Five Strangers

E.V. Adamson. Scarlet, $25.95 (360p) ISBN 978-1-61316-242-2
The pseudonymous Adamson’s uneven debut opens with an intriguing setup. On a beautiful Valentine’s Day on a hill in London’s Hampstead Heath, five people, all strangers to each other, see a horrific murder/suicide involving a couple sitting on a park bench. One of the witnesses is journalist Jen Hunter, who lives with retired journalist Penelope Frasier in Penelope’s enormous mansion in Hampstead. After Jen publishes a newspaper article about the crime, she and her best friend, Rebecca “Bex” Shaw, set out to interview the other four witnesses. When Jen is threatened by a mysterious stalker and frightening texts, things seem to point to her ex-boyfriend Laurence Robertson as the culprit. Bex persuades Jen to move in with her, and together they plot to kill Laurence. Meanwhile, the older and more experienced Penelope investigates the four other witnesses plus Bex, as well as the murder and suicide victims on her own, uncovering dark secrets and an interconnectedness no one else suspects. Unfortunately, the plot bogs down with repetitive, melodramatic dialogue and predictable narrative turns until reaching the clever if far-fetched ending. There’s enough talent to suggest Adamson’s capable of better next time. Agent: Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander Assoc. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/10/2021
Release date: 10/05/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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