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2.5 stars: Review of WHEN A STRANGER COMES by Karen S. Bell

See full issue for 2018 06-04
by Kate Ashley

The Rundown

What would you do when you meet someone and they offer you, in a silver platter, your biggest desires? Perhaps some people would be cautious, too skeptical of something too good to be true handed to them. Perhaps some people would instantly bolt to the opposite direction, heeding the age-old advice of not taking a candy from a stranger. But there are surely those who will happily jump into what might be a dangerous unknown and sink back into pleasure, however short it might be. Alexa Wainwright did a bit of all.

Nearly desperate for the chance to be back in the glorious top spot of the bestseller list, Alexa takes a chance with Alex – whose last name is also eerily Wainwright – and his twenty-million-dollar offer. Alex worked for a media conglomerate also eerily called Trinity of Sixes, helmed by its equally eerily charismatic CEO King Blakemore. The moment Alex stepped into her life, Alexa jumps in between reality and hallucinations in the same way that she jumps back and forth between hating the offer and basking in the luxurious lifestyle attached to it. Quite similarly, the plot too seemed jumpy and inconsistent. It went through the entirety of the book in a serpentine manner much like the story’s main character. But perhaps one would find a similarity with the trancelike ambiance in the entire novel.

The first half may seem especially confusing and the near end might feel like it is from a different novel altogether. But the ending gave the much needed room for a reader’s own interpretation. It might even make one reread the last couple of chapters again just to get a better grasp on it. This, along with the captivating prologue, is the kind of experience one would want from a psychological thriller: gripping and thought-provoking. And it is terribly a shame to only experience such only at the beginning and end of the novel.

For most part, the narrative was hurried. Most of the plot points were revealed through long monologues. Alexa was neither relatable nor likeable, and lot of time was spent focusing on either building back stories or the glittered life Alexa was having.

WHEN A STRANGER COMES has an interesting take on the “deal with the Devil” plotline. There are few extremely  gripping moments but a lot of what happened in between was as muddled as its protagonist’s history.


The Recommendation

WHEN A STRANGER COMES has an interesting take on the “deal with the Devil” plotline. There are few extremely  gripping moments but a lot of what happened in between was as muddled as its protagonist’s history.


The Rating Reviewer Rating: 2.5 Stars

2.5 Stars (out of 5): Needs work. This book has promise, and with the help of an editing team, it could easily be reworked into a professional manuscript.

The Pros & Cons

Pros: Surprise Ending, Unique Style
Cons: Character Developement, Plot Sometimes Jumpy, Suspension of Disbelief, Wordy

The Links

More about When a Stranger Comes… on UBR

The Reviewer

Kate Ashley

Kate is a twenty-something blogger and all around fangirl. In her free time, she likes to read all kinds of books, sketch and paint, or write on her blog, All the Trinkets. She is passionate in supporting everyone who deserves supporting and she does not shy away from sharing the things she loves.

Visit Kate Ashley‘s website.

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