Monday 20 March 2023

Guest review by Rachel Ward: THE SECOND STRANGER by Martin Griffin


"If you are looking for a page-turning thriller to get lost in, then look no further."

Rachel Ward
writes adult crime and thrillers. Her first psychological thriller, Safe With You, was published in 2022, and her second, The Girl Who Vanished, will be out in May. She also writes a cosy crime series, The Supermarket Mysteries, the first of which, The Missing Checkout Girl Mystery regularly features in the cosy crime charts. She is currently working on the fourth book in the series. Rachel lives in Bath, and posts daily photos on Twitter from her early morning walks, as well as occasional paintings. Find her on Twitter: @RachelWardbooks

The tagline ‘One Detective. One Murderer. But which is which?’ neatly sums up the book, except there is so much more going on.

The setting is a country house hotel in the Scottish Highlands with extensive grounds, which Remie Yorke is getting ready to close for the end of the season and leave for good. On her last night, Storm Ezra hits, the snow piles up and the phone lines go down. An injured man knocks at the door, claiming to be a police officer, PC Don Gaines, who was transporting a prisoner from a nearby prison when the vehicle was in an accident. Remie lets him in, but while he is doing security checks of the building, a second stranger appears. His name, apparently, is Don Gaines.

The idea of guests and staff vacating a hotel at the end of the season, ensuring that a large building is almost empty was very atmospheric and a good set up. Add in a fearsome snowstorm and a stranger turning up and I was hooked. By the time I got to the second stranger, I was agog.

I listened to the audiobook, ably narrated by Tamsin Kennard, while I was painting. It kept me thoroughly entertained for several sessions. This book has all the key elements you need including a remote location cut off from the outside world, a small cast of characters who you can’t trust further than you can throw them, a protagonist with a troubled past, and twists and turns aplenty.

If you are looking for a page-turning thriller to get lost in, then look no further. I can’t wait to see what Griffin writes next.

The Second Stranger is published by Sphere.

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