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You Can’t Know Everyone: A Review of Jennifer Jaynes “Never Smile at Strangers”

Goodreads.com Description: “When nineteen-year-old Tiffany Perron vanishes without a trace, the residents of rural Grand Trespass, Louisiana, launch a desperate search to find her. But few clues are unearthed, and before long another young woman disappears. As locals continue to vanish, residents begin to discover that they might not know those closest to them as well as they had thought. Lies and insecurities quickly surface, leading everyone to question one another…and their involvement in the disappearances. Meanwhile, an unstable, twisted killer is hiding quietly in their midst. Ever since his mother’s murder four years earlier, he’s been forced to raise his disturbed teenage sister. He’s terrified of her—and of women in general—and his world revolves around his fear of and obsession over them. In this USA Today bestselling thriller, debut novelist Jennifer Jaynes delivers a psychologically riveting page-turner that is packed with surprises and will have readers guessing to the very last page.”

My Thoughts:

I received an e-copy of this book via Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Jennifer Jaynes Never Smile at Strangers was an intriguing thriller. This book, set in a sleepy Louisiana town, was anything but dull.

The characters were well developed along with the setting. I felt the despair of its residents. The opening of the book threw me at first. I didn’t know whether I was reading a paranormal book or simply a story with a creepy start. Being patient does pay off with Jaynes’ novel. Although you are aware from the description that something bad is going to happen to Tiffany Perron, you get a clear picture of why it happened. She wasn’t the most careful teen. The girl was looking for trouble.

Jaynes dropped clues throughout the book about the killer–drives a truck, likes porn, drinks beer. The killer even becomes very bold towards the end of the tale. I quickly came up with the wrong person to suspect. The actual person is someone no one would suspect. You can’t believe the stereotype of a small town–everyone knows everyone. Not necessarily true. There can be strangers even in small places.

I thoroughly appreciated the surprises in the climax. I figured the killer had only killed the people mentioned. I was just as shocked as the police to learn the extent of his crime. The killer’s relationship with another character blindsided me as well.

Never Smile at Strangers is an interesting thriller worth reading. Jaynes well-developed twists confounded me through to the end.  It is a page turner which can be read fairly quickly. I paced myself, however, to avoid reading it all in a couple of days. I wanted the suspense to last a little longer.

The book could easily stand alone. But, fortunately, there is a sequel.

 Jennifer Jaynes, Ugly Young Thing, is scheduled for a March release. Can’t wait!

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