cover image The Stranger Inside

The Stranger Inside

Lisa Unger. Park Row, $26.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7783-0872-0

A vigilante is killing people who may have gotten away with murder, most recently a man who was tried but acquitted of killing his pregnant wife, in this cleverly plotted if credulity-challenging psychological thriller from Edgar finalist Unger (Under My Skin) set in a small New York State town. Another victim of the vigilante may have been Eugene Kreskey, who 22 years earlier had a fateful encounter with three 12-year-old friends in the woods: Tess Barker, Hank Reams, and Rain Winter. Tess was killed; Hank was kidnapped but eventually escaped; only Rain eluded Kreskey that day; Kreskey had been stalking her and later spent 10 years in a psychiatric facility. As adults, Hank and Rain have thrived: Happily married Rain is taking a break from her career as a crime reporter to stay home with baby Lily, while Hank has made a name for himself as a psychiatrist specializing in victims of trauma. Despite Rain ostensibly being a stay-at-home mom, the latest case gets her investigating again. Unger’s well-honed craft shows in her unmasking the avenger early on and using the reveal to ratchet up suspense. She also squirrels away several startling trump cards for later. Fans of serial killer novels won’t be disappointed. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (Sept.)