I received a copy of Never Smile at Strangers from the publisher in return for an honest review.
19 year old Tiffany is missing, during the investigation into her disappearance other members of the small rural town of Grand Trespass start to go missing too. What happened to them? Are they hurt? Missing? Dead? Or have they just left town? Who is responsible? Who can you trust?
Never Smile at Strangers was a middle of the road read for me. There were things that I liked and things that I found frustrating and annoying. I initially had a hard time following who was who and keeping their stories straight. The characters felt one dimensional, there was no visual picture of them built in my mind to make them stand out from each other. This was made worse by the fact that there was so many characters thrown into the story almost right from the start. I found that I was having to pause and remind myself of who was who each time the story jumped back and forth between them. The dialogue was confusing at times too. For most of the book I struggled with the ages of a lot of the characters due to the fact that their dialogue went from being childish to grown up and back again.
The whole book has a rather dark and depressing vibe. I understand that a lot of that was because of what was happening in the town but every character was depressed, down, dysfunctional or dealing with a death in some way.
Another thing that I noticed, which is not really a big problem but it stood out, was that the characters were either drinking, lighting up a cigarette or both, a lot. I don't normally notice this while reading but it stood out in this book because everyone was doing it all the time.
The story takes place in Louisiana bayou, which I believe is hot and humid, yet there was a lot of mentioning of how dry and dusty things were which felt off. I also found the over use of weather metaphors extremely annoying, it felt like they were popping up all over the place and were used to describe so many different things.
Despite the above, I did want to keep reading. The author held my attention and I enjoyed how the killers story was told throughout the book without them being revealed. I did work out who it was just before half way through the book though.
Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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