Review #37: Stranger in the Room by Amanda Kyle Williams
Keye Street is an ex-FBI profiler and current private detective, doing her best to make her new business work while staying true to herself. She gets a call from her cousin Miki, a troubled award-winning photographer, who claims she saw a man inside her home. Despite her initial skepticisim, Keye has Miki stay with her, even though Miki triggers Keye in every way possible. At the same time, Keye’s lover, Atlanta PD detective Rauser, is investigating the murder of a 13-year old boy. Keye and Rauser find themselves aligning when his case and Miki’s become intertwined.
This was a really solid mystery thriller. It is the second showing of Keye and Rauser; a follow-up to The Stranger You Seek. The pacing of this novel is really interesting. We are quickly involved in Miki’s stuff, but slowly eased into how her case connects with Rauser’s. While this is building up, Keye is also investigating a shady crematorium, which takes us out of Atlanta and into rural Georgia for about one-third of the book. It’s a great aside, and really creepy and gruesome in many ways. Once that mini-case has been solved, however, the action in Atlanta immediately picks up and we are thrown head-first into Miki’s case and the murders that Rauser must solve.
Keye and Rauser make a great team, both in and out of the bedroom. They are funny, sweet, loving, yet professional throughout. Their respect and caring for each other is palatable, and quite enjoyable. Keye herself, is a great character. She is Chinese-American and also adopted after her own parents were murdered, something that she struggles with understanding three decades later. She is an alcoholic, four years sober. I really felt for her struggle with wanting to drink and thought this was portrayed quite realistically. There is one scene at the end with the bad guy that is particularly heart-wrenching.
This book is fun, suspenseful, and most importantly FUNNY. I love the real-life style dialogue, and the wittiness of the characters. I loved the rich description of Atlanta and rural Georgia, as well as Keye’s mom’s cooking (yum yum). Overall, I thought this was a great book and I’d gladly read more by this author.