cover image The Stranger Game

The Stranger Game

Peter Gadol. Hanover Square, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-335-94391-0

In this engrossing novel from Gadol (Silver Lake), Rebecca is enticed by boyfriend Ezra into the stranger game, a rapidly spreading phenomenon in which players follow random strangers but with no actual contact. After Ezra disappears while possibly playing the game, Rebecca despondently analyzes their life together. She has nothing to offer when Detective Martinez questions her. She then meets a man named Cary, whom she sends away in anger, but they later reunite and begin playing the game together. They spot others playing, and note that the rules are changing so that contact is allowed. Just who makes the rules is unexplained. Rebecca and Cary follow a couple to an abandoned house, where they see someone pushed off a cliff. By the time Rebecca can report the crime, Cary has disappeared. Is Rebecca a suspect? The lack of place names and identifying features adds to the feeling of alienation and angst, as the story pulls the reader further into the game. Those with a taste for the offbeat will find this well worth reading. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman. (Oct.)