The Stranger you Seek

The Stranger you Seek (UK Cover)

In Atlanta, Georgia, a vicious serial killer is at loose, luring victims with ease, killing them with a combination of precision and twisted brutality.

Keye Street is not happy. Formally a rising FBI star, with two university degrees and a brilliant track record in criminal profiling, she’s now working for herself as a bail recovery agent. It’s not exciting work, but it keeps her agency afloat.

So when her friend and mentor, Lieutenant Aaron Rauser, wants her on his case, Keye is reluctant to help him out. That way, obsession lies, and she knows her demons. But when he shows her a letter he’s received from the killer, Keye feels a familiar excitement. They’re being played with, the snare is set, and Keye just can’t resist picking up the bait…

I have to say, The Stranger you Seek – Amanda Kyle Williams’s debut mainstream title – surprised me in more ways than one. Together with a very well thought out plot, crisp narrative full of atmospheric prose, a subtle humour that had me laughing on numerous occasions and a darkness that had so much depth and imagination I had to pinch myself and remember that this was fiction – a world of make believe! It is right? …

When I began reading The Stranger you Seek it soon became apparent that the story is told through the eyes of two people – both in the first person narrative – Keye Street – the FBI reject – and The Killer – an unknown quantity. Although we spend the majority of the book with Keye Street it was the Serial killer that fascinated me and caught my imagination from beginning to end. This in itself gave me great cause for concern for who in their right mind sides with a deranged serial killer, prone to do the most despicable things to another human being. Sheepishly I raise my hand; I confess, I may be a serial killer groupie!

Don’t stop for anything, Street. I don’t give a shit if Tonya fucking Harding skates out in the middle of the road and shakes her ass. You don’t stop.

Williams does this a little differently to most authors – the Serial killer pops up randomly throughout, albeit infrequently, and the words are sparse in comparison to Keye’s cornucopious narrative. But when the killer does pop up; the words hit home like an unrelenting hammer blow leaving very little to the imagination. Powerful, intelligent and a psychotic but macabre humour – the serial killer manages to command an audience in a matter of seconds, certainly leaving an indelible mark on this reader.

The Stranger You Seek is available from Amazon in the UK and the United States

The narrative is a mesmerising and taut, multi layered affair, sucking you in from the very first page. The opening prologue introduces us to the killer’s helpless victim and it’s from that point that Williams’s obdurate and potent grip remains steadfast until the book’s dénouement.  The murder scenes are brutal and Williams’s descriptive prowess is there for all to see. I found myself squirming at some of the scenes and had to take a step back, wincing at the savageness and inhumanity of a depraved killer on more than one occasion – they truly are staggering. The events are shocking and I can’t remember reading such brutality in quite some time.

Her voice was butter and swamp water all at once, soft and strong and when I was a child, it calmed me. She read me to sleep at night and I insisted I read to her in the afternoons, all kinds of books, magazine, newspapers. Words were her flying carpets. Wherever she wanted to go that day, she went. She taught me about that kind of escape and I grew up loving it and books.

The Stranger You Seek (US Cover)

The Stranger You Seek (US Cover)

One thing is abundantly clear from the outset – the author loves “The South”, her food and her coffee – and not particularly in that order! Hardly a page goes by without some reference to an aromatic blend of one type of coffee or another – it felt almost spiritual in a way – but it was on a sojourn to Ellijay in Gilmer County that the food came alive! Warm homemade fried apple pie with a liberal helping of cinnamon ice scream was almost enough to make me want to visit the apple growing capital of Georgia!

Characterisation is well thought out and although Williams develops the cast of characters well, she saves most of her energy for Keye Street – her protagonist. Street is a ballsy female with a chequered past and an attitude to match. A former FBI agent, she left the agency in disgrace, a recovering alcoholic whose torment with the “evil juice” is clearly visible. She struggles on a daily basis but it’s this battle that inevitably gives Street the strength to face the struggles of a humdrum life as a private detective. She comes alive walking into a murder scene and the dialogue with Aaron Rauser a joy to behold – most entertaining!

A wonderful introduction to a new series, Keye Street is a fresh and vibrant character and one I found incredibly entertaining – I for one hope she’s here to stay for a very long time. Highly recommended.

Published by Headline The Stranger You Seek is now available in the UK and the United States

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1 Response » to “The Stranger you Seek by Amanda Kyle Williams – Book Review”

  1. Nikki-ann says:

    I may have to stop coming here… Having read your review this is another book to add to my ever growing list. It sounds like a brilliant read and right up my street.

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