Familiar Strangers

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 May 2019

Member Reviews

I loved the premise of the story, a mother with Alzheimer's in a nursing home suddenly uttering the words - You are not mine, I took you!! And the daughter Becca's world was absolutely shattered. On the other hand, an unknown woman was found murdered close to her home, and the cops started investigating her. 

Jackie Walsh with her debut kept me enthralled for most of the book. I kept egging the main character to move faster. The pages of kindle sure did turn fast. I needed to know the secret of her birth, the life she had been living. Not a single thing seemed to foretell the story of her past. I liked seeing how she persevered to find clues since the truth was hidden in her mother's lost world. 

In some ways I loved the way Becca's circumstances were described, she seemed trapped. Only the truth would release her from the prison of someone else's making. Searching for information about the dead woman brought her very close to the edge of the precipice where freefall was the only option. Walsh's writing brought out the desperation so clearly that I kept inspecting every line to get  an inkling about the past. 

The book with its story kept me hooked for those 3 hours allowing me to escape into Becca's world with its familiar strangers.
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Familiar Strangers is a really intriguing debut which really grabbed me from the first chapter.

I instantly warmed to Becca. She’s a little directionless, working in dead ends jobs, just living day to day. Her fragile world is sent into a tailspin when her mother, who is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s, says that she’s not her daughter, she took her as a baby. 

On top of that she gets questioned about the disappearance of a woman called Katie Collins, who the police believe was looking for her. She sets about looking for answers, with a few questionable decisions along the way. But what will she do when she finds out the truth?

This is such a good psychological thriller, the right amount of mystery and interesting characters which had me really emotionally invested in what happened to them.

I will say I would have liked a little more from the ending, I felt there wasn’t enough of the aftermath of the killer reveal but of course that’s just me nitpicking.

I’d recommend Familiar Strangers to anyone who likes a quality psychological thriller with great pace and tension that doesn’t let up throughout.

Can’t wait to see what Jackie Walsh does next!
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One day, Becca visits her mother in the care home that she has been in since her early-onset Alzheimer’s deteriorated to the point where she needed full time professional care. During this visit, Nancy has a seemingly lucid moment where she declares that Becca isn’t her daughter, that she took her. This news is like a bolt from the blue for Becca, who has never suspected that her roots lie anywhere else than her family. As quick as the moment comes, Nancy disappears back into herself and cannot clarify the bombshell that she has landed. Becca is left confused by the whole situation and wonders rather this is nothing more than confusion from her mum, words that she didn’t mean – but there’s a part of her that is also questioning everything she knows. 

To add to the difficulties that Becca is having with her mother’s health and her father’s subsequent withdrawal from enjoying anything in life – Becca receives a phone call from the police investigating the disappearance of a woman who was apparently off to find ‘Rebecca Wall’. A woman as to whom Becca has no recollection of every knowing or ever meeting. The police seem hell bent on proving that Becca is involved but unwilling to share any details with her. 

Familiar Strangers is such a brilliant read, engaging right from the start with a brilliant, and at times completely annoying, protagonist. Becca is at times frustrating as she doesn’t help herself in her quest to find out the reason that Katie Collins went missing looking for her. What is clear is that there are lots of secrets but as to whether they are anything to do with Katie is far from clear. 

Jackie Walsh’s writing makes you question everything and everyone – similarly to Becca, you are made to feel that everyone is a suspect! I got so drawn into the narrative and also wanted to know why Katie was searching for Becca and what happened to her that I pretty much read this book in one day – I just needed to keep reading, wanting to know more. I am so pleased that I had the opportunity to read this in a day (thanks to my husband’s cycling sportive!) as I definitely would not wanted to have put it down! 

This is brimming with suspense and red herrings that takes its reader on the journey alongside Becca as the secrets unravel and the truth comes out. A fantastic read which I highly recommend – but make sure you have a clear diary to maximise your reading time!
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This is a thrilling book for people who want to read a thriller with a twist they couldn't possibly imagine.
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Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy...

Omg! That was crazy story ever! I absolutely loved it! 

Looking forward to read more book from this author soon...
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In a rare lucid moment, Becca Wall’s Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother reveals that she is not Becca's mother.  The revelation that she kidnapped a very young Becca at first seems like the product of a confused mind, but it quickly becomes clear that it is true.  We also find out that a woman who was searching for Becca was murdered.  You can see where this story is going at every turn, but somehow the way it all unfolds is well-enough paced to remain engaging.  The problem is that the cast of characters is so small, and the possible motives so limited, that the twists are not surprising to a reasonably savvy reader.  I subtracted a star for this reason even though the book held my interest.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance digital review copy.
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Although this story sounded intriguing, it was the beautiful cover that first drew me in.
Rebecca is stunned when her mother, who is suffering from Alzheimers,  makes a rather shocking remark to her “I took you Becca, you are not my daughter.”  
As Rebecca tries to make sense of this and her personal life goes into a tailspin, she is also questioned by the police about Katie, a missing woman  who later turns up dead.  It seems that Katie came searching for Rebecca and was last seen leaving her house.  What is the connection?  Do these women know each other?  Who would kill Katie and why?
This was a fast paced thriller full of family secrets and lies which kept me on my toes.  
But, what started as a 4 star read for me ended up a 3 - 3.5.  I had a hard time connecting with Becca, especially towards the end of the book.  I found her over dramatic and at times annoying.  I also felt the story had a few holes.  Over all, a good debut novel and I would still recommend.
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Well done to the author on her debut novel. I thought this was a brilliant read. 

Beccas mum has Alzheimer’s. When her mum randomly tells she’s not her daughter she’s devastated. 
How can it me a lie when Becca has her birth certificate and photos of her when a baby?

When the police call looking for a missing woman Beccas life falls apart.

This is a well written story full of suspense. Great page turner that I highly recommend. Can’t wait to read more from this author.
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When you read the title of this book, you see that it's something that does not add up. How can a strangers be familiar I see you thinking (just as I did ;) ), but afterwards you will realize it is possible and in my opinion a perfect match to the content.
Becca, the main character does not know what is happening in her life and I love the way the author has created this character. She is all over the place which shows the reader cleary how she is feeling. You can describe it of course, but to me by doing it this way it makes it more real and you feel more connected to the story.
Once again I did not suspect the culprit at all. I had somebody totally different in my head. When an author can 'fool' me like this, it means she wrote a very good story.
I have to admit when the plot is revealed, the murderer has made a lot of not so clever decisions, Although clever enough to mislead the police. On the other hand those mistakes are,of course,  also the reason they were caught and no innocent people were put in jail.
The author has filled this story with lies, deceit and secrets. 4 stars.
Thank you, Jackie Walsh and Book On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo
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I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.    

Thank you NetGalley!!

Becca Wall's mother was diagnosed is early-onset Alzheimer’s.      Everyday, Becca loses a  little more of the caring mother she knows.     But one day, Becca's mom drops the bomb that she is NOT her real mother... and Becca's life is now falling to pieces.  
At first, she plays it off as just another symptoms of the Alzheimer's... That is until the police show up asking her if she knows the whereabouts of a missing woman by the name of Katie Collins.     Katie was last seen leaving her house after telling her husband she was going to look for Rebecca WAll..  But Becca has no idea who this Katie is.     

Katie's body is soon discovered in a park near Becca's house.       It appers SOMEONE knows the truth here, but who?!

Unique storyline, addicting read.
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This is one of my favorite thrillers I have read this year! Jackie Walsh's writing hooked me from the very beginning and I could not put this book down! There were so many twists that kept me guessing at every turn. I immediately felt invested in Becca and I was on the edge of my seat until the final reveal. I will definitely be looking for more of Walsh's books in the future.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Ohhh I really liked this one!! Jackie Walsh did an excellent job with the story line and making sure the characters really shined through on the pages. I was instantly hooked and am glad that I was able to read this one. Go out and read it!
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As Becca’s mother’s health rapidly declines after suffering from Alzheimer’s, she lets out an extraordinary secret that turns Becca’s world upside down.  She stole Becca from her real family when she was a baby. But is what her mother saying the truth? How can Becca be sure without proof? And when she finds out that a young woman has been trying to make contact with her, does this mean that she has been lied to for her whole life? And when she finds out that this woman has been killed as she has been trying to get in contact with her, she becomes even more determined to find out the truth. Just what have her family been keeping from her, and would they really go as far to murder someone to keep it covered up? 

Familiar Strangers is a thriller that will keep you invested in Becca’s story as she tries to find out the truth about her past. There’s a very chilling opening paragraph in which we see a person digging furtively in the dirt until they come across a sinister discovery. But what have they exactly found? I thought the opening was done very well. Jackie Walsh writes really well and I sped through this as I raced to find out just what had happened in Becca’s past and if her mother was telling the truth. It is a very quick read, and there are lots of high moments of tension as Becca herself investigates what has happened and as she becomes a person of interest in an investigation. 

Becca’s pain really came through, I could feel how distraught she was as she got closer and closer to the truth. And as she did begin to finally understand what had happened to her as an infant, her own relationship with her mother, the woman who raised her, crumbles and this comes at a pivotal moment for their family. I think this is what made this book so gripping, is that I wanted to follow Becca’s story and learn the truth about what had happened to her. I could totally understand why Becca was feeling the way she did, you can’t imagine what this would do to you if you were put in her situation. This book did have me thinking if I was in Becca’s shoes, would I want to know the whole truth about what had happened to me? Or would I prefer just to continue living my life as though I hadn’t heard anything? And there are some dark secrets which are later revealed. Some parts of this book were heartbreaking to read. 

Familiar Strangers has an utterly captivating plot, and I was drawn further and further into the story as it progressed, I was kept guessing all the way through. It’s really well written; Jackie Walsh is a new writer to me who will certainly be on my radar. This book definitely comes recommended from me.
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Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book.
This was like nothing I've read before.  Starting with mother's Alzheimer, and then the missing woman turned up dead near your house.  It was creepy.  The author's writing drew me right into the story.
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Just finished this debut novel and wow! It was excellent.  This book is about the Becca who while visiting her mother who suffers from early onset of Alzheimers is told by her mother that she isn't her daughter - that she took her!  Becca doesn't know what to believe.  A series of events happens making Becca question if her whole life has been a lie.  This book is very well written, has great characters and grabbed my attention and held it the entire time I was reading.   I highly recommend that you add it to your TBR list when it publishes on May 22.  Thank you to NetGalley and Hera Books for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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As if Becca doesn’t have enough on her plate with her mother in a care home suffering with Alzheimer’s, the police turn up quizzing her about the disappearance of a woman who is a total stranger to Becca.

The story grabbed me right from the first page. I wanted to know if there was any truth in what Becca’s mum has said to her and like Becca, I was desperate for answers. As the story goes along the suspense was literally electrifying. I got more and more wrapped up in the story and couldn’t wait to get back to it every time I had to put it down to get on with real life.

Each character seems to bring something different to the story. They added even more intrigue making it one of those, just one more chapters, type of reads. It really is steeped with lies and secrets of which I couldn’t devour quick enough.

Familiar Strangers is packed to the brim with suspense that will have you hooked throughout. It will have you questioning and doubting everyone. It also held a few surprises in store making it even more compelling. This is one of those books you need to make sure you set some time aside for, as once you start it, you will not want to stop until you turn that very last page.

My thanks to Hera Books and NetGalley for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.
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I finished this book about 15mins ago and my heart is still racing!!!! 

I was almost a little hesitant to start this book as Alzheimer’s is one of my worst fears and I wasnt sure I could handle a story based around it,  I am so glad I gave the book a chance. It's less about the disease and more about the mad web of lies and trouble one little action can have. 

It is SUCH a good mystery book, a real page turner, I couldn't stop thinking about the book when I was working my way through it and its definitely a book I'll remember having read for a long time.

I'd mark it a 6 out of 5 if I could.
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Wow. What a great, twisty book. Kept me guessing (and a few times yelling at my kindle) until the very end. It’s a who-dunit, wrapped in an adventure, with a mystery.  

Thanks for the ARC to NetGalley.
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Becca and Danny's mum has dementia. Danny is busy with his heavily pregnant wife Joanna so the visiting tends to fall to Becca and her dad these days.  It's on one her solitary visits that Becca's mum Nancy turns to her and, looking deep into her eyes, tells her that she's not her mum; she took her.  The moment passes quickly and despite Becca pressing her mum for further details she knows that she won't get any more information out of her.  Becca leaves, shocked and upset, craving answers.  Is what Nancy said true? If so, who else knows? What about Danny? And her dad?

When Becca gets home she finds out from the news channels that a woman has gone missing; her name is Katie Collins and looking at the news reports the woman looks uncannily like Becca.  Then the police call, asking Becca questions about Katie.  She truthfully tells them that she has no idea who Katie is or why Katie is allegedly looking for Becca.
Life is currently going down the pan for Becca - she's had an unfortunate liaison with her boss, who is now making threats if she tells anyone about their night together. Her brother is acting strange and her dad's neighbours Bert and Edith are struggling to cope with Edith's terminal diagnosis. Becca feels pulled in so many directions emotionally and the bombshell her mum has dropped couldn't have come at a worse time. What can she do to find out the truth - she can't ask her dad, the police seem to know something Becca doesn't so she can't say anything in case it incriminates her and anyone else she trusts enough to ask has more than enough on their plate already. Following her gut instincts Becca starts putting the evidence together herself to try to work things out, only to then discover that Katie Collins is dead, the victim of a violent death in a local park. Just when she thought her situation couldn't get any worse the police are questioning her again, this time it's a murder investigation. 
The story comes together well in the last quarter of the book with answers to all the questions the reader has been mulling over from the start. The emotional turmoil Becca goes through from the moment her mum was admitted to Oakridge care facility are explored - the guilt of not being able to care for her at home, then the betrayal she feels with her mum's announcement, the confusion as to who she really is. And then the worry of being considered as part of a murder case all take their toll on Becca. 
I enjoyed reading about the challenges facing the various characters, especially those other than the main character. Neighbour Bert in particular has an interesting role in the story and I would have liked Stephen Black to have had a stronger influence on proceedings - I felt he could have had a much bigger part in the story. There were opportunities to develop a few of the characters further which is why I wouldn't give this book the full 5 stars that I feel it could have achieved.
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Thank you to Hera Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

A psychological thriller that piles on the suspense, but with an intensely unlikeable heroine. That fact alone doesn't make the book bad - not at all - but the narration was all over the place, and the plot had some fairly big holes. Overall, a quick read, although I did have problems caring enough about the story to finish it.

Goodreads review here (direct link didn't work): https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2783894794
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