Synopsis: The disappearance of a nineteen year old woman rocks a small town to its very core.
They say that small towns are better than big cities. Everyone knows everyone, and the people are friendly. Picture-perfect couples raising happy, healthy children. The towns are so safe that residents never lock their doors. Grand Trespass used to be one of those places. Things changed the night that Tiffany Perron disappeared. She was last seen with her best friend and boyfriend at a club called Provost’s. People assumed that she just took off. She was a free spirit, inconsiderate. As time goes on, they wonder: Is a serial killer on the loose?
I enjoy reading and watching mysteries, and “Never Smile at Strangers” was one of the best mystery books I’ve read in a while. It is hard to believe that this is Jennifer Jaynes’ first novel. I like how it was written–from the eyes of four different people. I found the 3 female leads–Erica, Haley and Rachel–all relatable and likable. They were well-written, smart and really interesting. They felt like really people, penned with the right amount of realism without being too depressing…or, uh..real. Who was my favorite character? I guess it was a toss-up between Erica and Haley. I think Erica won by a slim thread. Fortunately (unfortunately?), the killer was also brilliantly written. He’s probably one of the creepiest villains I’ve ever come across in a book. The descriptions of him made want to hide under my bed or sleep with the lights on. I think the fact that we don’t know his name makes him even scarier. He was a stranger to everyone. You never know the whodunit for sure until the last few chapters of the book.
A lot of books and movies lose steam somewhere in the middle of them. However, “Never Smile at Strangers” never did that not once. You were fully engrossed with every page turn, always wanting to know more. Waiting for the next thrill. I liked how the chapters were done in the book. They were all very short, but not too much so. The pacing in the book was near-perfect, albeit a little dizzying towards the end.
Some of the material in the book, mainly the killer’s parts, were a little too much for me though. But that didn’t stop me from reading it. I had some slight reservations about the ending, but I changed my mind. “Never Smile at Strangers” has some disturbing and graphic material. It is not for the faint of heart. But if you don’t mind that, then this is the book for you. This was an excellent read, and I highly recommend it. I’d give it a 9 out of 10. You can find it on Amazon.com and Goodreads.