Friday, November 9, 2012

Stranger in the Room - Amanda Kyle Williams (Audio)

I'm not completely sure who turned me on to Amanda Kyle Williams, but my antennae detected potential goodness when her first book in the Keye Street series, "The Stranger You Seek" was first released.  The reviews were everywhere and I had to get in on the ground level of a promising new series with a promising protagonist.

Being a bit of a finicky murder mystery reader, I was really pleased that Williams offered up something a little different.  Strong Southern Asian-American female, damaged, tough exterior, violent childhood, gay black adopted brother, loves expensive shoes and Krispy Kreme donuts, recovering alcoholic.  I wanted more of her at the end of the book, plus there was something extremely UNRESOLVED(!) at the end and it was driving me batty.  I was first in line for installment #2 on audio.

Synopsis:  Keye Street, private investigator and ex-FBI profiler, is enjoying her thriving business that perked up after her last case.  After all, she does have a hefty mortgage and a shoe addiction to support.  But over the 4th of July holiday, all she wants to do is kick back with her APD Lieutenant boyfriend Aaron.  However, two things prevent that from happening.  Keye's cousin Miki is in a panic because she thinks she is being stalked (she is also a little off the rails due to her drug use), and needs Keye's help.  And Aaron gets a call about a strangled 13-year-old boy.

While Keye rolls her eyes and tolerates her cousin's histrionics, it soon becomes clear, when a dead man is left in Miki's house, and is connected to the 13-year-old victim, that there is something more sinister at hand that started decades ago.  Keye must make sure that the next victim isn't Miki, her parents, or herself.

As Keye's varied assignments take the reader down paths of hilarity, of love, of psychological horror, and heart-pounding terror, you will begin to pull back the layers of our mysterious heroine, and know this is a series worth investing in.

My thoughts:  As I said before, I really enjoyed the first book in the series, but Williams has sharpened her pencil and crafted a much more twisted package for us this time.  This one is complicated and complex and disturbing.  Just how I like 'em, yes sirreee.

I appreciated that this isn't a "one mystery" romp here.  The primary plot thread is enough to carry the book, but Williams also throws in another pretty significant one that diverts our attention.  Honestly, it was nightmare-inducing, and one I was not expecting.  To take a little edge off of things, Williams also throws in some family interaction, some Stephanie Plum-like goofiness (just don't go too far down that path please!  Stephanie stands alone and cannot be replicated), some love (which the girl desperately needs), and some boots that are so hot they beg to be licked.

In the first installment, I instantly KNEW the evil-doer the second they jumped on the page.  Not so in this book.  Williams kept her cards close to the vest this time, and I was extremely entertained in joining Keye in her research to determine the who and the why.  

A few words about the audio production:  As in the last book, this one was narrated by the lovely Ann Marie Lee, who pretty much rocks the Southern drawl, and has managed to embody a character who is an enigma.  She has been excellent in everything I've heard her narrate.

Audiobook length:  13 hours, 2 minutes (320 pages)

4.5 out of 5 stars  



rhapsodyinbooks said...

The character description you gave (2nd paragraph) sounds great, except for the Krispy Kreme part. I get kind of fed up (so to speak) with the trope of thin, beautiful heroines who eat junk food all day. No, that is NOT what one looks like from eating junk food!

caite said...

I have loved both these books...Keye is a fantastic character!

Amanda Kyle Williams said...

Thanks a bunch for the great review. Really appreciate it. Ann Marie rocks Keye Street, doesn't she?
All the best, Amanda

Marie Cloutier said...

ooo sounds like fun! I like the sound of this one. Words like twisted, complex and disturbing are right up my alley!

Julie P. said...

For the most part I agree with you and I can't wait for the third book. My only issue is that the Stephanie Plum parts didn't seem to fit with the rest of the novel.

Melissa said...

Like you, I used to read a ton of mysteries, but now I need something more than the standard. Mysteries are my favorite genre on audio!