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BOOK REVIEW: LYING WITH STRANGERS
BY JAMES GRIPPANDO

We hope you enjoy this book review by Douglas R. Cobb.

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Stalked by a psychotic killer, set up to take the fall for murder, an unfaithful husband who has written a novel that is frighteningly similar to the nightmare scenario you find yourself in, and no one believes you when you tell them the truth--what would you do? This is the situation that first-year resident at a major Boston children’s hospital, Peyton Shields, faces in James Grippando’s suspenseful edge-of-your-seat thriller Lying with Strangers. It is an excellent book from the author of the popular series of Jack Swyteck novels, including When Darkness Falls, Hear no Evil, and Last Call. There’s a bonus chapter from Last Call at the end of Lying with Strangers, to whet your appetite for more from Grippando’s pen.

I am a fan of the Jack Swyteck series, and knew Grippando was a talented author from reading and reviewing those; but, I was a bit unsure at first about Lying with Strangers, because sometimes when an author gets away from writing about characters from a series he/she is famous for, whatever else one reads from the author is somewhat of a letdown. I’m happy to say that is not the case for Lying with Strangers. I was quickly caught up in it and wanted to keep reading late into the night, to see what would happen next. It’s a psychological, tautly written thriller about a married couple who realize what others have been telling them and some of what they’ve been telling each other are a pack of lies.

The novel starts out in a very creepy vein, and doesn’t let up. The Prologue focuses on a man known as Rudy, a self-styled Valentino who stalks a woman on a subway and imagines that she is showing him signs of her love for him even though she’s just behaving naturally, and says "Excuse me," as she passes by him, brushing against him. He thinks of this as one of the "calculated steps in the age-old mating dance". He gets off of the train at the stop she does, seizing her "invitation," but fortunately for her, when he looks around, he realizes she’s already gone.

Rudy is particularly obsessed with Peyton. He’s secretly taken photographs of her, knows her home and cell phone numbers, what food she likes and how many bites it takes her to eat a sandwich, etc., etc. He hires a man to be a mime at Peyton’s birthday party, which he schedules and arranges, at the hospital; but, when the mime dances a tango with her there with a rose in his mouth, and begins to develop his own obsession, Rudy shoves him in front of a subway train to eliminate the competition.

The reader is kept wondering throughout the book "Who is Rudy?" and whether or not he may be working with anyone else. For instance, when the dead body of Peyton’s former college boyfriend Gary Varne, who also works at the hospital, winds up dead in the trunk of her car shot through the head, and she and her husband Kevin get arrested for his murder because they’re framed, she finds among the books her husband has lately been reading one on how to beat lie detector tests. He also has no alibis for times when some of the crimes happen, like when Gary Varne is murdered, or when Peyton is ran off the road into an icy pond earlier in the book.

Lying with Strangers is relentless is its suspense, and is perhaps the best book Grippando’s written, which is saying a lot, because he’s written many very good books. It’s a book that’ll keep you guessing until the very end, and is one that will make you want to get out and purchase the rest of his books and read them, also, if you don’t already have them. It’ll make you wonder when you look into the eyes of strangers, friends, or even your own spouse, exactly how well you can ever really come to knowing someone, and if the things they’re telling you are the truth, lies, or a mixture of the two. I recommend you check out Lying with Strangers today--if you love suspenseful thrillers, you’ll be glad you did!

REVIEWED BY DOUGLAS R. COBB

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, DOUGLAS R. COBB


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