Review: Never Smile at Strangers by Jennifer Jaynes

Okay, I’m trying to be all professional here, but I really can’t, so bear with me. GUYS THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD! THOSE FINAL TWISTS HAD ME UP UNTIL 2AM FINISHING THE BOOK. DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG IT’S BEEN SINCE I STAYED UP THAT LATE TO FINISH A BOOK? I just realized I said “book” a lot in those past three sentences. Well…book, book, book.
Never Smile at Strangers by Jennifer Jaynes

Never Smile at Strangers was originally published on November 16, 2011, but it will be republished on January 27, 2015. I would highly recommend that you pick this up when it hits bookstores again, especially if you like a little mystery.

 

Publication Date: January 27, 2015 (original, November 16, 2011)

 

Synopsis

 

In the small town of Grand Trespass, Louisiana, 19 year old Tiffany Perron vanishes without a trace. The town launches into a search, but nothing comes up until a second girl goes missing.
Secrets are uncovered and the townsfolk begin to wonder if they really know each other, if they had anything to do with Tiffany’s disappearance.
Meanwhile, a twisted killer hides quietly in their midst, raising a disturbed sister whom he is terrified of. In fact, he’s both terrified and obsessed with women. But to what extent?

 

Rating: 4.5 stars
Thoughts
Again, this was a book I requested from NetGalley because it sounded interesting. When I got around to reading it, I didn’t really know what to expect. The ratings were decent (3.71 stars on Goodreads), but it looked like it was on the less popular side of things. But since the premise interested me, I went into it quite happily.
I’ve had relatively good experiences in the past with adult mystery & thrillers, so I expected that this would be good too. There’s just something about how adult authors write Mystery & Thriller that cannot help but make YA Mystery & Thriller seem too…simple
Within the first 100+ pages, I was hooked. I wanted to know what was going to happen next and I wanted to know if any of my theories were correct. The plot had interested me so much, but for a quite interesting reason. No, there isn’t a lot of action in the book, nor is there a non-stop series of events that snowballs into a giant ending. Rather, it shows the result of what happens to people when tragedy strikes.
Tiffany’s disappearance brings up a lot of secrets and history for the other characters, leading to questions about who is actually involved in her disappearance and whether anyone is really as good as you think they are.
Maybe I’m just on a really luck streak right now, but I was able to figure out a few things before they happened. Little twists here and there that I predicted or expected before they happened. But I have to say, the last few twists really surprised me. I would say that there is an amount of foreshadowing, but not so much that it makes the book unenjoyable. The author does a really good job of making you question things enough to form theories, but still want to see how accurate you are.
There is something I’m slightly uncomfortable with though. There were various mentions of nudity and a sex scene is involved. If this doesn’t bother you, then good for you. But it was uncomfortable for me to read through scenes that were more explicit.

 

Characters
At certain times, I did find that a couple of the character voices were too similar for my liking, but it didn’t happen very often. For the most part, it was easy to distinguish their voices by the style of writing.
I liked how this was written and how each character was portrayed, because I think it gave an interesting element to the story. Being able to see what each character thought made for more suspense and questions.

 

Overall
I think this is a really good book! 4.5 stars! I would recommend it to anyone who likes Mystery & Thriller, or if you are just starting out with it. If you’re looking to transition from YA Mystery & Thriller to adult, I think this would be a fairly good beginning.
I will say though, that if you’re used to reading a lot of James Patterson or other highly acclaim Mystery & Thriller authors, this might be too simple for you.

 

Acknowledgements:
Thank you to NetGalley for making this ebook available for request and reading. Thank you also to Thomas & Mercer for putting this on NetGalley.

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