Stranger in the Room by Amanda Kyle Williams

Stranger in the Room by Amanda Kyle Williams

Keye Street, ex-FBI profiler and private detective, always looks out for those closest to her. But sometimes looking after herself is quite enough to handle. She’s teetering on the brink, not quite sure if she’s winning or losing in her battle with herself. But when her cousin, Miki Ashton, sees a stranger inside her house, it’s time for Keye to lend a hand.

Meanwhile, Keye’s mentor, Lieutenant Aaron Rauser, is embroiled in a disturbing case. When a dog returns alone from its walk, the hunt is on for the missing boy. As the mystery deepens and the bodies pile up, Rauser needs Keye’s expert profiling skills to unravel the killer’s bizarre signature – tears.

Battling her demons takes up a lot of Keye’s time. But on top of that she’s battling the bad guys. If she can ignore the voice from her past, that is…

Amanda Kyle Williams has done it again! I absolutely adored her first book – The Stranger You Seek – introducing us to her female protagonist Keye Street – and in this her second book in the Street/Rauser series she’s hit the mark running like an American Olympic trialist hankering after a final spot in a 400m race at the London 2012 Olympics. Delivering a multi layered book that has more than enough light and shade to keep the story flowing until its dénouement; I struggled to put it down.

Although Stranger in the Room is only her second thriller I approached the book with a few things on my check list and I’m happy to report back that the author delivered on all accounts.

  1. Humour – check
  2. A good plot – check
  3. Great characters – check
  4. Humour – double check
  5. Crime detection and investigation  – check
  6. Krispy Kremes – Halleluiah (that’s a yes!)

Keye Street isn’t chasing cows this time around but she does pay a visit to a crematorium and who knows what she gets up to there, I’ll let you discover that. Skulking around in the dead of night – yeah I know cheap shot at humour – with Neil her trusty sidekick and marijuana loving office assistant, the pair come across one of the characters of the book for me – Mary Kate Stargell – a cantankerous racist who just happens to enjoy cooking and just about eclipses Keye for a few pages!

Stargell is a gem of a character and her interactions with Keye had me in stitches, I wanted their scenes to carry on and on! Chilled lemon bars and iced tea, this book, if it’s not dealing with serial killers, White Trash the cat – another starring performance by the way – is about good ol’ southern food. It’s clear to me that Williams loves her food, and why not. I lost count of the times I found myself salivating during this thrilling adventure.

She climbed out of the ditch in her pink robe and hard soled moccasin slippers, brushed herself off. “Y’all come on.” She started up the road. “I’ll feed ya.”

She scrambled eggs for us, southern style, large curd finished in a butter toss and a sprinkle of chives and black pepper, exactly the way my mother had always done them. She piled them on sourdough toast and set a glass of milk and a chewable Flintstones vitamin next to our plates. We didn’t ask.

I’ve already alluded to the humour in this book and although only a small part of the story I simply adore the author’s humour. Williams continues where she left off in her first book with a dry, sometimes subtle, sometimes not, humour that just about ticks every box for me.  I chuckled my way throughout and the put downs were incredibly funny and to the point. If this is what Georgia women are like I’ll be on the next plane for a serving of peach cobbler and the humour!

So what about the story? We have Keye investigating two cases this time around, the owner of the aforementioned crematorium and a serious case of the stalks. A serial killer is on the loose and is evading capture, it’s up to Keye and Rauser to apprehend the suspect before another victim falls pray to monster.

The other thing Williams does incredibly well is the detection and police angle. We follow Keye through every process of her investigations and together with the help of her boyfriend and Atlanta cop Aaron Rauser we see the investigation unfold from two great vantage points. The narrative – for the majority told through Keye’s eyes – is informative, crisp and delightfully taut.

Stranger in the Room stands its ground confidently as a standalone but for a greater understanding of Keye’s past, her struggles with alcoholism, and her relationships then I urge you to take time out and read The Stranger You Seek too.

Now time for a Krispy Kreme, a hot cup of fivebucks and a chilled lemon bar …..

Stranger in the Room is available in the following formats – Hardback | Paperback | Kindle

  • 320 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (2 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755384210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755384211
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