysterious events begin to mirror those in Holland’s famous short story, “The Stranger.” Is there a flesh and blood killer on the loose, or is there a connection with the restless spirit rumored to haunt the school?

I enjoyed this book very much. All of the characters were unique and realistic. I liked the alternating POVs between Clare, her daughter Georgie, and DS Kaur. There was a 4th voice too — the “Stranger” from Holland’s story. It was a mystery within a mystery. The old haunted school by the sea was the perfect Gothic setting. Loved it!

Elly Griffiths is a new favorite author, and I’m looking forward to checking out her other books!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

THE AU PAIR by Emma Rous [Blog Tour Review]


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★½


If V. C. Andrews and Kate Morton had a literary love child, Emma Rous’ The Au Pair would be it.

Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother, Danny, were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is smiling serenely and holding just one baby.

Who is the child, and what really happened that day?


Seraphine and Danny are twins, and on the day they were born back in 1992, their mother jumped from the cliffs behind their coastal estate of Summerbourne. Much later, after the death of their father, Seraphine comes across an old photo from that fateful day that raises suspicions about their family. The one person that may have answers to her questions is Laura, the au pair who disappeared shortly after her mother’s suicide. But as it turns out, someone is willing to do whatever it takes to keep the truth buried.

I greatly enjoyed this twisted tale of family secrets, told in dual timelines and points of view with Laura in the past, and Seraphine in the present. I couldn’t resist the Gothic feeling and setting on the windswept coast of England. The writing and descriptions were lovely, and I had to pause and reread certain passages to savor. I enjoyed trying to figure out how the puzzle pieces fit, and nope, I did not have it right! I was easily entangled in the mystery of this dysfunctional family. Highly recommended for fans of domestic suspense.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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A NOISE DOWNSTAIRS by Linwood Barclay {Review}


Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Source: Borrowed from the library
Rating: ★★★★½


The New York Times bestselling author of NO TIME FOR GOODBYE returns with a haunting psychological thriller that blends the twists and turns of Gillian Flynn with the driving suspense of Harlan Coben, in which a man is troubled by odd sounds for which there is no rational explanation.

College professor Paul Davis is a normal guy with a normal life. Until, driving along a deserted road late one night, he surprises a murderer disposing of a couple of bodies. That’s when Paul’s “normal” existence is turned upside down. After nearly losing his own life in that encounter, he finds himself battling PTSD, depression, and severe problems at work. His wife, Charlotte, desperate to cheer him up, brings home a vintage typewriter—complete with ink ribbons and heavy round keys—to encourage him to get started on that novel he’s always intended to write.

However, the typewriter itself is a problem. Paul swears it’s possessed and types by itself at night. But only Paul can hear the noise coming from downstairs; Charlotte doesn’t hear a thing. And she worries he’s going off the rails.

Paul believes the typewriter is somehow connected to the murderer he discovered nearly a year ago. The killer had made his victims type apologies to him before ending their lives. Has another sick twist of fate entwined his life with the killer—could this be the same machine? Increasingly tormented but determined to discover the truth and confront his nightmare, Paul begins investigating the deaths himself.

But that may not be the best thing to do. Maybe Paul should just take the typewriter back to where his wife found it. Maybe he should stop asking questions and simply walk away while he can…


A NOISE DOWNSTAIRS is a creepy, twisty, and addictive thriller. One night professor Paul Davis stumbles across a colleague attempting to dispose of two bodies along a desolate road; eight months later, Paul is still suffering with the trauma. To lift his spirits, his wife buys him an old-fashioned typewriter in hopes that he’ll start writing again. But, poor Paul, late at night he’s the only one who can hear the typewriter’s keys tapping away on their own, and he’s convinced it had something to do with the double murder eight months ago.

I flew through this book it was so good! The mystery of the noise downstairs had me freaking out. I would be terrified to think my typewriter was possessed. This was a suspenseful, multi-layered mystery, and all the parts came together skillfully. One particular twist toward the end had me floored. Wha??? I had to reread it a couple of times to make sure it really happened. Weeks after reading this book, I’m still stunned! Wow. This is the first book by Linwood Barclay I’ve read, and I’m already a fan.