What a head trippy book this was. I think that it took a while to get going, but once it did, I couldn't put this book down. I think that Coben asks some interesting questions during the course of this book. I especially loved getting into secrets, white lies, and also what makes a marriage in the end. I did think that things got a big confusing though when we get to who was murdering people and why, but Coben was able to tie things up rather well in the end.
"The Stranger" follows Adam Price, a happily married man with two boys. He and his wife Corrine have been together for years and as far as Adam is concerned, there's not one thing he doesn't know about his wife. That all changes when a man comes up to Adam and tells him something shocking about Corrine. That reveal has repercussions for Adam who is left wondering if he even knows his wife at all and is there whole life just a lie. Along with that, "The Stranger" follows the mysterious stranger who reveals other damning secrets to people. When one of those people ends up murdered, it looks like someone is doing whatever is necessary to keep their lies hidden.
I liked the character of Adam. Coben takes a while to show us all of the faces of this character. You go into this wondering what you would do if you were Adam and honestly you feel a lot of sympathy for him. But as the story goes on and more truths are revealed about Adam and Corrine's marriage I started to feel a bit sorry for her too. I honestly thought this book showed what one can give up over the course of a marriage.
Coben also switches to other characters such as "The Stranger" and I liked the eventual reveal about this person too. We also follow a detective named Johanna Griffin who is investigating the death of a close friend that has ties to "The Stranger."
The overall mystery of Corrine going missing I thought didn't really have a sense of urgency about it. However, when the book links up to what appears to be a murder spree you start to feel more tension.
The writing I thought was wonderful and even though the flow didn't work out that well in the beginning, by about the 30 percent mark the book got much smoother. I think Coben was trying to juggle everyone he wanted to set up in this book so it just read as "smushed" to me initially.
The setting of this town where most people would want to live and marry which held a lot of secrets I thought was great.
The ending leaves us with a twist and wondering how many secrets can a person hold onto.