Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Review: Strangers at the Gate by Catriona McPherson

Title: Strangers at the Gate
Author: Catriona McPherson
Published: October 2019, Minotaur Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 368 pages
Source: Publisher

From the Agatha-award winning author of Quiet Neighbors comes a twisty, fascinating standalone that begs the question: how well can we ever know the people around us?

When Finn and Paddy decide to move from their home in the city to the small town of Simmerton, it feels like everything has finally fallen into place. Paddy's been made partner at the law firm in town, and Finn has found full-time work as the deacon. Paddy's new

boss has even offered them the use of a gate house on his property. Finn feels like this must be a fairy tale. Paddy thinks they've won the lottery. Either way, they agree: it's perfect.

But only days after moving into the gate house, Finn begins to have doubts. She keeps hearing strange sounds, and the thicket of trees make her feel claustrophobic rather than safe. When she and Paddy discover the bloody bodies of Paddy's boss and his wife, the fairytale has officially ended. A strange email—supposedly sent from the dead man—makes it clear: this was murder.

Paddy and Finn's dream of a new life quickly turns into a nightmare as the plot thickens and the tension grows. With strange neighbors and a haunting setting, Catriona McPherson once again weaves a page-turning tale of suspense.

My thoughts: Last year I read, and loved, Go to My Grave, by Catriona McPherson. It was the first book I had read by this author and I knew it would not be the last. It was the type of book that keeps you fully engaged, frantically flipping the pages, trying to piece together what is happening. This latest book is much the same but with a different spin.

Once again, Catriona McPherson has crafted one heck of a dark and atmospheric book that just took my breath away when all was said and done. This time around we are left wondering just how well do we really know the people around us. I can't think of a more perfect time to read this book than right now, as we are gearing up to all things spooky for Halloween as not only is it layered in secrets and ghosts from the past, but the isolated house also adds to the overall eerie sense of foreboding.

I loved that this book jumps right into things. There is no time wasted on setting things up. And I loved that we are left with little cliffhangers at the end of some chapters here and there which just begs you to keep reading...there is this need to find out what is going to happen next. And let me just say, as much as I was trying to figure it all out, I definitely did not see that ending coming - it completely took me by surprise which is such a great thing! 

This book keeps the shocks coming left and right. As a narrator, Finn is most spectacular. She is a deacon and she just doesn't quite behave how you would think a deacon would which really keeps you on your toes. She is witty and resourceful yet she makes some interesting choices at times that make you wonder. 

This was such a complex, thrilling murder mystery that really kept me guessing all the way til the end. It is dark and completely atmospheric and definitely one to add to your fall reading list if it is not already on it. I can't recommend Catriona McPherson's books enough...her stand-alone thrillers are not to be missed!

***I'll be posting a giveaway for this book on my Instagram page later today!



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