Sunday 25 February 2024

The Stranger in Her House - John Marrs

Paul’s just here to help, or so he claims—sent by a charity for vulnerable people to do odd jobs for elderly widow Gwen. But for Gwen’s daughter Connie, there’s just something about Paul that rings alarm bells from day one. He’s a little too kind, a little too involved…Worse still, Gwen seems to have fallen under his spell.

The last thing Connie wants is a stranger meddling in the safe routine she’s built around Gwen. She loves being the one Gwen turns to for cooking, cleaning and company. But the more Paul visits, the more Gwen is relying on him. By the time he conveniently finds himself between homes and has no choice but to move in, Connie is certain he’s trying to push her out completely.

It’s her word against his, though, and as her attempts to unmask him become ever more desperate she’s not the only one left wondering if she’s lost her grip on reality. But when events start spiralling rapidly out of her control, should Connie wage all-out war on Paul and risk losing Gwen forever—or has that been his plan all along?

What did I think?

Wow this book is so twisty!  The Stranger in Her House is an absolute cracker!  I've read a few John Marrs books and I think that this is his best one yet.

Gwen has her daughter Connie looking after her and she is getting help from a charity in the form of Paul Michael who is doing odd jobs around the house.  With two caring people looking after her, Gwen is luckier than a lot of people who suffer from dementia...or is she?  It is clear that all is not as it appears and something dark and dangerous is hiding beneath the surface.  The reader is immediately compelled to take sides: are you on Team Connie or Team Paul? 

I'm not going to say any more about the plot as it could spoil it for others but just when I thought I had it all worked out, John Marrs pulled the rug out from under me.  In the blink of an eye I went from feeling smug (Ha! I've worked this one out!) to catching flies in my dropped jaw.  Well played, Mr Marrs, well played!

The Stranger in Her House is twisty, gripping and blooming scary at times, pick this book up at your peril; you'll not be able to put it down until you finish it!  I'd like to see how John Marrs follows this absolute belter of a book.  Very highly recommended.

I received an ARC for the Tandem Collective readalong and it was torture reading it in instalments!  This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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